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How To Master Tree Riding

OUR SIMPLE GUIDE TO SLASHING POWDERY TREE RUNS

13:22 8th January 2014 by Chris Moran @chrismoranACM
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Josh Dirksen shreds the mecca of tree riding, Japan. Photo: Oli Gagnon

Josh Dirksen shreds the mecca of tree riding, Japan. Photo: Oli Gagnon

When the weather sets in and you can’t see two feet in front of your face, the trees come into their own. As well as adding much needed definition in a white out, riding through the trees in deep, deep powder snow keeps you on your toes and sharpens those reactions a treat. It’s seriously good for your technique and confidence, and means bad weather doesn’t have to stop play. It’s some of the best fun you’ll have on your snowboard and once you’re up to speed, playing chase with your mates and avoiding their spray is the business. Here’s how to come out of the forest in one piece with a massive grin on your face.

1.  Like a world class snooker player, you want to be thinking at least a couple of moves ahead. Pick a line before you enter the trees and stay focused on the open spaces. Focus on the trees, and you may find yourself hugging wood.

2. Stay in a slightly crouched ready position, so at any moment you can react to unforeseen obstacles. Those trees can come at you quicker than you think, and you may well be ducking the odd branch so staying low and letting your knees absorb the shocks is key.

3. Remember, speed is your friend. You might be tempted to slow down to avoid all the obstacles, but although you do need to stay in control, it’s hard to turn quickly between trees unless you have some momentum. In short, don’t be afraid to point it!

Like a world class snooker player you want to be thinking at least a couple of moves ahead

4.  Keep your weight on your rear leg to keep that nose above the snow. You’ll be pivoting around the rear leg much like a surfer, ducking and weaving your way through the trees.

5. Keep your front arm cocked a little and use it to brush aside any stray branches as you squeeze through the narrower gaps.

6. Find your flow. Try not to be too stop-start as make your way through the trees. A little momentum will help with your turns and you will start to get in ‘the zone’. Keep breathing and use the force!

7. Stay in close range of a buddy. It’s easy to get carried away because it’s so much fun.  One minute you’re leaving your mate for dust and the next minute you could be lost in the woods – or worse, one of you could have hit a tree. So when you’re just getting into it, look out for each other and proceed in bursts to make sure you can spot each other. Once you have a run dialled, you can arrange to meet at a designated spot at the bottom and really let rip from top to bottom.

top tip

Get yourself a yellow or rose goggle lens for maximum definition on those flat light tree run days.

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