What you should know before hitting the snow

Confidence is key when you ride booters, rails, boxes and hips, says Australian snowboarder Tim Smith.

Melbourne-born Smith, 30, resort hops around the world, and is spending this season at Falls Creek, Victoria.

He takes a break from jibbing to share his tips for tackling your first terrain park.


When it comes to skiers and snowboarders hitting their first rail, what advice can you give?

Be confident, imagine the trick you want to do, play it through in your head and go for it.

Stay as low as you can both for style and balance. And, as for everything on a board, speed is your friend. And you probably want to detune your edges so you don't get hooked up.

What about advice to riders attempting their first jumps, especially with the run-in and landing?

You really want to do a bit of riding around getting used to your board and edges, finding little jumps and bumps on normal runs and practising them while keeping yourself centred over your board.

Once you feel confident you can take it to the park. Start on a smaller jump, ride into the run-in with speed, stay tucked into the run-in and give a little pop as you hit the lip.

The trick is to stay calm in the air and stay centred over your board. If there's someone around in the park that looks like they know what they're doing, ask them if you can follow them through the jump for the first time.

Stay about 10 metres behind them and match their speed into the jump.

What are your favourite terrain park features?

I love a good hip. Hips are good because you can hit them left or right and start small and get bigger until you can almost clear them.

They're fun for everyone and are good for learning new tricks on.

What features would you recommend beginners tackle first?

Small roll-over jumps or table tops, and big flatboxes are always good to get the feel of sliding a rail feature.

What do pillows and foam pits bring to parks?

They don't really exist in snow parks but definitely there are more trampoline and foam pit facilities around the joint that give riders a chance to get comfortable spinning and getting inverted. Then you can take that to the terrain park.

There are a number of competitions held across our resorts every year, including style wars at falls creek and the mile high in perisher. how can competitors get over any fear they may have ahead of their runs?

I think it's good to be a little scared. It's good to be aware of what you're doing and the consequences, but you use that fear. Overcoming it and staying positive is the first step.

If you don't feel comfortable hitting something for whatever reason you probably shouldn't do it.

Stylewars and Mile High are pretty serious set-ups, as well as rail jams like Cattleman's at Mt Buller. You'd hope the guys and girls hitting those features know what they're doing.

But there will always be injuries - that is just the nature of the sport.

Wanaka in New Zealand hosts the world heli challenge. How unique is that competition?

The heli challenge is a very unique program. It's invitation-only and revolves around big mountain heli drops, and the lifestyle that is the essence of this sport and why we love it so much - good crew, snowboarding and good times.

Anyone who's been to Wanaka knows how amazing that place is. Set on the side of a lake surrounded by mountains, it's pretty special - then to get to ride fresh runs out of helis all day ...

The comp seems to be as much about the entire experience as it is about the riding. They hit the nail on the head with that one.

What does falls creek offer that other Australian ski resorts don't?

The biggest difference is the terrain park in Ruined Castle. Ruben Cameron is our park shaper and is one of the best around. He and the park crew are constantly updating the features and pushing boundaries. This attracts some of the world's best shredders and makes Carlton Dry Stylewars the amazing week it is.

* Tim Smith is a brand ambassador for the Falls Creek Carlton Dry Snowpad, a penthouse apartment.

- AAP

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