Hitting your first wallride is potentially daunting. The secret – like rails – is to forget all you know about using your edge. Instead, remember that you’ll only be using your flat base, and that success for all wallrides rests on your body position, so commit to getting these two things right and you’ll be fine
1. To do this trick you should ideally be comfortable with doing backside airs in the halfpipe. If this is the case, approach the wall with as much speed as you dare.
2. As you ride up the transition to the wall, apply a slight pressure on your toe edge. Don’t turn this into a proper carve, though, or you’ll eat shit on the wall. It might help to do a set up turn so you’ve already established your trajectory – then keep as flat a base as possible.
3. Throughout the ascent, aim to keep your body perpendicular to the surface under your board. Don’t lean forwards to fight the transition, and don’t actively lean back or you’ll slip out – just keep centred, letting the curve of the slope do the work, and let your board naturally get ahead of you so that as you reach the bit where the snow turns to wood (or plastic or metal) you’re almost horizontal.
4. Extend your body up at this point, then cushion the impact of the wall with your knees. It’s a bit like ‘pumping’ the pipe; the idea is to maximize your speed/height and provide a smooth transition to the steepest section.5. If you’ve got the body positioning right then the next bit – the actual slide – is easy. Now you’re on the wall, you’ll have no control through your edges (in fact if you do put the board on its edge you’re likely to get into all sorts of trouble). Instead, just keep your base flat to the wall and your weight nice and low, with your body perpendicular to the angle of the wall.
6. You need to turn the board 180 degrees around backside to complete the trick. To do this, keep looking at where you’re about to land. As you approach the apex of the wallride, your board should be halfway through its rotation i.e. horizontal.
7. At the top, you should be fairly weightless. Wallrides are a funny halfway house between airs and rail slides. The good news is that things slow down when you get on a wall, and even if you get it wrong and slip up, you’re likely to simply slide down the wall on your bum back to the transition.
8. Focus on where you’re coming in to land. Make sure that your board is coming down facing direction in the same direction you’re travelling, and get ready to lift the nose off the wall to place the board back into the snow transition.9. As with the take off, when you land keep your body positioning exactly perpendicular with the snow: let the board run down the transition and stay with it, rather than letting it slip out.10. Stand up straight and ride off on your toe edge – you’ve just done your first wallride.
While frontside airs are easier in the pipe, frontside wallrides can often be surprisingly tricky. The backside wallride is definitely the way to go for your first outing on the park’s ‘Hollywood’ obstacle.