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WLTV Backcountry Basics

Powder Basics with James Stentiford – How To Slash in Powder

We’re kicking off a new video tutorial series here at WhitelinesPowder Basics with James Stentiford – the first Brit ever to compete on the Freeride World Tour. Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you all the knowledge you’ll need to get you started in the deep stuff, or even improve your techniques if you’ve already made some tracks.

After you’ve mastered the powder turn, it’s probably time to progress onto one of the best things you’ll ever do on a snowboard: the slash. But as simple as it looks, mastering this manoeuvre takes a lot of practice and a little bit of knowledge.

Watch the video above, but we’ve also included some of the most important bits from the WL Basics below to help you out even more.

Powder Basics with James Stentiford

  1. Powder Turns
  2. Standing Up
  3. The Slash
  4. Cliff Drops
  5. Hiking Tips

The Powder Slash

Our own Chris Moran once memorably likened a slash to the pure joy you get as a kid doing a massive skid on your bike, and it’s true that it is one of the simplest yet most enjoyable moves you can do on a snowboard.

On a powder day, there’s no feeling like it.

Like so much in snowboarding, the slash has been nicked from another sideways forbear – surfing in this case. On a snowboard it’s just as much fun, and when you have the technique dialed can be executed almost anywhere on the mountain. So if you’ve got your basic powder turns down but are not yet ready to get airborne, nail this soul-enhancing move down and make the hill your master. Mwa ha ha!

Find a target.  Scan the terrain in front of you for anything slashable. A wind lip, a bank of snow, lumps, bumps, anything vaguely slightly resembling a wave is fair game. Decide whether you’re going to slash frontside or backside (on your toe or heel edge  

Take the right speed. Too much and you’ll lose control. Too little and your slash will look weak and won’t kick up enough spray (not good – after all, you measure a good snowboarder by the finesse and power of their slash). If in doubt, err on the fast side!

Think about punching that back leg through the snow so it sends up a massive plume of spray. The bigger the plume, the bigger the points!

Stay low, and think Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. This is where you’re fully committed and thinking to yourself “I’m ‘aving this slash for breakfast”.

As you approach your chosen target, open your arms and start to make the turn, but really exaggerate your movements. Think about punching that back leg through the snow so it sends up a massive plume of spray. The bigger the plume, the bigger the points!

Don’t stop here. At the apex of the slash turn, the fact your board is parallel can make you slow down, so don’t lean back too much and continue to see the turn through to the end.

Now make sure you fluidly initiate the next turn. Essentially, you’re looking to spring your legs back and straighten the nose rather than letting yourself skid to a halt.

Once you get more experienced, you’ll be able to go faster and read the terrain so you kick up a massive wall in front of you and ride straight through it a.k.a. the white room. On a powder day, there’s no feeling like it.

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