Reasons to Get a Rocker Pow Board & How to Ride One Properly
Up until the early 2000s, the snowboarding world had only two board profiles: flat and camber. Of course, not that these two weren’t doing a good job but when the rocker profile came out, the range of possibilities kept growing thanks to its shape which allowed for a more versatile ride. Yes, this type of profile can be combined with the camber profile, but first, let’s see why you should get a snowboard like this and how to utilize it best.
The ability to float on powder is the main reason why people go for this type of board profile and thanks to its tips sitting higher, you can forget about ever faceplanting in the snow. All jokes aside, rocker pow boards allow you to maintain a more balanced stance which improves your reaction time and helps you save energy that you would otherwise spend maneuvering. You get a smooth riding experience which almost feels like you are waterskiing or wakeboarding.
Since a rocker profile board brings both the tip and tail up, there is a shorter contact length of the edges which makes turning very easy, especially when you are between trees or tight chutes. You will instantly become more nimble at maneuvering your ride which will allow you to pivot more easily and even slash the snow, do smear and butter turns or slide sideways to slow down.
Although you may get a few stares due to your board sticking up in the air, this won’t be the case when riding on presses in the park and you will also be able to recover faster from an off-axis landing or under-spun airs. The less catchy nature of rocker pow boards and the fact that they are pre-pressed helps you initiate spins earlier which contributes towards faster landing recovery.
First, we’ll start with the stance as it is one of the most basic things you need to know before stepping on a rocker board. Before you slide down the hill remember to set your stance about 3 fingers back towards the tail as this will help keep the tip to rise above the snow as well as yourself on the board.
Second, you’ll need to shift your hips to the back (tail) in order to distribute your weight and bring the nose up. I know this is also done with a proper stance but when riding you’ll need to do this too so you rest assured that your board won’t flip on you. Of course, this comes with some disadvantages, like the straining of the back foot and not being able to adapt as easily to varying terrain. So make sure you use this technique interchangeably.
When turning with rocker pow boards, it’s best that you open and avoid closing your turns. What I mean by this is when you are about to turn, don’t go fully across the fall line as you wold on a closed turn. This helps you keep momentum and take on a turn faster and its’s super easy since you are just changing the shape of your turn.
Here are some additional tips to help you better handle soft (powder) snow and stay safe when you encounter any obstacles along the way.
• When you fall and believe me you will fall a lot, most of the time it will be easier to get up on your toe side but if that isn’t the case then try rolling over.
• Sometimes snow may pile up on your board, which can prevent you from standing up easily, so make sure to clear it out before deciding to roll over.
• When sliding down the hill, do so with bent knees as this way you’ll be able to absorb bumps and soften your landings when popping off small snow mounds. Bent knees will also help you keep good balance.
• While it may not seem like a smart idea, bouncing up as you ride can help you turn more easily. Pull your legs up and weight your edge, then extend your legs, and after that just pull your legs back, switch edges and extend them back again. There’s no need to dig the edges in as unlike hardpack – here the experience is more subtle.
• Be careful when you are near flatter areas as they can slow you down quite significantly and that is why you’ll need to keep going at a higher speed as otherwise, your board will start to sink in.
• Try to practise on the snow that is on the sides of the trail, as this is where not a lot of people go, meaning that you will have a smoother ride.
• Riding rocker pow boards requires strong legs so make sure you are fit and if you are not, you’ll get to know that pretty quickly.
• It’s important that you stay relaxed and let gravity do its job when turning.
• Decreasing speed should be done in small, quick and successive turns.