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The Snowboard Szine Vol. 1, Issue 39

In This Issue

1. Spring Riding is Great!

2. US Open Starts Today

3. Mountain Creek Terrain Park

4. Loose Screws - Foot Angles

5. Deaths of Snowboarders

6. USASA - How Riders Learn those Tricks

1. Spring Riding is Great!

I can't believe it's almost mid- March. I am in severe "season denial" and still hoping to get another 12 days of riding in to reach my goal of 30 days. Where did the winter go? But spring riding, after the skiers hang up their gear, is still a great season. If you've been out riding this season, by now your stamina has improved and your equipment is comfortable.

The temps are warm. The slopes are un-crowded, and the snow is soft and forgiving, great for trying new tricks, taking little jumps, and working on your skills (which may have caused painful falls on winter's hard packed snow.) Bring a little orange oil solvent and a rag to clean spring's brown gook off the base of your board. And don't forget fresh wax and structure when your base looks white and dry. You'll need it to stay moving. Getting your edges tuned regularly gives a better ride too.

Want to learn more about tuning and structuring your base? You can download a PDF with a complete tuning manual, courtesy of KUUsport. They invented the electric waxing iron.

I have been working on riding switch. I catch an edge and take a hard fall almost every time. Ahh, it brings me back to the sweet and painful days of learning to snowboard the first time! And I still wear every bit of protective gear that I have from the start.
Read "You Don't Have to Hurt Yourself to Snowboard" at so you can too.

2. US Open Starts Today

The 24th Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships Finals take place this weekend at Stratton Mountain, VT. But there's something cool to watch this week at the Open each day from Tuesday on. Check out a link to the complete schedule, and my answer to a reader's question about how to "tackle" the Open here

3. Mountain Creek Terrain Park

I've been riding at Mountain Creek, NJ a few times lately. Want a high-energy guided written tour of their terrain park from top to bottom in a style that will make you smile?
"Metal and Ice" is a new article on my site, by Jersey park rider Justin Maury and it made me LOL! Read it here:

Also at Mountain Creek, "the snowboarder's mountain," there's a top notch crew of snowboard instructors, including my friend Lance Tompkins, one of the most stylish snow carvers I've ever observed. I've seen him get my friends snowboarding in their first lesson. He was a pro skater and is a die-hard Jersey surfer (winter too!) He brings his surf style to the snow.
I hope to check out his surf camp this summer.

4. Loose Screws - Foot Angles

Ever see that nice rubber-topped workbench on the mountain, with a screwdriver hanging from it? That's the place to check your binding screws to make sure they haven't loosened up. Which HAS happened to me and my mates. And it's a mighty pain when a binding screw disappears at the top of a run. It ruins that run, for sure!

That on-snow workbench is also a handy place to change your foot angles. Lance T. changes his set-up all the time and says it's good to try new stances to see what works for you and your riding. He suggested I switch to a back foot negative stance, and now I've worked up to +30 front and -15 back foot to help me ride switch.

If you rent your board each session, it's even easier to change your foot angles. Just tell the dudes behind the counter that you're looking for a change and have them do it for you.

5. Deaths of Snowboarders

It grieves me to report this but it needs to be talked about.
I keep a listing of snowboard deaths on my website, and the last 2 weeks have been terrible. TWO snowboarders have been killed on the slopes, both in the Northeast US, in the last 2 days alone. And 4 so far in March.

Two of the 10 deaths this season were of snowboard instructors. One skier's death was caused by a collision with a snowboard instructor.

Sunday's death at Whiteface, NY, was of a world class, Olympic snowboard athlete. 4 of this season's deaths were teenagers. Last season there were at least 25 snowboard-related deaths that we know of. Main causes are usually avalanches and hitting trees. Then there are a handful of strange deaths related to sleeping in the snow.

What can we learn from this? Just remember that although snowboarding is amazingly fun, it is also a sport where we are at risk of instant or slow death - our own, or others'. And serious injury.

Respect your safety and that of those around you.
Try to avoid times when the slopes are very crowded or be super careful then.
A helmet can help prevent injury in low impact accidents, but it does not by any means make you invincible.

There's an insightful article from March 12 in the San Francisco Chronicle, about Lake Tahoe Deaths and Injuries from Skiing and Snowboarding at

6. USASA - How Riders Learn those Tricks

Late this season, I started competing in the halfpipe event for USASA in the Catskill Mountain Series, at Hunter Mountain and Windham (even though I don't know any tricks!)
I am SO impressed with this organization. Did you ever wonder "how do riders learn those tricks?" I always just assumed they practiced at their local hill after school, or attended an academy. Not so. In fact, 13 of the 16 US Olympic snowboarders came up through the ranks of USASA (that's USA Snowboard Association.)

The competitions occur on weekends and are divided into age groups. The events besides Halfpipe are: Slopestyle, Boardercross, and Racing. They are run exactly like the pro comps, with a rider's meeting before the event discussing the conditions and giving some general coaching and scoring advice. Then you wait your turn at the top of the pipe just like the pros at the Grand Prix!
(Grand Prix pix of the pros waiting their turns here )

You take your runs - it's a "best of two" scoring system. And then later attend the award ceremony. I got to climb onto a REAL podium at Hunter Mountain to accept my gold medal (since I'm riding uncontested in my age category!) just like in the Olympics. I have to say that it was thrilling! And our regional group has a drawing for a lot of cool prizes after each event.

Props to Bob Basil, Catskill Series Director and his dedicated team of volunteers for the great job they do! And you better believe I'm stoked to learn a little trick or 2 in the pipe for next season!

USASA is the largest grassroots snowboard association in the world. There are 37 Regional Series that held over 500 snowboard and free skiing event competitions this season. The USASA National Championships will be held March 25-April 1 at Northstar-At- Tahoe.


See who's sponsored - at the Who's Who of Snowboarding

Thanks for reading The Snowboard Szine!

Editor and Creator of

Westchester County, NY

"Let's Ride!"






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