For a new snowboarder, or even someone that’s been riding for years, hitting the terrain park can seem like the most daunting thing ever imaginable. You see people flying over jumps and sliding along long metal or plastic rails spinning their bodies and boards in ways that look impossible. You think to yourself “I could never do that” but I’m here to tell you that you actually can do some of it.
Snowboarding is fun no matter what, but if you’re anything like me, once you’re a competent rider, riding the groomed runs can get a tad stale after a while and you might feel like you’re ready to step it up and be challenged again. If you can ride confidently, linking turns down the majority of slopes then you can enter the park.
I remember the exact moment I got a taste for the park, I had been riding for about 6 months all up and we were in Niseko, Japan. It had been an epic day as there was new snow and we were riding on and off piste. Just before the chairlift, I noticed a long, not so high off the ground box, I would see people slide along it each time I rode past and decided that I too would give it a go, great idea (said no one ever!) – it was disaster, I had no idea what I was doing and the first couple of times I caught my front edge on the up ramp. I fell on my bum, I fell on my knees but I kept trying, unstrapping my board and walking back up to try and try again until eventually, I kept my board straight enough to slide along the box eventually conquering the tricky beast. It was then that I first became more curious about the park and what it had to offer.
If you’re at all curious about the park then my advice to you is to enter, even just have a ride through to suss it out first, you will love it and here are a few reasons why;
- You will be inspired – Even just riding through the terrain park is a great experience, you’ll see people do things that you might want to try yourself, you’ll hear the cheers and shouts of encouragement as people attempt and land things for the first time. It’s a really great vibe.
- You will be challenged – Learning to snowboard is hard! And then you get better and fall into a rut. The park will get you out of that rut and you’ll be challenged all over again as you figure out how to slide across that box or clear that jump. There’s nothing better than a fresh challenge to revive the soul and ignite your passion for snowboarding all over again.
- You will have lots of laughs – You and your friends are going to have lots of funny looking stacks and slides, most of these stacks in the beginner park are innocent and just plain funny. Nothing better than reminiscing on the fails and wins over a cold beer with friends at the end of the session.
- Your riding will improve – Riding park will force you to be more in tune with where your board is and what your body is doing on the board. You will get better at quick manoeuvres as you learn to wash or gain speed depending on what you’re trying. Thinking about your form and technique in more detail will transfer back to the groomers or off piste.
- You will start to set goals for yourself, whether it’s to hit a bigger jump or make it to the end of a box, you will want to push yourself more and more to see what you’re capable of. You’ll also feel super proud when you do accomplish something you’ve been working on.
- You might make new friends – chances are if you frequent the terrain park regularly you’ll start to see the same people and might end up chatting to them or riding the chairlift with them. Embrace this as it’s such a good opportunity to meet people who share similar interests and the chairlift ride will become super interesting as you discuss tricks and tactics with your new buddy.
I’m hoping that these reasons are enough to convince and inspire you to enter the park. Life is far too short to sit in your comfort zone doing the same thing, so my friends, be brave, be bold, go fourth and conquer those features. you’ll be surprised and proud at what you can achieve.