GEAR THERAPY: A Skier (Blister’s founder) Learns to Snowboard, Part 1 (Ep.296) 

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What’s the next step on my journey to become a snowboarder? A stop on the GEAR THERAPY couch, of course. So today, I’m sitting at the feet of the strikingly handsome Justin Bobb (the guy Jeremy Jones calls “a legend” and the perfect person to guide me into this world of snowboarding) to discuss how much knowing how to ski is relevant to learning how to snowboard; how to slam as little as possible while starting out; why snowboards don’t have releasable bindings; best terrain to begin on; and more.

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Hot Dog…The Movie (4:56)
Snowboarding Status Update (8:33)
Slam Reduction Program (12:08)
Releasable Bindings? (14:32)
JE’s Snowboarding Goals (19:38)
Stance (21:21)
Visualization / “Think Sideways” (23:54)
Best Terrain to Begin On? (29:34)
Types of Slams (33:25)
Speed (35:51)
Running Flat Bases? (36:30)
Heel vs Toe, Part 1 (38:34)
Tips on Crashing (41:36)
Timeline (44:22)
Heel vs Toe, Part 2 (45:00)
Edges (51:31)
How to Stop?? (53:05)
Speed Scrubbing (1:01:30)
JE’s Latest Crashes & Close Calls (1:05:21)

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10 comments on “GEAR THERAPY: A Skier (Blister’s founder) Learns to Snowboard, Part 1 (Ep.296) ”

  1. I have some trepidation about Blister Cinematic’s take on Hot Dog The Movie. The skiing in that film still goes (and ballet actually sort of looks new and cool), but the “plot” hasn’t aged well IMO.

    wrt slam reduction as a starting snowboarder, the key for me boiled down to 3 words that we all know from skiing: Finish Your Turns. If you’re riding on a clean edge when you transition then you’re less likely to slam. If you’re, say, skidding on heelside when you try to roll over to toeside then your face may meet the snow in an accelerated fashion.

    Totally agree that the slam is worse in snowboarding. I think that in addition to not releasing, the fact that you don’t have a second board to use as an “outrigger” to balance against poor technique doesn’t help.

    I totally agree with JBobb about skills carrying over from skiing. When I spent part of a year snowboarding (long ago) I quickly became better in bumps than some of my snowboarder friends, mostly because I already knew how to pick lines and control speed. I wasn’t technically good, but I knew how to pick lines that I could execute with my meagre technical skills.

  2. Sorry for the string-reply, but wrt toeside vs heelside the way I translated that from skiing is by thinking about using different forms of angulation to keep your center of mass “outside” of the board’s perpendicular, to keep the ski locked in. On toeside you’re mostly using knee angulation. On heelside you’re mostly using hip angulation (or more properly butt angulation).

    That’s different from a ski where you have both knee and hip angulation in equal amounts on both sides (modulo biomechanical asymmetries due to injury etc), though with snowboarding you have much more of each to work with. Your knee can bend a lot further back than sideways, and your waist can bend a lot further forward than sideways.

    • Oh, and you have to think about using your ankles differently heel vs toe. They’re your “fine control” over the edge in a similar way to how the knees/ankles are for a skier.

  3. Hey Jonathan. Sadly I’m not as intelligent or analytical as you, but here’s a thought.
    Take a lesson. Snowboarding isn’t that hard (I’m not talking about Valentin Guselli (sp?) or Jeremy Jones, what they can do is incredible) but doing the sport. Millions of people snowboard. Someone with your level of physical fitness and athletic ability should be cruising in three days.
    I even wrote and photographed a book on it while living in Verbier (Human Kinetics – “Snowboarding” ) while I was still learning myself. I just got the beta from the experts, started with the “falling leaf” exercise with my instructor (who wrote the instructors guide to snowboarding, so I was taught by the best) and went from there
    Something Justin didn’t get around to mentioning, but I’ve experienced, is that once you have even the most rudimentary skills, it’s easy to sideslip even really steep couloirs, so there’s that, which is a massive difference from skiing. This came in very handy in Verbier, let me tell you!
    As for learning in the Southern Hemisphere, I wouldn’t recommend it. I ski Thredbo now, the skiing there is awesome (no really, I love it) especially the trees, but it sucks for snowboarding, because to get all the good stuff, you need highly developed traversing skills, and it’s a pretty rare snowboarder who has those.
    So stop thinking about it, and do it. Simple.
    Cheers mate, love your work.

    • Taking a lesson takes all the fun out of it. It’s like a mountain town tradition that you have to learn from your dirtbag friends, who may or may not truly want to help you avoid slamming (for the lulz, of course).

      Plus, have you listened to the recent episodes about the beginnings of Blister where Jonathan explains how he learned to ski?

  4. I remember slamming like a barn door in the wind when I tried. Like there was a hinge at my feet. So much more violent than ski falls. At least to my head and shoulders.

    I need to try it again, though. I ride with a lot of boarders. They can turn so freaking tight in the trees, and they never seem to expend any energy doing anything unless they’re kicking uphill.

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