The snowboarder population in Japan is said to be 7.5 million strong. These are riders who hit the slopes at least three times a season. One common thread among most riders is the desire to ride better, enjoy riding more and look cooler on the slopes.
For those still butting their heads against the proverbial snow bank, these four tips are basic, yet surprisingly overlooked tidbits, which should put a new kick into your powder turns.
1. Have fun
Sounds simple, but snowboarding is the ultimate sport—not a job. The first secret to superior slope-style is to enjoy riding and not get too caught up in the minutia of tips and instruction. Children and adults alike get absorbed in the things they like doing. Find your inner child and enjoy the moment.
2. Look and learn
No matter the task, if you can get the correct image in your head, anything is possible. Watch those around you who are riding well and think about yourself doing the same thing. Watch videos.
Follow good riders down the hill. Then, put yourself in their boots and run through some image training. Take part in an adult snowboard camp and imitate the instructors. There are a variety of techniques, but the results will be the same.
3. Ride with Friends
Getting together with friends is an important part of the game. Push and encourage one another. If someone lands a trick, be happy for them. High-fives, anyone? Whether in the powder or park, everyone likes to hear it from their friends when they land something…and even when they don’t!
4. “Feeling” more than “Formula”
Japan is a country obsessed with the “How To” of things. Magazines and DVDs for every conceivable sport or activity take you through every little step of what they think you need to know.
However, too much time with your nose in a book keeps you from getting out there and experiencing for yourself. Snowboarding is a freestyle sport where the only limit is your imagination. Grab your friends and get out there.
Deciding to participate in a snowboard camp takes some guts, but it’s a fun opportunity to check out some good riding and get some advice from instructors and pro riders. You’ll definitely improve your skills and probably make some friends doing it. Get signed up and enjoy the ride.
High Cascade Snowboard Camp
Mar. 8 – Apr. 6
Happo-one Ski Resort, Hakuba, Nagano
Mixi Community “Suno-bo-do ga umaku naritai!”
(I want to be a better snowboarder!)
Fumitaka Igari started snowboarding camps 15 years ago to get more people out on the mountain, having fun and learning to ride better. He’s the Japan Director for the popular High Cascade Snowboard Camp each summer in Oregon on Mt. Hood. This is the first year the High Cascade Snowboard Camp will be in Japan at Happo-one Ski Resort in Hakuba, Nagano. The camp is for all levels and all ages and the kickoff party will be part of Reggae Snow Splash 2008 on Mar. 8 at Tracks Bar when you can also check out the new Teton Gravity Research film, “Lost & Found.” See www.reggaesnowsplash.com