Slow down to fire up!

Somewhere in the Zillertal aka winterwonderland

It’s end of January, the mountains are drowning in white snow and every week there is more terrain ready to be torn to pieces. But where you’re normally able to ride tree run after tree run without lunch, and day after day without a physio, the body is already screaming bloody murder after a single day in the white fluffy stuff.

But when you’re still sunbathing in beer gardens in late Autumn, when you would have been skidding around glaciers before, and booking a surf holiday, when normally you would not have let your boots out of sight, because you can’t even catch a glimpse of the coming winter season yet, you know, things are not normal at all.

So no matter how excited you are and how much your legs are buzzing, ready to drop in – tame yourself and you will be able to enjoy the whole day to the fullest, instead of blowing off all your energy trying to dig yourself out after the first bail or knocking yourself off a cliff head first.

Believe me, this is first hand advice out of my own experience.

Taking it easy when you finally scored an epic day of powder sure isn’t easy. Slowing down when you’re trying to keep up with four snow-starved guys even near impossible. But somehow, be it the -20 degrees or the 5 hours of sleep I was lacking, I managed. Picking mellow lines, stopping for a breather and cruising down to the lift rather than racing, gradually allowed me to find my pace and confidence. By lunch I was in the zone, on fire and riding better than the year before.

But unfortunately, you’re not yet done with that. I learned that from self experience too.

You should start ANY riding day with a warm up run. Even if you’ve been up and out there for a week straight. For any other sport in the whole wide world it’s an absolute no-brainer to prepare your muscles, ligaments and joints before you impose high performance on them, but as snowboarders we wanna haul ourselves off the first cliff straight from the lift exit. Why is that, you ask? To be honest, I’m not sure. Maybe because we’re just so excited that we can’t hold back. Maybe we could but don’t wanna be seen as pussies. Or maybe we just don’t see snowboarding as sport.

No matter the reason, the result, if you’re unlucky, is the same. After falling head first off a five meter cliff on the first run straight after four full on riding days, I will never skip a warm up run again.

And you know what? Starting off with a mellow run gives you all the time in the world to check out the best hits and smoothest landings, while the first of your friends already has to be dug out, head first…

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