There is a point in your personal snowboarding development that will affect most snowboarders sooner or later. Riders’ Block is a very real condition and symptoms include (but aren’t limited to) having an imagination like a stagnating pond full of shopping trolleys, losing your bottle to the extent that your liver becomes a hotspot for Lily picking and developing a style that makes you feel like you’re wearing an obese hermathrodites skin. Left unchecked this condition could eventually lead to death, well the snowboarding equivalent at least: Quitting.
I have only suffered from RB once but it lasted a couple of months and ended unceremoniously in tears. I had the tricks I could do on lock and I knew all the pistes in the Espace Killy like the back of my hand, but for whatever reason I wasn’t progressing. With hindsight I know it was caused by a mixture of things, the first was persevering with the wrong board (The Johan Olofsson 162 pro model, a notoriously unforgiving wide tipped/narrow waisted beast) the result being it stole my courage after administering a couple of brutal slams.
Then as a ‘sponsored rider’ I’d just scored my first magazine cover and felt a pressure to not fall in public and live up to the tag of being good. Before you dismiss this one as a pro whinge, I have spoken to mates who have felt the same way after a couple of good days riding with mates. Lastly a bad snow season eroded my mojo and in turn refused me the conditions I needed to rediscover it.
It could end in a Jonathan Livingston Seagull moment of enlightenment that reveals a higher plane of understanding. Or you could end up with ice burn on your cock...
Looking back on it now I can see that I was taking snowboarding too seriously and having had too much time on snow was taking it for granted and in turn the fun had evaporated. Unsurprisingly I started having problems with my knees not long after, in my opinion a product of having tried to force things for too long.
Eighteen months and three surgeries later I had given up on the dream of ever being pro and was just desperate to ride again. But that process I had meant I rediscovered my passion. I’m not suggesting anyone needs to go to such extreme measures, mainly because I had a fairly acute case of RB.
Instead you should be looking at aspects of your everyday riding as a prevention of riders block and then you will never need such an extreme cure. Below are a few things you can do to test yourself and push your riding on a daily basis. Not all of them are going to work for you, and a couple of them are illegal, but like all things in life take on board the advice that works for you and ignore the rest.
1) CHANGE YOUR GEAR
You don’t have to buy new gear, just swap with a mate or rent something totally different for the day, it’ll force you to change the way you ride. If you hate it you’ll appreciate your set up more, if you love it you’ll never look back. Remember the more references you have to compare things the more educated your decisions will be.
2) CHANGE YOUR STANCE
Change your angles, make it wider, go alpine, try hard boots. Hell you can even set yourself up with an opposite stance so if you’re goofy go regular or vice versa. Again this will make you change your technique to compensate, you might like it you might not but you’ll understand your kit and your style more.
3) RIDE SWITCH FOR A WHOLE RUN
This is one of my favourites, take a run that you know like the back of your hand and ride it switch top to bottom. I swear to god there is nothing that will improve your riding quicker than doing this. The first couple of times will be frustrating but if you stick at it and do it every day you’ll be amazed how quickly you adjust and how much it improves the rest of your riding.
4) TAKE YOUR HIGHBACKS OFF
This is strictly if you have good snow conditions, it doesn’t work on ice. But if you have powder then get rid of your high backs for a day and see what it feels like to ride a skateboard on snow. The spines on boots are strong enough to do the high backs job, just with a little more flexibility.
5) TAKE ACID
If you have reached a creative impasse and you have tried all of the above why not take a leaf out of Jimi Hendrix book? Shit, he ended up playing the guitar switch, on the other hand you mightend up doing a Braveheart through the hire shop with the children's carving skis….
6) GET A MATE TO PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE EVERY TIME YOU DO A RUN WITHOUT TRYING SOMETHING NEW...
We’re getting desperate now…
7) STRAIGHTLINE THE STEEPEST SLOPE ON THE HILL NAKED
I’ve seen it done a few times and I can’t guarantee that it’ll help. It could end in a Jonathan Livingston Seagull moment of enlightenment that reveals a higher plane of understanding. Or you could end up with ice burn on your cock/vagina (seen both, not pretty).
Do you have any sure-fire (or just plain stupid) ways to avoid Rider's Block? Share 'em in the comments section below and we'll send a Whitelines mug to our favourite.