How to Ride Park on Skis

How to Ride Park on Skis
Terrain parks, whether they are a half pipe or an area of the mountain with features like rails and tables, are quickly becoming one of the most popular areas on the mountain. It's not uncommon for skiers to spend much of the day in the park, riding the features and hiking back up to ride them again. Riding features takes practice, balance and confidence.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Ski Backward

Step 1
Learn to be comfortable skiing both forward and backward. Twin tip skis make skiing backward much easier. When learning to ski backward, it is best to start slowly, on a lower angle slope. Practice looking over your shoulder and keeping your head on a swivel; you want to be able to see features both behind you and in front of of you.
Step 2
Practice jumping and landing. When riding features in the park, you will have to jump on to them and jump off them. Look for small jumps on the mountain to practice getting into the air. Moguls are a great place to learn the balance needed to land a jump.
Step 3
Learn the basics in the beginner park. Many resorts will have multiple terrain parks, one geared toward beginners and one geared toward experts. The beginner parks will have features closer to the ground to minimize the pain of falling. the key to effective learning is to approach the features with confidence but to go at half speed. Don't try to go full out on your first terrain park feature. Get a feel for sliding along the rail or table.

When approaching a feature, eyeball where you want to land on it. Aim for that spot so that you will land on it at the midpoint of your ski boot to maximize your balance.

Progress slowly and get comfortable sliding on the features before trying more advanced tricks like grabbing your skis before landing on the feature you are riding.
Step 4
Watch the advanced riders to see what kinds of tricks they like to do. Terrain parks can be great for socializing with skiers of different ability levels. Watching better skiers and talking to them can help you pick up tips and tricks faster than trying to learn them on your own.
Step 5
Consider taking a lesson. Most mountains have ski school programs that will help you learn all the techniques required for riding in a terrain park, from skiing backward to jumping to riding rails. Learning from an experienced instructor can greatly quicken your learning curve.

Tips & Warnings

Riding in a terrain park can be dangerous. Wear a helmet to help minimize the chances of injury. You might consider wearing knee pads and elbow pads as well when you are first learning.

Article Written By Candace Horgan

Candace Horgan has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Denver Post" and "Mix." Horgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history.

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