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Snowboarding Tip: Ride narrow pistes with confidence

When learning to snowboard you will find yourself being taught in a nice wide are of the mountain with a gentle gradient. There is plenty of room for you safely learn and make mistakes without fear of being surrounded by too many other mountain users.

As you progress and you leave the comfort of having an instructor around you will begin to find yourself in situations that you may not be comfortable with and are not prepared for. This can be daunting.

"like all other areas of snowboarding it's all about confidence"


One situation that can cause you to become nervous and on edge if you are not prepared is finding yourself on a narrow piste or a cat track.

Usually found in connecting areas of the mountain to give mountain users access to the wider more extensive pistes available. It is commmon to find a narrow piste directly off of a lift or part way down the hill to give you a choice in which direction you take.

1: Which direction is the slope falling away?

narrow pistes

A good thing to take note of before you ride a narrow piste is the direction in which the slope is falling away. If you have a clear idea which way the slope falls, you will be able to work with the slope to control your speed and safely navigate the narrow piste.

2: Assess the piste and pick your line

Obviously not all narrow pistes are going to be the same. Some will be bumpy, some will be slushy, some will be flat. It is for this reason that taking a minute to look at the narrow section before you start riding will be a great help. Like any other area of the mountain you should have an idea of the line you are going to take before you set off.

3: Wait for the all clear

Narrow areas of the mountain are often bottle necks and can get very busy. To give yourself the best chance of making it down without incident wait for a quiet time before you set off. No one wants to deal with a ski school of kids when they are faced with a new situation.

4: Keep your board as straight as you are comfortable with

Remember, the straighter your board is the faster you will go. Although tempting on your first coupe of times, try not to slide down with your board turned sideways in order not to take up to much room on these narrow areas. Ihis will only annoy others around you and will increase the likelyhood of a coming together. A better way to do it is to....

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5: Make regular small speed checking movement

Using the natural lay of the land is a big help when riding these narrow areas. An easy way to keep your speed under control is to keep turning the nose of your board up the slope (high) and make small regular movements to check your speed by sliding out the back of your board.

6: There is no need to carve

When you are new to riding narrow areas it is best not to link together your turns. You may be able to do this on wider pistes comfortably but resist the urge to try until you are more confident on these narrow pistes.

7: Respect others and pass only if you have to

As in other areas you will find all abilities on narrow pistes. As your riding progresses and you become more comfortable remember that others may be here for the first time. Respect others by giving them plenty of room and passing them only if you have to.

Practice makes perfect

So there you go, some basic pointers to help you ride narrow pistes a little easier. Before you know it you will be an expert who is using the edge of the piste to practice your backside 180's..

We hope this snowboarding tip has helped you out. If you have any questions and want to know more then please drop us an email through the Contact us page.


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