---- The Snowboarding FAQ - Revision Dec 21, 2000 ---- 
*      -------------------------------------            *
*   The rec.skiing.snowboard FAQ is a compendium of     *
*   questions and answers that frequently appear on     *
*   rec.skiing.snowboard.  Neither the contributors     *
*   to the FAQ, the posters of the FAQ, nor their       *
*   employers make any claim whatsoever regarding the   *
*   accuracy or safety of ANYTHING in the FAQ.  Any     *
*   item that may appear to be offering either          *
*   medical or legal advice is doing neither.           *
*                                                       *
The snowboarding FAQ is compiled, written, and/or edited by Mark Wallace (mwallace@nyx.net). Most others who contribute are from North America so some of the information does not apply to other parts of the world.  If you have a relevant addition, correction or comment please don't hesitate to send it.

NOTE: New and revised sections since the previous revision are marked with 3 asterisks (***).


Mary Jane at Winter Park Colorado is a great place to board the bumps. Here's a live shot of Winter Park courtesy of RSN, click on it to go to that site.

Here's your author rippin it on his favorite big
board a Burton Super 181 at Snow Basin UT!
And on the right is Natalie at Powder Mtn,
the name says it all!

A Part
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----------------- TABLE OF CONTENTS -----------------

8.00) Welcome, Disclaimers, and Rules
8.00.01) So what's the obligatory disclaimers?
8.00.02) How dangerous is snowboarding?
8.00.03) What's this "Your Responsibility Code" thing?
8.01) Hey! Why don't we start a separate snowboarding newsgroup, and why is it called REC.SKIING.SNOWBOARD?
8.02) What is snowboarding?
8.03) What is snowboard skiing?
8.04) What is the history of snowboarding?
8.05) What are the various types of snowboard equipment? 
8.06) What is the right stance for me (regular or goofy, stance width and angles)?
8.07) As a snowboarder newbie, can you give me a set of general guidelines to narrow my purchasing decisions on boots, bindings, and a board?
8.08) What is all this weird talk I hear from boarders?
8.09) ***Where is snowboarding not allowed?
8.10) How do I learn to snowboard?
8.11) Is it true that a snowboarder is less likely to get injured than a skier?
8.12) I always see snowboarders laying around on the snow, why are they such wimps that they can't even stand up?
8.13) Why is there friction between skiers and boarders?
8.14) I got a C+ in wood shop and I want to build my own board, how do I do it?
8.15) Can I become a snowboard patroller?
8.16) Why do ski areas make snowboarders wear a leash?
8.17) What is "Old School" and "New School"?
8.18) What is an extruded base, what is a sintered base and how do you repair them?
8.19) How do I tune my snowboard and can I use my mom's iron to apply the wax?
8.20) Has the Holy Asymmetric Empire fallen?
8.21) Why do the questions in the Snowboarding FAQ start with an 8?
8.22) ***What are the 5 very best web sites for Snowboard instruction and safety information?


8.00) Welcome, Disclaimers, and Rules

Welcome to rec.skiing.snowboard. This group is a forum for the discussion of snowboarding and related topics. If you're new to the net, or even just new to rec.skiing.snowboard please take a couple of minutes to read the FAQ... it will save you a lot of grief in the long run!

If you're *brand* new to the net, please check out the group news.announce.newusers for general information about usenet.

Here are a few rules of thumb that will help you get around in rec.skiing.snowboard (and even some other places) without firmly inserting your foot in your mouth.

Some other groups that you might find interesting are:


8.00.01) So what's the obligatory disclaimers?

Thanks for asking. This FAQ is a compilation of many frequently asked questions and their frequently posted responses. As such it is merely a compression of information from many sources. Neither the persons maintaining and posting this list nor their employers make any claims about the safety or even the accuracy of the information in the list.

You're on your own. Make informed decisions. Only take the risks that you feel comfortable taking. Don't board alone. Stay warm. Don't get caught in an avalanche. Use appropriate equipment. Don't board in closed areas. And for gawds sake, LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER!

Have some respect. Respect the other people on the slopes. Respect the mountains... they can bite. Respect the weather, it can change. Respect your limitations, exceed them and you'll hurt yourself. Respect the setting... littering is for morons.


8.00.02) How dangerous is snowboarding?

It's about as safe or as dangerous as you want it to be. While there is always some inherent danger in the sport most problems are due to "pilot error". Pay attention to posted signs... they're there for a reason. Board in control. Don't Board in closed areas.

The injury rate for skiing has been fairly level at about 3 injuries per thousand skier-days. These injuries include everything from minor bruises and lacerations to broken necks. The most common injuries are thumb and knee injuries. Snowboarders experience about the same injury rate as skiers but the injuries tend to be to the wrist, ankle, and neck (refer to the injury section of this FAQ (8.11) for more info).

You *can* kill yourself snowboarding. You can also kill somebody else. Stay in control. That being said it should also be mentioned that you're probably more likely to slip and fall in the parking lot...


8.00.03) What's this "Your Responsibility Code" thing?

This use to be known as The Skier's Responsibility Code but is now simply referred to as Your Responsibility Code. Rather than saying much *about* it, we'll just include it here.

Note: This code is widely accepted in the United States... other countries may have similar codes. One netter reports that this code is similar to what's posted in New Zealand.

-------------------- Your Responsibility Code --------------------

Skiing can be enjoyed in many ways. At ski areas you may see people using alpine, snowboard, telemark, cross country or other specialized ski equipment, such as that used by disabled and other skiers. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy the slopes, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the following code and share with other skiers the responsibility for a great skiing experience.
  1. Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
  4. Whenever starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
Your Responsibility Code is endorsed by The American Ski Federation, National Ski Patrol, United States Ski Industries Association, Professional Ski Instructors of America, Cross Country Ski Areas Association, United States Ski Association, Ski Coach's Association, and other organizations.
The European countries have the FIS-rules (Federation International de Ski). They are a basis for courtroom decisions but are not laws. The FIS-rules are:

-------------The FIS-rules -------------

  1. Consideration of the other Skiers

  2. Every skier has to behave in a way he or she doesn't endanger or damage any other.
  3. Controlling of speed and way of skiing

  4. Every skier has to ski on sight. He has to adapt his speed and way of skiing to his abilities and the conditions of the terrain, the snow and the weather as to the traffic density.
  5. Choice of track

  6. The skier coming from behind another has to choose his track so that skiers before him won't be endangered.
  7. Overtaking

  8. Overtaking is allowed from above or below, from right or left but always with a distance so that the skier being overtaken has space enough for all his movements.
  9. Entering and restarting

  10. Every skier entering a trail or starting after a halt has to assure himself uphill and downhill of the fact that he can do so without danger for himself and others.
  11. Stopping

  12. Every skier has to avoid stopping at small or blind places of a trail without need. A fallen skier has to free such a place as quick as possible.
  13. Mounting and descend

  14. A skier mounting or descending by feet has to use the border of the trail.
  15. Pay attention to signs

  16. Every skier has to pay attention to the marks and signs.
  17. Behavior in case of accidents

  18. In case of accidents every skier has to help.
  19. Duty of proving identity

  20. Every skier whether witness or involved, whether responsible or not has to prove his identity in case of an accident.


8.01) Hey! Why don't we start a separate snowboarding newsgroup, and why is it called REC.SKIING.SNOWBOARD?

Hey! We already did. Back in the early '90s there was one newsgroup for all skiing related discussion, it was called rec.skiing. As the group became overwhelmed with too many topics several people worked hard to form additional groups, at the top of that list was Crispin Cowen. After much discussion and voting the current hierarchy of newsgroups was formed. And why, you ask, is it called REC.SKIING.snowboard? Because it was more technically feasible to do it that way when rec.skiing was split up. It is the way it is and it would take a lot of work to change it, so unless you're willing to do the work don't even suggest it.

There is another snowboard newsgroup called rec.sport.snowboarding but its not a legal group and is not propagated very well. What this means is that the group was created without going through the formal voting process. A few machines on the net still have it listed as a valid group but it isn't.


8.02) What is snowboarding?

Snowboarding is the relatively new sport which can be visually compared to skateboarding and surfing except done on snow. The rider stands on the board with his/her left or right foot forward, facing one side of the board. The feet are attached to the board via high-back, step-in or plate bindings which are non-releasable. Although there is at least one manufacturer of releasable bindings, they are not widely used. The sport is distinct from monoskiing. In monoskiing both feet are side by side on a single ski and the skier faces forward.

Some sports which have overlap in skills to snowboarding include: skurfing, skateboarding, surfing, water skiing and certainly snow skiing. In the following sections many comparisons are made to skiing because of its widespread familiarity. If unfamiliar with snowboarding terminology the reader should first refer to the What Is All This Weird Talk? section.


8.03) What is snowboard skiing?

Simply put, it is the legal name for snowboarding. Probably contrived by the lawyers and the insurance companies sometime in the 80's. The PSIA also refers to snowboarding as snowboard skiing. This means it has all the privileges and liabilities of alpine skiing. Legally speaking there is no technical difference between any form of skiing, including: telemark, cross-country, mono, downhill, snowboard, boot-skiing.


8.04) What is the history of snowboarding?

Snowboarding became popular only in the last 10 years. It was pioneered in the late 70's by a small group including Jake Burton Carpenter, Chuck Barfoot, and Tom Sims. All now head or have led snowboard companies with Burton being the largest snowboard manufacturer in the world. Burton gets most of the media's credit for having incorporated the first high-back bindings, metal edges and snowboard boots into his line. All of the early pioneers were heavily influenced by surfboarding.

The roots really start with the snurfer, that sled hill toy you may have ridden as a kid, shaped like a small water ski with a rope tied to the nose and a rough surface for traction from the center to the back where you stood. Sherman Poppin was the inventor of the snurfer which first appeared in the 1960s. As it turns out Jake Burton was involved in snurfer racing, a gag event put on by a group of bored college students. Well, he got the bright idea to put a foot retention device (little more than a strap at first) on his boards and began to win these events hands down.

At about this same time several other people were busy inventing the sport. Jeff Grell is credited with designing the first highback binding. Demetre Malovich started Winterstick, which didn't make it financially. He introduced several important factors early on in the sport like swallowtail designs, and laminated construction.

Boots evolved from Sorels (TM) or Sno-pac type boots. Early "snowboard" boots were Sorel shells with ski boot type bladders. It was obvious that these early boots did not supply adequate support for the ankle and inhibited control of the boards. The first hard-shell "snowboard" boots were in fact ski boots. It didn't take long for the first true hard-shell boot to be produced before the end of the eighties.

Burton set up shop at Stratton Mountain in Vermont and by 1985 had incorporated steel edges and high-back bindings into his designs. The metal edges allowed use at regular ski resorts and the rest is hiss-toe-ree. In 1985 only 7 percent of U.S. ski areas allowed snowboards; today more than 97 percent do and over half have half pipes.


8.05) What are the various types of snowboard equipment?

The history of the snowboarding industry is brief but the equipment evolution has been explosive. The boards, boots and binding styles sold in the mid-eighties aren't even available today. Gone are the split tails, center fins, bolt-on metal edges, wide short bullet-shaped boards and non-supportive boots. Today there are no less than 65 snowboard equipment manufacturers (boards, boots, and bindings). The cost of snowboard equipment is very comparable to ski equipment with a wide range of costs and types.


Boards or decks are categorized into one of four groups: race, alpine, all-mountain/all-around/free-riding and half-pipe/free-style. They range in lengths from under 100 cm to over 200 cm. Their construction is nearly identical to skis; a board has metal edges, side-cut and camber. All of the same materials are used. The real differences are in the shapes and flex patterns.

The term symmetry is used extensively in any discussion of boards. Because a board is ridden with one foot forward the turn dynamics are obviously different from a ski. A board can be symmetrical front to back and/or symmetrical side to side. Normally a ski is asymmetrical front to back and symmetrical side to side. Most boards have symmetry like skis.

Another term used to describe snowboard shape is "directional".  As in: "This board is non-directional."  A true non-directional board can have either end as the tip or tail since the binding inserts are centered.  Usually the rider will have a preference to being regular or goofy and set-up the board accordingly.

Reasons for different symmetry configurations include:

These boards are used for downhill, GS and slalom racing. They tend to be stiff, narrow and long. They are designed for high speed use with long effective edges for carving turns.
These boards tend to target crossover skiers. The design of these boards reflects that of a ski with many of the same characteristics and many even look like fat skis.
This type of board is sometimes called all-terrain or all-mountain. They are designed for use in all snow conditions and most can even be ridden in the half-pipe very successfully. Maybe half of all boards sold in the U.S. are of this type.
These are boards designed for use in the half-pipe and for jibbing, bonking, and general freestyle moves. They tend to be more flexible with wider foot stances more centered on the board. The board probably has more nose and tail area and less effective edge than a board from the other categories. Boards in this category generally do not have good all-around utility because of their inability to hold an edge on hard snow and steep slopes. The board is generally more difficult to control due to the stance configuration.
Three types of bindings are used in snowboarding: the high-back, plate, and the soft-boot step-in. The high-back is characterized by a vertical plastic back piece which is used to apply pressure to the heel-side of the board and with two straps which go over the foot. One strap holds the heel down and the other the toe. Some high-backs also have a third strap on the vertical back piece called a shin strap which gives additional support and aids in toe side turns.
The plate or hard-boot binding is used with a hard shell boot much like a ski binding except it is non-releasable.
The third type of binding is the soft-boot step-in. It is kind of a combination of the first two types listed. A soft-looking boot, which has significantly added support and a retention mechanism built into it. This retention mechanism engages with some type of latching device attached to the board.
Boots are categorized into 3 groups: soft, hard and soft step-in.  Soft boots evolved from Sorel and Sno-pac type boots and generally are a lace up and buckle combination.  The more flexible a boot the easier it is to perform contorted free-style maneuvers but ankle support and edge hold are compromised. The shells are made of rubber, leather and/or plastic and the liners are similar to ski boot liners and are often integrated with the shell, i.e. not removable.
Hard boots are like, but designed distinctly from, ski boots. They are used predominantly with race and alpine type boards and afford support and edge hold at the expense of flexibility. Ski boots don't work well as snowboard boots because boarding puts drastically different pressures on the feet and hence the boots than skiing; lateral flex is desirable in snowboarding but to be avoided at all costs with skiing.
Soft boot step-ins are designed specifically for one brand of binding.  A Burton boot will not work with a K2-Clicker binding and vice-versa.  These boots are stiffer since part of the binding is essentially built into the boot.  Fit is much more critical with these boots than standard soft boots since there are no straps to tighten over the boot.
There is a lot of clothing designed just for snowboarding. It tends to be reinforced in the knees, butt, shoulders, elbows, palms and fingers. Some clothing is even padded in the stress areas with foam or plastic. Considerations here should include these facts: a beginner spends a lot of time on his/her knees and butt, snowboarding will wear out a cheap pair of gloves in a few days due to the abuse, because of the bending down/sitting/falling, the clothes should not be binding, and the pants should be waterproof.
Ski and snowboard helmets have become popular in the late ninties.  You should consider using one.


8.06) What is the right stance for me (regular or goofy, stance width and angles)?

First off ask yourself how you stand if you surf, skateboard, or engage in some other sideways sport. You'll probably want to use the same stance as in the sport you've already done.

(Following written by Crispin Cowan (crispin@cse.ogi.edu) It answers the question: Am I regular or goofy footed?)

It's my observation that correlations between which way one snowboards and other handedness tendencies are weak at best. This is why there are so many "tests" for which way one should ride, and they all inevitably fail for some people.

I prefer the "linoleum" test: in stocking feet, run towards your kitchen and skid across the linoleum floor. Observe which foot goes forward. Put that foot forward on your snowboard. This test can also be administered hillside by directing the student to the nearest icy sidewalk.

Unlike other tests (shoving, jumping, kicking, baseball batting, cartwheels, etc.) this one *directly* tests you for your preferred stance in a balance sport (balance sport: something where you stand sideways on a deck, e.g. snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing, etc.).

Editor: Footedness is inevitably a trial and error decision when you start snowboarding. Unless you are sure what the correct stance is, try it both ways, it will be easy to decide after that. Even if a "test" suggests one way you may end up being more comfortable the other. There are 5 or 6 tests which could be listed here but some would show you should be regular and some would show you should be goofy.

(Following compliments of Pete James It addresses stance angles and widths.)

First off, there are about 20 schools of thought and one needs to figure out which is for them, try something close, then dial it in. A newer board with the Burton 3 hole or F2 4x4 hole patterns or some types of adjustable plates make it real easy to adjust stances; these allow for maximum and easy stance changes.

From Transworld Snowboarding here are the average stances of pro riders from different snowboarding disciplines:

                 stance front  rear   center      board     notes
                 width  angle  angle              length

     Half-pipe:  20.7"   17     2      0.5" back 152.5 cm - some      
                 boarders use negative rear angles (duck-stance)

     Freeride :  21.1"   22     7      1.7" back 170 cm

     Slalom   :  17"     49.2   47.2   0.4" back 156.8 cm

     GS       :  17"     49.6   47.6   0.44"back 164.9 cm

     Super G  :  17.16"  49.4   47.4   0.45"back 170.5 cm

     SlopeStyle: 21.3"   12     0      1"   back 152.9 cm - 0 rear on 
                 all riders (also known as freestyle)  
     * Angles are measured from 0 degrees being straight across.

     * Center is the distance back from the center of the board to 
       the center of the stance.


8.07) As a snowboarder newbie, can you give me a set of general guidelines to narrow my purchasing decisions on boots, bindings, and a board?

Why, yes. And here it is.

Board length:

Some rental shops use the rule of thumb that a board should touch between the beginner's chin and nose. Every board feels different when you ride it. You might like a 155 of one model and a 165 of another. Like everything else, there are no hard and fast rules. Rent to begin with and try to demo your equipment before you buy.

Board width:

Board width, usually measured as waist width, plays an important role in how the board works for a particular rider. Ideally the boot toe and heel are even with the board's edges. A little toe overhang is OK but too much and the toe (or heel) will dig into the snow when turning, greatly affecting control. If the toe and heel are too far in from the edge then getting the board onto it's edge becomes much more difficult, requiring excessive force from the rider.

There are 2 factors which will dictate what board width is optimal for you: stance angles and the sole length of your snowboard boots. If you ride with your feet straight across (0 degrees) then the board width at the binding locations should be close to the boot's sole length. If you ride with your feet at 60 degrees then the board should be significantly more narrow.

(The following was provided by Crispin Cowen, crispin@cse.ogi.edu)

The stock newbie advice: suitable for most new riders who don't yet know whether they want to specialize in some particular area, and who don't have knowledgeable friends at hand to help them.

Brands: since you (presumably) don't know anything about the manufacturers, stick to the large, reputable ones: Burton, Sims, Nitro, Morrow... They've been making quality product for ever, so you won't get screwed.

Style: Buy a freeriding board (e.g. Burton A-Deck), soft boots, and soft bindings.

Setup: set your stance to 20" wide, 1" back from center, 30 degrees on the front, 15 degrees on the back. Learn to ride, then play with the stance to see what works for you.

New or Used: You can save a bundle with a used board. Buy one that isn't too old (it has inserts in it instead of drilled bindings), isn't too beat up (the base and edges look ok), and hasn't been pounded to death (it still has camber).

Learning to ride: take a lesson. Really. I don't care how good your friend is, or what kind of wicked shit they can pull. They're not trained in giving lessons. Save yourself some bruises, invest $20, and have a MUCH better time on your first day.

Disclaimer: Yeah, it's a boring old-school setup. Guess why? It works. It's not optimal for jibbing, or racing, or whatever, but it works great for learning. If I didn't mention your fav' brand, this is not intended to be a complete list, just a simple and reliable list. If you buy a Burton, Sims, or Nitro, it may or may not be the absolute best board possible (give or take taste) but it will NOT suck, and it will hold it's resale value so you can sell it and buy something specialized later.



8.08) What is all this weird talk I hear from boarders?

This topic can be separated out into 2 categories: first, common sport specific terminology which can be used at school or the office without embarrassment and second the slang which is that part of the language used by boarders to form a group identity. Listed here are terms mainly from the first category:

ABS: Acrylonitrite Butadiene Styrene (Plastic used as snowboard topsheet)

Aerial maneuvers: method, stale fish, japan, ollie, revert, sidekick, heel/toe-edge grab, mute, crail, nose/tail grab, nuclear, rocket, 180-to-fakie, roast beef, slob air, canadian bacon, alley oop, two/one handed invert, j-tear,...

All-around, All-mountain, All-terrain, Free-riding, Free- style, Alpine, Race, Half-pipe - Types of equipment and riding styles, see the board equipment section for details.

Base: The P-tex bottom of the board.

Baseless Binding: A type of high-back binding which has no base. The rider's boots contact the board directly on the top sheet. The bindings are secured via holes on the outside of the binding, not under the feet. Some advantages might be lighter weight, more natural board flex, and less distance between the rider's feet and the board. Predominately used by freestyle riders.

Bevel Plate/Wedge: A shim placed under the binding to raise the heel relative to the toe.

Bladder and shell: most ski and snowboard boots are made of a supportive exterior shell and a removable interior bladder. The shell is closed with buckles or laces. The bladder may or may not have laces but normally has a tongue

Bonk: To tap something as the boarder flies over it. Ski resorts don't like boarders to bonk trash cans, picnic tables, or skiers.

Butt plant: corollary to face plant.

Camber: The built in curvature of a board, which can be seen as a space between the board and a table when the board is laid flat on a table; can be curved up like skis or down (rockered).

Cant Plate/Wedge: A shim placed under the binding to angle the foot towards the rider

Carve: Turning using weight shifting and without skidding

Core: The material the inside of the board is made of.

CSF: Canadian Snowboard Federation

Duck-Stance: A duck-footed stance where the feet are splayed outward, used for free-styling.

Effective edge/Contact edge: The length of edge which contacts the snow, or applies pressure, during a turn.

Face plant: Falling on one's face.

Fakie: Riding backwards, this term can not be applied to a totally symmetrical board with a centered stance where the feet are perpendicular to the edges, normally the feet are angled towards the nose of the board.

Fall line: The most direct line down a slope, the line a ball would follow if rolled down the hill.

Goofy/regular footed: Right foot towards the nose is goofy, left is regular. About half of all boarders ride goofy. Same terminology applies to skateboarding and surfing.

Grab: Any aerial maneuver where the board is grabbed by either or both hands.

Half-pipe: A trough cut into or built up with snow, term originates from skateboarding.

Heel edge: Opposite edge of the toe edge.

High-back binding: Generally used with soft or soft step-in boots, see equipment section.

Inserts: Two methods exist to secure bindings to a board. An insert is a nut built into the board and a machine screw is then used to secure the binding. A big advantage of this method is the ease of moving the bindings, you don't have to have a shop do it and the odds of a screw-up are low.

Jib: To ride on something other than snow, like logs, cars, hand rails, skiers, etc.

Leash: A safety strap for the case where the buckles of the binding accidentally release, required at most ski areas.  Also used to keep the board secured to the leg while hiking with the board or while putting it on or taking it off.

Newbie: A novice, someone new to a thing.

New-school: Newer more recent riding techniques, equipment, and equipment set-ups. These include very wide centered stances, short boards, and baggy clothes. New-school is generally only freestyle type riding since the equipment and stances preclude other types of riding.

Nose or tip: That end of the board that the feet are angled towards.

Old-school: The techniques and equipment set-ups originated in the 80's.

P-tex: Brand name of polyethylene used for the snowboard base material.

Plate binding: Used with hard shell boots, see equipment section.

PSIA: Professional Ski Instructors of America.

Rail: Side edge of a snowboard.

Retention Plate: The other method of securing bindings is like ski bindings, a sheet metal screw is used after tapping a hole into the board. It is referred to as plate retention because a metal plate is built into the board where the board will be tapped. Not used in boards made after about 1996.

Side-cut: The curvature of the edge towards the center of the board described by the radius of the arc of that curve.

Shin-strap: Optional binding strap on the high-back portion of a high-back binding, aids in applying edge pressure in toe-side turns.

Shred: Rip, jam, do way good snowboarding.

Shredder: One who shreds.

Sideslip: To slide or skid down a hill with the board perpendicular to the fall line.

Skate: To propel yourself by pushing with the rear foot which is out of the binding while the front foot is still attached.

Slope style: Freestyle, generally refers to tricks not done in the park and pipe.

Soft binding: Same as a high-back binding.

Stance: Refers to the position of the feet on the board.

Stomp or Skid pad: A pad attached to the board between the bindings where the rear foot can be set when its not in the binding.

Switch stance: A boarding stance in which the nose and tail are indistinguishable, there is no fakie, no forwards or backwards.

Symmetrical/asymmetrical: Refers to board design, see equipment section.

Tail: Back of the board.

Toe edge: That edge of the board the rider faces.

Top Sheet: The top layer of a laminated board, normally contains the graphics, the top layer of the board which can be touched.

Tweak: To become as distorted as possible.

Twintip: A board which is symetrical front to back, can be ridden in either direction. See Switch stance.

Wall: Vertical section of a half-pipe.

3D: Burton's 3 hole pattern of binding mounting. Each binding is secured by 3 screws. There are four different positions or settings of 3 holes for each binding. This allows easy stance adjustment. The 3D hole binding also is mounted on a disk that rotates for angle adjustment. 3D is only used by Burton, but an adapter is available to allow for 3D bindings to be used on the 4x4 hole pattern.

4x4: F2 originated 4 hole pattern of binding mounting. Each binding is secured by 4 screws. This allows easy stance adjustment. The 4x4 binding also is mounted on a disk that rotates for angle adjustment. A majority of non-Burton boards and bindings use the 4x4 pattern. Some 4X4 bindings can be mounted on the Burton 3D pattern without modification.


8.09) ***Where is snowboarding not allowed?

For a long time this was quite a list. Through the years the number of ski areas which prohibited snowboarding has diminished steadily. This was imminent given the continued strong growth of the sport. Ironically, there may actually be more inbound terrain open to boarders this year than is open to skiers given the number of snowboard parks and pipes which are closed to skiers.

For any number of reasons a minority of resorts do not allow boarders and some probably never will. The number, now at 7 with full prohibition, has been shrinking steadily. Following is a full U.S. list of areas with full prohibitions for the 00-2001 season:


8.10) How do I learn to snowboard?

First of all read this FAQ so you'll know what to ask when you rent equipment, then go take a lesson from a PSIA certified instructor.

A good point to keep in mind here is that it doesn't have to be painful. Taken slow and with the right guidance boarding can be quicker to learn than skiing. PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) and CSF (Canadian Snowboard Federation) now certifies snowboard instructors and most resorts which allow boarding will have instructors on staff. Most boarders who have also skied agree that boarding is initially more difficult than skiing but after learning the basics the intermediate and advanced levels are achieved more quickly. Edging and balancing skills are more important from the outset because your feet are secured, you can't step from foot to foot, and you don't have the use of poles as skiers do.

Snowboarders fall differently than skiers do. Where skiers tend to fall to the right or left snowboarders fall forward or backwards onto their face or butt. It is best in a forward fall to fall to the knee and forearm (do not stiff arm on the palms) and then lift the board in the air until you stop. In a backwards fall it is best to go to the butt and roll onto the back, keeping the chin in your chest, lift board until you stop. Learn to ride with fingers in a fist, to avoid finger smashing. And why not have releasable bindings? Most boarders would disagree with the use of a releasable binding, the board is relatively short, most ride a 140-160 cm length board, and the idea of going down a hill with one foot released and one not is a very scary thought.

Most ski areas require snowboards to have metal edges, leashes, and secure bindings. The newer boards are far easier to use than anything made prior to about 1990. Boards today are lighter, easy to turn and comfortable to ride. If the board your friend is letting you use to learn on has a split tail, center fin, solid high-back bindings, bindings with nylon straps, or a stance very off center towards the rear of the board find a new friend, or rent. Use a boot designed for boarding. How would you like to learn to downhill ski in hiking boots? The right boots give your ankles much needed support and alleviate pressure points from the straps or buckles.

A beginner should learn on an all-around or alpine board with high-back bindings and a firmer soft or step-in boot. Hard boots and plate bindings are not recommended because of the increased difficulties of balancing, turning, skating and using lifts.

There now are a few books out there on snowboarding which include how to sections written by professionals. A newer one, I found very good, is entitled The Complete Snowboarder by Jeff Bennett and Scott Downey. Read about it if you want to, but then go get a lesson!

The following is compliments of Pete James and addresses why a student begins to learn to snowboard with only 1 foot attached to the board:

The reason to start with the rear foot out is twofold:

1) It is not natural to have both feet locked down. We are bi-peds with independent leg action to move. When trying anything new it is best to take baby steps to learn. Putting only the front foot in, lets a person try stuff while still using their rear foot in an independent way as sort of a training wheel. Ya do this on only slightly sloping almost flat terrain, so that the person gets the feel of the board, builds their confidence up, and so that their muscles start to memorize how to turn a snowboard. Baby steps.

2) The 2nd is way more practical. We have to cruise around a lot with only one foot it. Traverses, lifts, etc. It is just good and necessary to learn how to move around with only one foot in.

Think of it as skateboarding on snow just to get the feel of the board and lock down the proper stance (weight on front foot).

I see people each week on our bunny slope, bag on lessons, go to the top, strap both feet in, go for it. 9 times out of ten they go too fast, sit way back, wipe out, can't turn. A bunch give up. Give up on a very fun sport, even before they have given it an honest try. The best way to learn is in a lesson. The best ingredients of a lesson are:

0) Stance: Natural athletic stance. Feet about shoulder width apart, angles of about 15 in front and 0 in back usually work well. Knees bent, kind of posed like your gonna box somebody. If you jump up an come down in a boxer ready stance you will usually land in the proper stance naturally.

1) Front foot in: walk around. Skate and slide like a skateboard. Weight on front foot.

2) Front foot in: Straight run. Climb up on almost flat terrain. Push off. Glide straight down to a stop. Weight on front foot.

3) Front foot in: Direction change. While doing straight run, with weight on front foot, look and point with front hand in the direction you want to turn. heel then toe, then combo. If you have trouble, make a motion like you're opening and walking through a left handed, then right handed door.

4) Lift: Watch people get on. Talk about getting off. Just do a straight run or slight direction changes as before as you get off. Lean forward. Do not put rear foot on snow, put it on the stomp pad if you have one or right in front of rear binding.

5) Strap in. Side slip. straight down on heel edge or toe edge. Need a moderate incline. Balance weight over edge. Smooth changes. Slide evenly - like spreading peanut butter on bread. Stay on uphill edge.

6) Garland: Move across the hill. Stay on uphill edge. Look up hill to slow down, look down hill to speed up. Do not make a full turn (edge change). Go across the hill, sit down, flip over, do on other edge. ***This is the best way to learn - teaches turning without massive speed build up in that no-mans land between turns*****

7) Link turn: Do garland, but on very mellow terrain, bring board around to other edge, and proceed on the new garland. Flat board during transition. Patience.


Front foot: The foot that is always secured to the board. Left for regular (righty) rider. Right foot for goofy (lefty) rider.

Back foot: The foot that you remove from the board when walking around or getting on or off the lift.

Toe side: The edge and direction on the side of the board where your toes are. Right for regular rider Left for goofy rider. A Toe side turn then is one where you are kind of up on your toes, heel in the air at the end of the turn.

Heel side: The edge and direction on the side of the board where your heels are on. Left for regular riders. Right for goofy riders. A heel side turn then is on where your toes are in the air and you are balancing more on your heel at the end of the turn.

Common Problems:

1) Sitting back. Get your weight forward. Sticking your front hand out (left arm for regular, right arm for goofy) helps keep your weight forward. Do not stick your butt back to counter balance your arm being forward. Bend your knees and get you entire weight forward. If you start out slow on the flats and get confident on the board you will trust it and lean forward. If you are up on the hill and are leaning back, it typically means you are scared and went too fast. Go back to the start. The skateboarding moves at the beginning with one foot in should really lock in the mind and in the muscles that the board will only move correctly with the weight on the front foot.

2) Looking down: I always ask my students what color or pattern is on their board. 'Good' I say, now that you know you do not have to keep looking at it. Look where you are going, forward or to the left or right. You body will follow. When you look down, you tend to also lean back.

3) Locked front knee: Front leg straight. Need to bend it. Makes your weight back. If you have to, crouch down and stick your arm out, or grab your cafe with your front hand to stop this bad habit. This is a bad habit for a lot of snowboarders. Do not get into it at the start. If you go into a turn with a locked front leg, you could be a body builder and still not be able to bend your knee. The key is to go in with your leg bent and then go down from their. In snow boarding you never want locked knees.

4) Lift falls: Don't put back foot on snow instead of board upon exiting lift. Don't sit back.


8.11) Is it true that a snowboarder is less likely to get injured than a skier?

(Following, compliments of Laura Beth Kupperman)

No. It's fairly even, skiers and boarders have about the same number of injuries but those injuries are different. You are much less likely to sustain knee injuries while snowboarding than skiing. There has been a recent study on snowboarding injuries. The study was done in Australia and appears in "The American Journal of Sports Medicine" vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 701-704. In this article comparisons between skiing and boarding injuries are documented for a 4 year period. The distilled info goes something like this: skiers are much more likely to injure their knees, and when they do injure their knees the injury is usually worse (grade II or III, if that means anything to you) than a boarder's knee injury (usually only grade I or II, with only one grade III reported during the course of the study). Boarders are more likely to injure their ankles, feet, wrists, and hands. There is also info in the article about soft boot injuries vs. hard boot injuries. The study aside, though, you can pretty much understand just from looking at a board why there are fewer knee injuries. When you fall you pretty much either go straight back on your bum, or straight forward on both knees (or hands if you stick them out (hence the increased # of wrist injuries). It is really hard to torque your knee when your feet remain locked in place.


(Following, compliments of Surfdog789)

After seeing Dave Schutz bibliography, I checked out Medline for more articles. The abstract (summary) that follows is interesting [from Am J Sports Med (US), Sep-Oct 1993, 21 (5) p701-4]:

"Information on the rate and spectrum of snowboarding injuries is limited. This 4-year prospective study at 3 major Australian ski resorts assesses incidence and patterns of snowboarding injuries, particularly in relation to skill level and footwear. Ski injury data were collected for the same period. In a predominantly male study population (men:women,3:1) 276 snowboarding injuries were reported; 58% occurred in novices. 57% of injuries were in the lower limbs, 30% in the upper limbs. The most common injuries were sprains (53%), fractures (24%), and contusions (12%). Comparing skiers' versus snowboarders' injuries, snowboarders had more fractures to the upper limbs, fewer knee injuries, and more ankle injuries. Ankle injuries were more common with soft boots..... Knee injuries and distal tibial injuries were more common with hard boots... Overall, novices had more upper limb fractures and knee injuries; intermediate and advanced riders had more ankle injuries. Falls were the principal mode of injury. To prevent injury, beginners should use soft boots and take lessons."

All I can say is - never mind the danger, just think of the fun!

- Bob (surfdog789@aol.com)


8.12) I always see snowboarders laying around on the snow, why are they such wimps that they can't even stand up?

(Following compliments of Pete James and besides just covering sitting also contains thoughts on boarder attitude.)

"Snowboarding takes a lot more out of ya than skiing. On skis you can widen your stance and coast on flats, and take it easy. In snowboarding, there is no taking it easy. You always have to be in a carve, toe or heel edge. If you flat board it, that is when you are likely to catch an edge and do a real hard body slam fall. These hurt. On traverses, often boarders have to ride on one edge for a long time. It is like trying to stand on your tip toes for a continuous period of time. It is quite fatiguing, even if ya flip and ride fakie to relieve it. At any rate, this exhausts riders, and makes them need to rest more than skiers. That is why we sit down alot. Also freestylers like to sit and plan there next trick, or air, or what ever. All skiers and snowboarders should always rest on the side of the trail, not under a lift, and so as to be seen from above. A lot of boarders, never have taken a lesson and been told this safety info. A lot of them are younger and just are not tuned in or aware.


PSIA ski and snowboard instructor

Joel Tornatore adds:

It's very difficult to stand still on a snowboard. If you want to be stationary on a slope, you would have to balance, much like a bicyclist balancing when stopped at a stoplight. Because the bindings don't easily release, about the only way to stay still is to sit.

Editor: On a personal note, I attended a snowboard camp where one of the instructors (Chris Karol) who had been a pro for 10 or so years never sat down. In the 2 days I was there I never saw him fall or touch the snow with any part of his body except his hand. If he had to stand in one place for more than a couple minutes he'd unbuckle his rear foot (he was wearing hardshells). When he came to a stop he'd sort of dig his edge in and balance there, regardless of how steep the slope was. The snow was pretty soft so that helped. The point is, using strength and balance, it is possible not to have to sit down.

- Mark


8.13) Why is there friction between skiers and boarders?

Most of us have heard it before: Rather than attempt to prove some point one way or the other, listed below are several facts and conclusions, it is a debate that will not be solved here.

- The outward trappings of the snowboard culture are alien to most skiers, much like the tie-dyed clothes and long hair of the 60's.

- Snowboarding is here to stay: it's an Olympic event, PSIA certifies snowboard instructors, 98+% of U.S. resorts allow it, more than half of American resorts cater to boarders with half-pipes, its growth rate is over 10%, between 1/4th and 1/3rd of lift tickets are sold to snowboarders, and the list goes on and on.

- With such a huge growth rate there are a lot of beginning boarders out there.

- Most boarders love their sport dearly and have money to spend. On average a boarder is on the slopes 3 times(!) as often per year as the average skier.

- The sport is about 15 years old since steel edges came into use, this hasn't given the boarder population time, relative to the skier population, to attain advanced skill levels.

- The average age of the boarder population is increasing from 18, 4 years ago, to the early twenties now.

- Some people (especially young adolescent males) will occasionally get in over their heads and be on slopes they have no business being on.

- Beginning snowboarders scrape off powder and so do beginning skiers. The issue is beginners and skill level. They both fall down on their butts a lot, and you see them sitting there either on the side or the middle of the run taking up real estate.

- Some snowboarders have an "attitude" problem. Actually, we (the net) have concluded that, it's not specifically boarders, it's an artifact of hormone charged, adolescent males. So indict them. Deal with them. The consensus is that some people were buttheads well before they chose which way they would go down the mountain.

- Snowboard discrimination is like blaming a car for driving out of control instead of the driver. Lets face it there are weird people out there on every vertical descent device. It is the person, not the sport they are engaged in. Snowboarding is growing big time. It is in the spot light. For every outlaw snowboarder, who cuts you off, and is in the lime light, there are a bunch who are civil and law abiding.

- Can't we all just get along? [--Rodney King]
Maybe not. What then?


8.14) I got a C+ in wood shop and I want to build my own board, how do I do it?

(Following compliments of Drew Eckhardt, drew@Colorado.EDU)

On wrapping material: You have the choice of fiberglass cloth in various weights, cloth pre-impregnated with resin before you laminate, and mixtures of fiberglass and carbon fiber or kevlar which will get you the stiffness of more fiberglass without the weight.

On edges: Carbon steel. Go for a solid edge all the way around instead of the cracked, segmented edges companies sometimes use - it's too easy to blow out the segmented edges although they purportedly provide for a more even flex.

On the core: Most boards use either a vertically laminated wood core, or foam core. You'll want to use the vertical wood, since it won't break down over time and has a better feeling flex. To hold the bindings on, some companies laminate steel inserts between the wood strips, others go for an aluminum or titanium plate laminated in the binding area. The former affects overall flex less.

Of course, all of this is a gross oversimplification. Flex, camber, and sidecut shape all interact with how a board handles, and no one gets it right the first time - expect to make several molds, and ride them, and go back to the drawing board.

There are also little things which have a significant effect on how the board rides - i.e., vibration damping materials like rubber in the nose and tail, and sometimes between the sidewall and edge.

Sidewall geometry will affect edge hold, flex, and durability.

In other words, if you are looking for a board to ride, you're far better off buying one. You could work for about 10 cents an hour and earn enough to buy a board before you could build one even half as good.


8.15) Can I become a snowboard patroller?

(Following compliments of Dave Schutz, NSP Eastern Snowboard Advisor, d-schutz@pipeline.com)

Yes; at some mountains. Both the National Ski Patrol (NSP) and the Canadian Ski Patrol System (CSPS) have approved the use of snowboards for all manner of patrol activities, most notably the operation of evacuation toboggans.

Basically each mountain decides to what extent snowboard patrollers will be used and the specific functions they will be allowed to perform. This form of "local ski area discretion" applies to all manner of patrol activities, not just snowboarding.

The overall objectives of both NSP and CSPS remain that; "A Patroller Be Able to Safely and Efficiently Complete Their Tasks" using either skis or a snowboard. Neither NSP nor CSPS see any need for the development of a special snowboard patrolling curriculum; "...as existing training and testing methods can easily be used for snowboarders." While this initially shocks most Alpine ski oriented patrol officials, extensive practical evaluation clearly shows that it is true.

There was no formal census among NSP's 27,000 patrollers regarding the number using snowboards last year(94/95), we suspect that there were several hundred who did so at least part-time. Now that formal recognition was granted in June(95) by both NSP and CSPS, the number is expected to rise significantly.

It is reasonable to expect that at least 75% of the ski areas will have some patrollers on snowboards this season. Some of these patrollers may NEVER have used Alpine skis!

There are many patrols who are anxious to attract snowboarders. People interested in Snowboard Patrolling should contact their local mountain's Patrol Director as soon as possible to determine whether they might be able to become a trainee (candidate). While the vast majority of patrollers are unpaid volunteers, there sometimes are a few paid positions available for newcomers, particularly at smaller mountains.

For additional information please feel free to contact me;


8.16) Why do ski areas make snowboarders wear a leash?

(Following compliments of Dave Schutz, NSP Eastern Snowboard Advisor, d-schutz@pipeline.com)

Safety leashes are straps which are fastened between your front leg and the front binding or the deck of a snowboard. They are intended to prevent the catastrophic consequences that could result from a runaway snowboard. (A six pound snowboard hurtling down a slope at 30 miles per hour can be very dangerous)

However, because snowboard bindings don't have a safety-release capability like those on Alpine skis, their use is often considered an arbitrary holdover from skiing. Yet in reality that isn't the case.

A safety leash is intended to prevent a "runaway" during the short but critical time period when the snowboarder is buckling or unbuckling their bindings. This is a time when both the board and its user can be in an awkward and unstable position. One slip at this moment and the board can head down the slope alone, wreaking havoc in its path, and potentially destroying your $500 board.

The correct technique for buckling into a snowboard has the safety leash being fastened BEFORE any attempt is made to step into, let alone buckle the binding. Likewise the leash should be the LAST item unfastened after both feet are removed from the their bindings. This minimizes the chances of a runaway.

A snowboard leash is designed to be fastened around, or just below, the knee, NOT around the ankle as was once done with skis. This is so that you can remove your feet from the bindings and walk 25 to 100 yards back up a half-pipe or a snowboard park. With the leash fastened around the knee there is sufficient length to permit easy walking. Should you slip on an icy surface while walking, the leash will keep the board with you.

Dave Schutz

NSP Eastern Snowboard Advisor

Editor's note: Having been boarding since the early days I've seen a significant evolution in binding design. Early bindings were not 100 percent reliable, sometimes releasing or breaking. In these cases the leash was important to have. Note that even telemark skis have safety leashes and this gear is generally not releasable. Of course one thing this all leads to is an attempt by the ski resorts to limit their liability by making you responsible for your board. Personal responsibility, now there's a novel concept.


8.17) What is "Old School" and "New School"?

Well, those are terms which sort of defy definition. Some argue it's a riding style, others that it's an attitude, still others that it's nothing at all. Here are a couple of selected posts which express the opinions of their respective authors:

(The following from: jchu@mail.trincoll.edu (jason chu))

Guys from Old School probably started boarding around the mid to late 80's when the Burton Safari and the 1st generation Sims ATV came out. At this point in boarding, we were running our back foots kinda straight across with Sorels. The "trend" at this stage was to evolve boarding to a more ski/high tech thing. Stances were going tighter and more angled, hard boots were getting more consideration (I'm sure old Damian helped out here..), and asym's were starting to flood the market. This is not to say "freestyle" and pipe riding was declining. However, sometime later (92?), there was a backlash towards more trick oriented boarding with heavy emphasis on bilateral abilities. In order to be fully symmetrical with a lot of fakie oriented moves, the board really requires a rider to have his feet straight across, wide for stability, and the board to be fully symmetrical (did barf make the first real "twin-tip" board?) Thus boarding reverses its trend and this is where I believe "New School" arrived. I remember the days when guys would laugh at you if you rode a perpendicular stance. Anyway that's how I view it.

(the following from: mbock@cdinet.com, Mark)

I was always under the impression that the difference lies mainly in tricks and overall style. Old school tends to be big on huge air, grabs, a nice carvey riding style, bigger boards, freeriding, etc., while new school tends towards shorter twintip boards, flatland tricks, spins, a really wide stance, lots of time spent in the park as opposed to freeriding the slopes, etc. (A lot of this difference is reflected in skateboarding, I'm told by a friend who's been skating since the mid-80s.)

>...is it as trivial as the old bunch of stylin' snowboarders turning 20, and thus ceasing to be relevant? :-)

Well, yeah, that too, probably... :)

(the following from: daveer@aol.com, Dave F.)

... When I started riding there were no freestyle bindings. I've stayed pretty up to date with the technology though, and ride a fully symmetrical Barfoot (a recent one, not the one from the 80's) with pretty much 0/0 stance angles. But I still consider myself "Old School" when I have to make the comparison (and I don't like to), because I consider the difference to be mostly an attitude thing. Perhaps this may be inaccurate, but I've always associated "New School" with the whole lame, commercial, gangster imitating, skier dissing, baggy pant wearing crowd of (worm)heads who have of late started giving the sport a bad name and sparked quite a few closures to snowboarders around the country.

Just my $.02 worth. Take it or leave it.


8.18) What is an extruded base, what is a sintered base and how do you repair them?

(Following compliments of Missy Allemang, mma@aol.com)

When it comes to repairing gouges and "dings" in bases the correct process depends on how the base was originally made; there are two different methods of manufacturing the polyethylene used for bases.

Extruded bases are made by melting pellets and forcing the material through a nozzle of the required size to form sheets of the desired thickness. The resulting base material is very easy to repair, but equally easy to damage. Very few boards are made with extruded bases. Maybe some of the cheap KMart type boards, etc.

Sintered bases are made by slowly heating powdered polyethylene under great pressure. The result is a block (sort of like a big wheel of cheese) that is then skived (cut) to form the base material. This method costs about three times as much as producing extruded bases. Sintered bases are much higher in molecular weight; with increasing molecular weight, abrasion resistance and wax absorption is increased. While its great to have a base that won't get gouged as much, it is _a lot_ harder to fix.

Repair candles contain a whole bunch of stuff other than polyethylene, like wax and things to make it able to burn at a low temperature. It won't stick to sintered bases. Snow, especially granular snow, can be very abrasive (how 'bout that last bloody face plant you/I did!). You can scrape out a drip repair with your fingernail.

Depending on the size, depth and location of the damage there are three repair methods, using pure polyethylene, that can restore the base to as good as new (or almost): using an extruder, a plastic welder or putting in a base patch. For each of these methods to work right it is important to heat the surrounding (good, clean) base material also so it will bond securely to the repair material. It is also more difficult (than with drip candles) to remove the extra material that is left above the surface of the base.

Unfortunately, the tools to do the job are expensive and not practical for most people to own. If it is more than some small scratches, it is worth having a good shop do the work.


8.19) How do I tune my snowboard and can I use my mom's iron to apply the wax?

Asking how to tune a snowboard is a little like asking how to tune a car. Performing a complete board tune correctly requires at least a couple hundred dollars worth of equipment and a certain measure of skill. Applying and scraping off wax is only about 20 percent of what is required for a full tune. Entire books are devoted to this subject and no attempt will be made here to describe the full process. There is a great little catalog from Tognar Toolworks which has nothing but ski and snowboard tuning tools, supplies and tuning instructions in it. This company use to be called The Third Hand and you can get a free copy of this 90 page gem by calling them at 916-926-2600 or go to their web site.

As for how often a board should be tuned the general rule for skis and snowboards is after every 5 full days of use. The edges should be touched up with a gummie stone after each day of use especially if there are nicks.

Here, at least, is a list of what I consider a minimum set of tools required to do a FULL tune-up:

Edge maintenance may be the most important part of maintaining your board. So to that, presented here, is a contribution from Allen Dick (dicka@cuug.ab.ca) predominantly on filing edges:

Before and after you use the file or edge tool, and between uses, take a small ($3.00 at the hardware store) stone and remove the microscopic and not so microscopic steel nicks and burrs from the edge by holding the stone flat on the bottom and rubbing up and down along the length, then do the same along the side of the edge,

This will save your clothes and skin from cuts and make your file last much longer and work much better. The burrs are really hard (work hardened is the technical term).

After stoning and before filing, take a felt pen and blacken the edge. Then you can see if you are filing flat and know when you've taken off some metal.

Sharpen the entire length. Ride it. If you find it scary, detune the six inches or so at the shovel and tail by dulling with the file *a little*.

Varsol is cheap and removes wax, but not topsheets. Be sure to re-wax soon after removing the wax so things don't dry out.

Bring your board in from the cold at least an hour before waxing to prevent lifting the base and to promote wax absorption.

CHECK YOUR BINDINGS at each tune up. Screws loosen bit by bit - then rip out! Make sure they are snug.

Get a base grind once in a long while at a shop when they have a special. A good ruler held across the surface will give you an idea whether the edges are getting high or low.

Flat is best for most of us, but some bevel the edges a bit for less 'grab' and some like a convex base for less 'catch'. I never ride entirely flat - I'm always on an edge, so I personally like a flat board.



8.20) Has the Holy Asymmetric Empire fallen?

Jack Michaud (gmichaud@hopper.unh.edu) writes:


When people first started snowboarding, people stood with their back foot straight across the board and stood sideways like a surfer, and it was good. The weight transition from edge to edge happened in a direction straight across the board, hence the boards were symmetric (duh) and they were good.

Then, people like Peter Bauer and Jean Nerva and Jose Fernandes started getting smart and angling both their feet like only the front one had been before. The weight transition went from heel to toe and vice versa, along the angle of the bindings and diagonally across the board. That's when the concept of asymmetry was born, and it was good. This worked to compensate for what we now know is a not-so-good technique, that is, hanging your butt out a.k.a. "sitting on the toilet". This was the last tie that snowboard racers had with their aquatic surfing ancestors.

Then people like Shannon Melhuse and Jerry Masterpool and many others began to figure it out that they could hold a better edge by keeping more of their body mass closer to the board when carving. This meant, on a heel side carve, tucking your butt in over the board. To accomplish this, you must square your hips and shoulders to the direction of board travel. People then discovered that the most efficient way to carve is to keep the hips square and simply take the hips (center of gravity) straight across the board and drop them into the next carve. The weight transition happens in a line straight across the board between the bindings. This is when the concept of symmetry was reborn, and it is good!

Somehow, Peter Bauer and Jean Nerva have figured out a way to make efficient carves asymmetrically, but anybody who tries to imitate them only ends up sliding on icy conditions while looking like a fool swinging their arms all over the place. (I know, I used to do it until I saw the video... *gasp!*) But you will notice that Peter Bauer and Jean Nerva are only slalom racers. That's because their technique doesn't work in a GS race. Sure, they are the masters of the "Euro-carve", but that is no way to take yourself down a race course. You will also notice, that they don't waste their time riding sub-standard carving snow conditions!

Asym boards depend on you making the edge transfer from heel to toe and vice versa. This is what you do in slalom, because it's quicker due to more leverage. That is why Bauer only stands at about 45 degrees to the board. Anything more than that, and you loose the asym advantage. When you ride symmetrically, you use the sides of your boots more, and the edge transition happens more as a result of a rolling of the knees. Asyms are not any more turny than symmetricals. Efficient asymmetric riding can be achieved, but difference between it and efficient symmetric riding is the difference in lengths between a diagonal and a perpendicular line across your board. And the fact that on an asym, you have to move your body forward and back as well as side to side, at the same time. This can be tricky to coordinate. Therefore, symmetrical riding will always be more efficient and stable and, of course, good.

You can ride an asym with a symmetric style, but you'll have to compensate for the offset by coming back on the board when you turn heel side. So there you have it. Try out a symmetric and ride square to the board. I think you'll be blown away.

Also, the concept of deeper heelside sidecuts is no longer necessary on the new symmetrical boards. With the new symmetrical race style, one can get the board up just as high as you would want and crank the same radius turns as on toeside. If you ride asym, and you are still doing the deep knee bends on heelside (sitting on the toilet), then it is true that you can't get the board up as high. Your butt would hit the snow before you got the board up high enough. The symmetric racing style gets your butt out of the way, and you are in full control of your edge angle.


8.21) Why do the questions in the Snowboarding FAQ start with an 8?

Before rec.skiing was broken up into several other newsgroups this FAQ was part of that newsgroups FAQ. You can probably guess which section it was and still is to this day. All the sections of the rec.skiing FAQ are posted regularly to rec.skiing.announce. The whole skiing FAQ can be accessed on the web at:



8.22) *** What are the 5 very best web sites for Snowboard instruction and safety information?

The CERN Ski Club - Great teaching aids.

Dave's Snowboard Patrol Home Page

Snowboarding-online (Checkout the Board Genie!)

Tognar tool works - Tuning tools and instructions!

Boardpass - Has a website locator to get you to almost every snowboard web site out there.

Doesn't That Look Like Fun!


-- THE END -- The Snowboarding FAQ -- THE END --