The recent Dew Tour stop at Snowbasin was a real learning experience. You can learn a lot from watching the best, but you can learn even more with first-hand advice. So, here are some tips for getting bigger and going higher from some of the top snowriders, helpful whether you’re riding on two edges or four.
Before the tips, however, a suggestion for the skiers out there: Try the pipe. You don’t even have to be an expert skier, only to have the guts to drop in. Start at the flat end of the pipe, make turns down the middle, and go higher up the walls as you get more comfortable. It’s like a fantastic amusement park ride that comes free with your lift ticket.
OK, on to the tips.
How to get better
Elijah Teter: Just visualize yourself getting better, going out with people who are better than you, so that you can pick it up and they can give you tips along the way. It’s also good to keep your board waxed. It will keep it going longer, so it won’t dry out. And the wax will make it easier to ride.
Sage Kotsenburg (Park City resident who finished third in snowboard slopestyle): You’ve got to go up there every day and try your hardest and stay out there longer than your friends.
How to handle fear
Queralt Castellet: Don’t let anyone talk you into taking risks that scare you, [master the] easy before you take risks. But also, you can be afraid of something and do it anyhow. If it’s not too risky, do it even though you are scared.
How to ride a rail
Jack Mitrani: Pretend it’s a line of snow. Stay straight on it.
Sage Kotsenburg: To stay on a rail all the way to the end, look at the end of the rail.
How to get air out of the pipe
Jack Mitrani: You’ve got to get on your edge and keep it completely straight, don’t turn it, don’t do anything. Stay on your edge all the way to the top and stay completely balanced and completely straight.
Scott Lego: To get out of the pipe, really control your edges. Watch your edging. Try to take one straight line. Be neutral on the board, but you always want to be on one edge, either heel side or toe side.
Danny Davis (Olympic contender who won on the pipe but was badly injured snowmobiling later that evening): Go faster to get air. Don’t be a wimp about it. Set your edge, go fast and you’ll fly outta there. You go at an angle. You don’t want to go straight up, you’ll lose all your speed.
How to get air
Jossi Wells: Go for the jump expecting to land; you don’t want to go hesitant. Be aggressive. Expect to land it, and you will.
How to tell when you should call ski patrol
Nick Martini: I tore my ACL at the last Dew [when] I was in the top 10 athletes of the tour. If you feel sharp pain, don’t be a hero. When you land, there’s often a lot of dull pains you’ll feel, but if there’s anything sharp, that means there’s something broken or seriously wrong. Back off, you don’t want to risk hurting yourself more. There are a lot of injuries where if you stop and don’t try to ride it out or even off the hill, you’ll get better a whole lot sooner.