Riding the Rails

January 29, 2018 | By: Monica Christofferson

Are you looking for a little adventure on the mountain this winter? This is the season to hone your skills and have a some fun in the terrain park at the same time.  Terrain parks are quickly becoming one of the most popular areas on the mountain and a great way to challenge yourself.  It’s not uncommon for skiers to spend much of the day in the park, riding the features and making a quick lap to ride them again. Riding features takes practice, balance and confidence so here are a couple of quick tips.

Learn to ski backwards

Learn to be comfortable skiing both forward and backward. Twin tip skis make skiing backward much easier. When learning to ski backward, it is best to start slowly, on a lower angle slope. Practice looking over your shoulder and keeping your head on a swivel; you want to be able to see features both behind you and in front of of you.

Stick the landing

Practice jumping and landing. When riding features in the park, you will have to jump on to them and jump off them. Look for small jumps on the mountain to practice getting into the air. Moguls are a great place to learn the balance needed to land a jump.

Start small

Learn the basics in the beginner park. Many resorts will have multiple terrain parks, one geared toward beginners and one geared toward experts. The beginner parks will have features closer to the ground to minimize the pain of falling. the key to effective learning is to approach the features with confidence but to go at half speed. Don’t try to go full out on your first terrain park feature. Get a feel for sliding along the rail or table. When approaching a feature, eyeball where you want to land on it. Aim for that spot so that you will land on it at the midpoint of your ski boot to maximize your balance. Progress slowly and get comfortable sliding on the features before trying more advanced tricks like grabbing your skis before landing on the feature you are riding.

Make some new friends

Watch the advanced riders to see what kinds of tricks they like to do. Terrain parks can be great for socializing with skiers of different ability levels. Watching better skiers and talking to them can help you pick up tips and tricks faster than trying to learn them on your own.

Take a lesson

Consider taking a lesson. Most mountains have ski school programs that will help you learn all the techniques required for riding in a terrain park, from skiing backward to jumping to riding rails. Learning from an experienced instructor can greatly quicken your learning curve. Sipapu Ski Resort has lessons available and is a great place to learn.

Have fun out there and don’t forget to tag us in our epic photos, videos and wipeouts. #howiskinmtrue

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