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5 Pro Tips to Ride Harder this Winter

31 October 2019

Our pro’s share their top tips for leveling up on the snow this season

As we wait for the good stuff to start falling, 5 SunGod ambassadors who are also ski industry pro's, share their tried and tested secrets so that you can take your riding to the next level...

1. Hit the gym

Former Freeride World Tour athlete, Nicole Kelly keeps her freeride skills sharp by hitting up the gym all summer:

“During summer, I usually work on resistance, body weight, balance and cardio training in the gym. I believe it helps with transitioning back into the sport after a few months off and keeps you strong so you can pick up where you left off at the end of the previous winter. I also think that to be a versatile freerider it's essential to remember to have fun and enjoy it because that’s what freeriding is… Having fun!"

“Spend time as much time in the gym as possible before hitting the snow so you don’t waste precious time re toning the legs.”Photo: @pagetwotravel

2. Beware the fatigue

Francesca Pioli is a full-time physio based in Chamonix and fatigue is the root cause of most injuries she deals with:

“Fatigue is often overlooked - Is it a normal day at home for us to do sport all day, walk around town, go for a drink, go out for dinner, then repeat that for 6 days straight? I’m not advising you get to your local pub and work on your drinking abilities but I would suggest working on some low-level endurance sports such as long-distance road cycling, swimming or jogging. Gently increase your activity levels in lead up to your ski trip. Good nutrition and staying hydrated always comes recommended too!”

“Fatigue is one of the most common causes of injury on the mountain that I have come across."

3. No snow, no problem…

GB Park and Pipe snowboarder and SunGod pro, Matt McCormick’s not fussy - He’s is a firm advocate for spending as much time as possible on any type of board, all year round:

"If there's one thing I would recommend to any snowboarder who is looking to up their riding, it's to get into skateboarding or, if you have access to waves, surfing. We can't always be in the mountains riding but that doesn't mean we can't be out there, getting active while also improving our general board control. The crossovers from skating and surfing to snowboarding are massive."

“A regular trip to the skatepark or dip in the sea can do so much for improving how comfortable you are standing sideways.”

4. Don’t overlook the basics

Hamish McDougall, the New Zealand Team Freestyle coach never ignores the basics, no matter how advanced the athlete he’s working with:

“If you want to become a more versatile skier, don’t ignore the basics! Address your stance first - a slight break at your hips, knees, and ankles should see you placed right over your skis with your shins pressed firmly in the front of your boots. Whilst this seems elementary, many people forget it. Another tool for progressing is placing weight on your downhill ski increasingly throughout a turn. These tweaks will help your balance in every aspect of skiing, from smashing slash turns and aggressive back country skiing to sliding rails.”

“Becoming a more versatile skier should start from fundamentals whether you’re cruising in the park, blasting groomers, or shredding in the back country.”

5. Step away from your comfort zone

Unsurprisingly, BASI Alpine Director Tom Waddington has a few tricks up his sleeve when he’s helping clients to level up:

"If you want immediate feedback without a coach, challenging yourself to ski slowly on icy patches is a pretty good place to start. If you can nail your turns at a slower speed on ice, in theory you have the skills to ski anywhere. As well as this, instead of just straight lining the piste to the lift, get stuck into the bumps/moguls to get some intrinsic feedback! It’s always worth getting a friend to video you as a sure-fire way to expose the bad habits too… Lastly, if you feel a plateau then it’s good to get a coach/instructor to help you develop your skills further."

“Step away from the comfort zone and onto the ice to sharpen your skills on the mountain.”Photo: Tero Repo

Whether you’re eyeing up that first black run for this winter or you’re planning the backcountry trip of a lifetime, there are always gains to be made - regardless of ability. For advice on how to get yourself in shape before you send this winter, head here.

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