Traversing on a snowboard is an essential skill that every snowboarder should learn. It will help you as a beginner with learning to ride and gain edge control. As you improve, you'll still use this skill of traversing to explore new terrain, find pow stashes and help you deal with any slope you ever come across!
(Narrating: Duncan Mainland. Riding: Mike Barton. Filmer/Edit: Vince Emond)
Once you're comfortable controlling your speed using a sideslip, the next step is to control your direction through the technique called traversing. No slope you ride will be the same and definitely not free of objects... Like skiers that have double ejected and have set up a yard sale. Therefore, learning to traverse to get around these people is an essential beginner skill to master.
Watch out for those skiers!
Start out doing a heel side sideslip straight down the hill. When you decide it's a good time to turn to the left, pick something downhill on the left hand side of the run to look and point at. This gives you a goal and will get you projecting yourself in that direction.
Put out that left hand to help with getting you in that direction.
Get the board to start moving in that direction by pushing down slightly more with your left toes. By pushing more on just the left side, that end of the board will slide faster, pointing it more downhill. Once your board is pointed towards your goal, let your edge take you there across the slope.
Pushing down on those left toes will make you traverse to the left.
To get back to a straight side slip, even out your weight on both feet to an equal press while looking straight downhill.
Remember, push evenly on both feet and line up your shoulders across the fall line to get back to a straight sideslip.
This left to right sideslip is often called a Pendulum or Falling Leaf, because as you slide side to side, you look like a leaf falling from a tree.
The world famous Falling Leaf!
Once you're comfortable with this on the heels; sit down, roll over and get on those toes like MJ! Jackson, not Jordan.
Start in a sideslip looking up the hill, then push a little more on your left heel to go to the left. Once again, pick something on the left hand side to look and point at.
To stop, press evenly on both heels, look back uphill and align those shoulders to get back to a side slip.
Same thing to go to the right. Pick an object over your right shoulder, press more on your right heel to get that end of the board to point more downhill.
Experiment and Explore
Experiment with long traverses from one side of the hill all the way to the other. Then try some short traverses to see how quickly you can transfer between going left and right. Try these drills next time you're on the hill and before you know it, you'll be using this skill to explore new pow stashes and discover secret spots! Happy shredding!
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