Back in the 1970s skateboarding and skiing had a baby and they named it snowboarding.
On the heels of its Olympic debut, 23 years after snowboarding, it seems appropriate to write about how skateboarding benefits snowboarders in the off-season.
Skateboarding maintains our muscle memory and our mental strength in the off-season. If you’re learning it for the first time or learning a new trick, skateboarding gives you ample opportunity to develop commitment, resilience to failure, persistence through frustration and all the other benefits that CASI National Technical Team Member, Adam Gardner, wrote about so well in his article.
To get started, all you need is a board and a smooth patch of concrete. In my opinion, just like snowboarding, skateboarding is an individual sport best enjoyed with friends. Simply rolling, or cruising on a skateboard requires moving through all the same planes of balance as snowboarding. If you can make it to a skatepark or a backyard ramp, you can practice the all-important movement of pumping transitions. Think about it; we are pumping ALL THE TIME in snowboarding. We pump in and out of turns, we pump while riding varied terrain, we pump most evidently in the halfpipe or boardercross track. After pumping, you can learn to do power slides or turns in a ramp which both involve the subtle art of unweighting, another key skill in snowboarding.
You can immediately tell if a snowboarder is a skateboarder just by their style, especially when it comes to freestyle. The ollie, the boardslide, most tricks that we know of in snowboarding can trace their roots back to four wheels. Even airs with grabs! We don’t technically need to grab a snowboard when we’re spinning other than for style or to keep us in a nice compact position during a spin. Unlike a skateboard, snowboards are attached to our feet!
The main thing that keeps people off skateboards, especially in our older years, is the risk associated with falling on concrete rather than snow. I offer the following suggestions to keep you safe while learning this new, yet familiar sport:
- You don’t need to start with tricks! Have fun cruising with all four wheels on the ground.
- Wear pads while you’re learning the basics.
- Find a wooden backyard ramp to practice pumping below the coping.
- Apply the S.A.F.E. progression when learning anything new including standing on the board, pumping, ollies and beyond.
Skateboards come in all shapes and sizes, classic skate decks, longboards, penny boards and cruisers. Whichever way you choose to surf the concrete, they deliver similar sensations to snowboarding. Visit your local skate shop to support your community and talk with the staff to find a board that best suits your needs.
Whether you choose to give it a try or not, I hope you’re doing something to get your body and mind ready for the fast-approaching snow season.
My buddy, coach and two-time-halfpipe-Olympian Crispin Lipscomb once told me,
“The best off-season training for snowboarding is snowboarding. But skateboarding is a close second!”
CASI Level 2 & Park 1 Evaluator | Founder & Head Coach at SnowboardTeacher.com