--í02--  What it is !

It is not the final word. Hopefully the thoughts, ideas, and examples within will spark conversation and a little controversy. Each year the PSIA/AASI teams meet at Copper Mountain for an idea-fest and training session. The goal of team training is to develop an action plan to address members needs. From a clinicing standpoint, we come up with a common thought; The Word, so to speak. The teams then go forth and spread those thoughts. Unfortunately, the snowboard team does not get to see every member every year. - - í02 - - is our attempt to get our message to more people. Inside youíll find some ideas on teaching and clinicing skills, kids concepts, snow-skates, and our main focus Ė turn initiation options (as well as a few random thoughts that popped up along the way). Remember, this is not the final word, just a few more pieces of information that will hopefully make snowboarding and teaching snowboarding a little more fun.

What itís not..

- - 02 - - is in no way an official AASI product. The edit process was nonĖexistent, the authors were chosen by ro-sham-bo. So if you want to complain, sign up for a clinic, then heckle the team member in front of the group.

The Concept of Snowboarding

Snowboarding is anything you want it to be. Everyone has a personal definition, and only you can establish what it means to you. Snowboarding is feeling that sense of elation when you slide. In Captain Cookís diary, he describes the Tahitians mimicking the sea turtles on the waves. He marveled at the ease and enjoyment they take from playing with the ocean. How do you feel when you see someone ride? Does it give you that funny feeling inside? Does your heart race? If so, you have found a special place. It is a place of freedom, free from the responsibilities of the "real" world. It is a way to express yourself without words. You can straight line a powder stash or go as big as you can in the pipe. You can carve huge trenches or ride something so steep you can touch the snow without bending over. You can take a mellow cruise through the trees or chill out on a green run. The point is that it doesnít matter. Itís all snowboarding. Itís all fun. Like the early surfers, we ride because it makes us feel good. What brought you to snowboarding? Maybe it is a way to leave the daily grind, leave the normal lifestyle cities and businesses have created and get back to nature and the freedom to move. Or maybe it comes from a background of other sports that have no set parameters or rules. They allow you to constantly push the envelope to new limits. Skateboarding and surfing have had a major role in the evolution of snowboarding. The similarities between these sports are far more than just standing sideways. They are based on personal satisfaction gained through the excitement of being challenged and overcoming the challenge. They can also be about simply enjoying the environment. The crisp clean air of the mountains and the beautiful views are part of what creates this environment. Whether you are a surfer, skater, skier or just an adventurous person, you probably like all the things that come with riding.

Presentation is equally important as what you presentÖ

Exude Confidence!!

How do you exude confidence? Confidence is an image, a perception, a feeling. When you exude confidence, it is perceived as effortless and without arrogance. A self-assured teacher knows their teaching philosophy is effective, but that it may not be the only way. It is a way that has worked for them over time. Why should you exude confidence? When you exude confidence, you enable students to have confidence in themselves. Establishing a trusting relationship with students allows them to relax and have confidence in your instruction. Tell them, "Whether you think you can or can not do something - you are absolutely right!" In other words, a studentsí perception of their own capabilities directly affects their performance. Your message will have power when you believe it and present it with sincerity. Do you believe your own message? How do you exude confidence? Know your information. By taking advantage of available training and utilizing past experiences you can build your bag of tricks. Ask your peers and mentors for advice and confirmation. There is always someone out there who knows more than you know. Donít be afraid to seek that knowledge. Being confident instead of acting confident is a direct result of knowing youíre sh**!

In the end, humbleness and sincerity will open your teaching and clinics up to dialogue and trust. Believe what you say and share what you love. Walk away with more than you came with, and your confidence will grow and grow.

Clinic Skills


Do your on-snow clinics leave the group talking about the great time they had? Do they spark participation from the group, or do you slow the groupís riding pace and stand around on the hill to get your points across? Whether you are taking your very first group out or you are a seasoned trainer, the following four points will help your on-snow clinics rock.

Have a GAME PLAN. If you know what you are going to cover then it is much easier to prepare. Create an outline of your overall topics with key elements critical to these topics. Having the content mapped out will allow you to decide a presentation order.

KNOWING YOUR AUDIENCE is essential. If you know whom you are dealing with it makes it easier to plan your presentation. New hires may need different info than returning instructors that require a refresher. Age specific skills are important as well. Remember, you must relate to your audience on their level.

INVOLVE YOUR GROUP! People come to clinics for various reasons. Include each person and help them reach conclusions based on your concepts; give them ownership of the information. Allow the group to steer topics but maintain the focus. This gives some of the control to your group.

MAKE IT FUN! People slide on snow to have fun. Sliding is crucial to the fun factor. The most memorable clinics are those that are 90% riding. Too much talk will drive the groupís energy level down and people will lose interest. To help anchor concepts people need to experience the sensations and movements you are describing. Without experience it is only theory.

On snow clinics should be the most fun educational experiences people have in our business. The enthusiasm and fun you show will directly translate to the fun our students have. If you rock their world they will remember and try to do the same. Even if the knowledge doesnít stick, the smiles will be infectious.


Are you one of those people that can deliver a great lesson or clinic, as long as it is on snow? Are you starting to train other instructors? Does you school provide indoor time with your students? Often, as instructors, we feel confident in our favored environment: outdoors, on snow. When our natural environment is taken away from us we sometimes lose some of our spark and confidence. Following are four points that can help you deliver an indoor clinic or lesson that will rock your audience.

First, KNOW YOUR TOPIC! Having a clear understanding of the clinic topic and the information involved allows you to present it with confidence. Clarify any questions you have about the topic well beforehand. Allow time for research and information gathering to be current. Be prepared to answer questions relating to your topic and have supporting evidence. Practical understanding of the information is crucial to your audience believing in your message.

To help create your plan, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! Knowing with whom you are working can help determine how you organize and present your information. A group of young instructors may need the information presented in a simpler form that actively involves them. An older, experienced audience might be looking for more technical content. Be prepared to deal with mixed ages and experiences by having Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C.

GET YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS IN DIFFERENT WAYS! Presentations delivered through spoken words from the front of the room in a monotone put people to sleep. Move around and get your audience moving and working together to solve problems. This way you can work out an understanding of your ideas together. Utilize games or activities to illustrate your topic and help your participants gain experience with the subject. Use visual aids like video, PowerPoint, or objects that relate to your topic. Move around and donít talk to your audience for too long before giving them a break. Be creative with the tools you use to spark up your presentations and try to invent your own.

Write a SCRIPT & PRACTICE for confidence! Plan the major points of your presentation and write them down. Be flexible with how you cover your points. Let the group move the presentation through discussion and act as a facilitator to keep the topics pertinent. Having a plan and knowing where you are going will make it easier to get back on track if the discussion wanders. It is OK for discussions to go off on a tangent as long as you know when and how to bring it back in line. There are other ways to look at the information rather than just yours. Being comfortable presenting information in front of a group can take time. Remember, if you know what you are talking about, who you are talking to, being able to address different types of people, and have a game plan itís easy to be successful.

Sound familiar? This is what makes up good teachers, on-snow or indoors. Think about these four points and get your indoor clinics as dialed as your sliding clinics.

Snowskating in full effectÖ

One of the coolest new snow toys on the market today is the snowskate, basically a skateboard for the snow. They are a phenomenal snow tool that can be used anywhere there is snow. You donít even need a lift, just a patch of snow, shoes, your snowskate of choice, and youíre good to go. Multi-level snowskates perform very similar to snowboards, just without bindings. They can turn and carve, ride forward or switch, and even ollie and jump. All the team members had crazy fun riding snowskates this week. Even the Nordic Team jumped on them and had a blast. We see a future in using snowskates in snowboard instruction.

There are two basic designs of snowskate, one of which is a thinner flat piece with grooves on the bottom, and the other major design uses multi-levels. Usually a skateboard like deck and a miniature snowboard underneath. Many companies have jumped into the market recently including Premier, Burton and Bideck with Santa Cruz, Salomon, K2, and Mervin Manufacturing rumored to hit the market soon. (special thanks to Bideck and Burton for providing decks for us to play on)

As instructors we see many benefits to using snowskates as a training aid. The benefit for snowboarders is the improved balance through the ankle movements they learn. Sometimes snowboarders rely on their boots and bindings for balancing fore and aft on their board. Snowskates encourage a centered stance to balance on the board. Snowskates are great even if you donít have a hill around. You can create small run-ins by mounding snow on whatever you have lying around. Grab a shovel and you can build small jumps or quarterpipes. Rails are great for a little challenge. You can even just run and jump on and you will have enough momentum to slide a long way. In the near future we will see miniparks popping up at many resorts and cities around the world. If you havenít jumped on one yet, donít wait! It could be the most fun youíll have this season.


A key to successfully teaching children is to make an accurate assessment of the childís movement and behavior. Rather than relying on a dry question and answer method, consider using a more play-focused assessment. The physical aspects of how children move and where they are developmentally can be readily identified by the ways they play and interact in activities. Ask them about what they like to do! Useful games include catch, tag (where no one is out), skipping in or out of boots, throwing snowballs, and making snowmen. Create your own games. Clues to watch for are physical coordination, where they are looking and how they interact with each other.

Games you can play:
-Sharks and Minnows: Evaluate balance, agility, coordination, social skills, learning
styles, competitive nature, create team environment
-Hot Potato: Evaluate hand-eye coordination, social skills, and willingness to participate and interact
-Skipping with and without boots: Evaluate coordination, physical development and
comfort with equipment
-Shuffle Sideways: Evaluate ability to move in lateral plane and to use fine motor
-Hopping (one/two footed): Evaluate balance, stance, strength, agility and fine motor
-Jumping Jacks: Evaluate balance, stance, strength, agility and fine motor development
-Circle Up (stand in a circle holding gear in front, step to the right and catch that persons
gear without letting it fall, repeat and reverse): Create cooperation and team environment, evaluate hand-eye coordination, ability to move laterally, recognition of right and left, social skills

Younger children will tend to move larger body parts and have trouble with fine balancing movements. Younger children may or may not favor one hand or foot to throw, catch or kick. They will eventually start to develop a stance preference toward regular or goofy-foot; no need to rush that. As they get older, children balance and maintain balance using smaller muscle groups; their muscle coordination is becoming refined. As children get close to teenage years they experience rapid changes in their bodies. This may be visible through difficulty with coordination and balancing abilities.

Watching children play can give you clues to improve class handling. If the children are playing by themselves and not interacting, the teacher will need to make sure they address each child individually. As children play together more, they appreciate being part of a team or group. This team can be included in the process of making decisions. Create team building and competitions where everyone can be successful. Older children can be very self-conscious and worry how the group perceives them.

When assessing students it is important to pay attention to the clues they give you. When you understand the clues, your lessons can become much more student centered and successful.

A different viewÖ Movement Options ĖĎ02--

The body moves in very simple ways. It flexes, extends, and rotates. You can also look at relative to three planes, vertical, fore/aft, and lateral, and the rotational component. Each plane is two-dimensional. The body moves through these planes to create performance. The vertical plane is how the Center of Mass (CM) moves to and from the tool. The fore/aft plane is how the CM moves relative to the tip and tail of the tool. The lateral plane is how the CM moves from one edge to another. The rotational component is how the body moves around an axis perpendicular to the tool.

Consider each movement option as a tool that the rider can pick and choose from to suit the situation. These tools are chosen relative to equipment, snow condition, terrain, physical condition, body type, and mental state. When looking at movement options and providing our students with the greatest amount of tools it is important to look at how they are standing on the snowboard. A stance that promotes flex at the ankles, knees, and hips will provide this wide range of choices. An aspect of this is moving in a way that keeps the hips between the feet and knees. These elements of a balanced, athletic stance allow the rider several movement options based on their situation. Following are some of these choices.

The Vertical

The movements for the vertical plane are up and down which tie directly into weighting and un-weighting. As an example, up un-weighting has applications throughout our riding in places such as steeps, pipes and soft snow. To take it a step further in steeps, up un-weighting can be a powerful tool to allow a rider to release the old edge and move towards the new turn. This is done through an extension that moves the CM over the middle of the board towards the new edge. In the pipe the rider can press against the board and wall to maintain momentum as they ride up the wall. The benefit is realized as they look down for their landing as they have cleared the lip to the awe of the spectators hiking past them. In soft snow up un-weighting can be a good way to release the pressure and get the board clear of the snow. This can be particularly helpful when the snow consistency allows the rider to create a platform. This platform will be the launch pad for the up un-weighting reaction of the board.

Tip to Tail

The fore/aft movements are accomplished through individual and independent flexion and extension of the legs, i.e. the back leg extends and moves the CM towards the nose while the front leg flexes. The reverse is the front leg extending and the CM moving towards the tail while the back leg flexes. The reaction at the board is pressure being directed towards the part of the board where the CM aligns. This can be a very obvious example of pressure distribution. When the pressure is directed towards the nose, as in steep terrain, the rider can steer the tail through to completion with very little effort. If the rider allows the CM to move towards the tail the effect is a tendency for a longer turn which results in increased speed. The speed is managed through a stronger pivot at the bottom of the turn rather than progressive steering throughout. For pipe riding exaggerated fore/aft movements can result in the CM getting ahead of the board resulting in the upper body having an intimate encounter with the wall. The converse is the CM being left behind and the board "squirting" up the wall. In the pipe the rider should, ideally, maintain the CM between the feet at all times. With soft snow the rider needs to keep the nose up. This can be achieved by shifting the CM slightly aft. It is important to still keep the CM between the feet through active flexion and extension of both legs. For example, at the bottom of a pow turn try the same movements you would use to ollie. Extend the back leg, pressuring the tail, while allowing the front leg to flex. This will bring the nose up and create a platform to move from. In each of these scenarios, whenever the CM gets past the feet, tip or tail, the ability to create performance is limited.

From Edge to Edge

Lateral movements that draw the CM towards the edge ideally happen from the lower body. On steep terrain, the hips can be drawn from one turn to the next through active flexion and extension of lower body joints, especially the ankle and hip. Moving from heel to toe, the CM can be drawn across to the new edge by active flexion of the ankle, or pressing the shin against the tongue of the boot. Going from toe to heel, the rider can steer the board by moving the knee towards the heel side edge of the nose, resulting in the ankle opening and the hips will open slightly. With pipe riding, the same movements apply but they should be executed at the highest point possible. These lateral movements will be accentuated by upper body rotation in the intended direction of travel. The goal here is landing on the new edge at the highest point of the wall possible. Soft snow requires using more subtle versions of the same movements. Lowering the edge angle allows the rider to maintain a wider platform to maintain stability while in motion.

Rotation as Steering

Rotational movements can be used to direct steering movements in the intended direction. The ideal is to keep the board aligned with the direction of travel. In steep terrain the key to avoid the tendency to over steer and create a side slip is pacing steering movements appropriately to turn size. Strong steering late can bring the board across the direction of travel creating the side slip. As mentioned above, rotational movements will accentuate the direction of travel especially in the air. It is very difficult to do a 180 in the pipe if you donít rotate your upper body in the desired direction of travel. While the upper body plays a role in this movement, it is merely complementing what the lower body is trying to accomplish. In soft snow, it is possible to exaggerate the rotational movements in short radius "slash" style turns where the upper body may initiate the lower body movements. This technique is not as effective in longer radius turns, where this movement will result in the board coming around too quickly depending upon the timing of these movements. Ideally the upper and lower body will move in conjunction to accomplish the steering throughout the duration of the turn in all turn shapes. Different turns will require different timing, intensity and duration of these movements.

A movement through any and/or all of these planes can combine movements through other planes-(i.e. action=reaction). Any movement through one of these planes will have a reaction along another plane. All are related and as instructors we must realize what the reactions are. These planes of movement are merely a tool to give the instructor a better understanding of how the body moves relative to the tool. The most important element to remember is that we must present options for our guests to choose from. The movements are tools with applications, similar to different sized hammers.

The Range of Change

Theories of Initiation

The team worked (argued) about the ways to initiate a turn. We looked for the be all and end all of how to start what we all try to teach, the turn. We discussed the idea of tossing out "phases of the turn", trying to come up with terms that were more descriptive. Terms like range of rise, that portion of the tern that the edge is getting higher. The lowering range, the span where the edge lowers. There is, of course the high point and the point of engagement. Between the lowering range and the range of rise we found The Range of Change, that time where the rider can change edges. Within that range, the movements that cause edge release occur, the board moves to and through flat and the new edge engages.

The advanced rider typically has a very large range of change. Seldom do they hit trees, lift towers, other riders; in general - they can turn to avoid. The low level rider tends to sit down to avoid those things; theyíre range of change is smaller. The upper-end rider can often change edges at will. Thatís the goal.

We discussed the idea that itís much easier to release an edge if there is some resistance. Thatís why itís easiest to change edges at the bottom of a turn. We spent time on snowskates and, wow, itís tough to changes edges on steep terrain. We had a tough time creating a platform from which we could move. There was less opportunity to set that edge at the finish of the turn.

The snowskate epiphany: No bindings, a tiny deck and a need to turn

Flex the front ankle. It was not a matter of setting the new edge, it was moving across that little deck. It was scary. It seemed steep. No feeling of control before the move, just the hope that it would turn. Once we flexed the front ankle (moving our weight slightly forward and down) it all felt easier. Hopping on our snowboards we could turn again. But we had a tough time describing why the range of change had shrunk on the snowskate. What is that range of change, why can we see it while following our students, what makes us able to change edges at one instance, and then unable a moment latter? Body position, stance, and board trajectory, all of itÖ
1) Twisting the board gave us more confidence to the commitment. It gave us something to push from. Even though there may not be resistance from an edge-set, there was still a platform to move from.

2) Board trajectory on the snow. For edge change to happen the board should be moving in the same direction as tip of the board (longitudinal axis).

3) Body position, yep stance, is still the king. An athletic stance, lower for balance, but maintain range of motion in all joints (ankle, knee, hips, and spine), head and hands should be over the board.

From these positions, with a board that is traveling toward the tip, you should be able to change edges at your will. The most common way to release the edge is to use the pressure that has built up under foot. It works. But what happens if you donít have that pressure? For example, at slow speeds, low angle after a long traverse, like all our beginners feel. We found that the twisting of the board between the feet gives us a platform to move from regardless of resistance from the snow. Letís restate that. Twisting the board eliminates the need for a snow platform to move from. We can still use the edge/snow resistance, but we donít have to.

The Range of Change is a description of when a rider can change edges. The term initiation has always given instructors a challenge. Is it the movement that starts the edge release or the edge release Ė is it when the board goes flat or the point of engagement. Itís just semantics, why argue over semantics. The range of change encompasses all of these points. It allows us to describe the movements, the outcomes, and the timing.



We spent time trying to reinvent the wheel, then decided the wheel is rolling along OK. The ideas presented are simply our thoughts from the week; with a combined 110 years of snowboarding experience including 83 years of snowboard instruction, we have nothing more than a background to draw from. Some of the best ideas come from first year instructors. Know that this is not a manual Ė itís not the final word. Be creative; enjoy snowboarding and the lifestyle it allows you to live. Donít take a single turn for granted. Every day on snow is good one.

Rob Baker
Mikey Franco
Gregg Davis
Randy Price
Chad Frost
Shaun Cattanach
Earl Saline