How to Ride a Rail in Snowboarding

How to Ride a Rail in Snowboarding
Riding a rail, or "jibbing" as it's called, is one of the most fun aspects of snowboarding. It's also one of the most intimidating. It's one thing to fall down while snowboarding and land in light, soft powder. But smacking your head on a metal rail is far more scary. However, you cannot let fear control you. You must approach your first rail with confidence, and do the work to continually improve your riding skills.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Practice basic skills. Before trying to hit your first rail, you should be able to control your board, carve and ollie.
Step 2
Pick out a good beginner rail. If the resort you're at has a progressive park system, start in the smallest park. Find a short, low rail that doesn't bring much risk of injury.
Step 3
Do a test ride. Ride past the rail. If it requires an ollie to get on, try ollying on the side of it to get a better feel for the height and position involved. Pay attention to the approach and landing and visualize your run. If you're comfortable, hit it your second run. If not, take a couple of dry runs before your first attempt. Develop comfort and confidence.
Step 4
Take the attempt. Approach the rail maintaining tight control. Keep your knees bent, body low and shoulders parallel with the board. Carve at a feasible pace with enough speed to make the ollie and provide full momentum down the rail, but not so much that you lack precision.
Step 5
Straighten the board out as you get close to the approach. You want to avoid edges at this point.
Step 6
Lean your weight back slightly and ollie onto the rail. Alternately, if the rail is snow-level, simply ride on. You want to engage the rail so that your board is pointed directly down, parallel with the rail. You should also have the board centered.
Step 7
Keep your weight centered on the board and the board centered on the rail. Keep your shoulders straight. Grind it out.
Step 8
As you get to the end, ollie off if necessary and hit the snow. Bend your knees to absorb any impact and continue riding.

Tips & Warnings

 
The grind above is a basic 50/50, the easiest grind. This should be your first grind. Get comfortable with it and then move on to more difficult grinds and maneuvers.
 
Riding park, particularly rails, is dangerous. Consider wearing a helmet. Always ride within your ability. Going too big and smashing your face or getting a concussion isn't going to land you any props.
 
Riding park, particularly rails, is dangerous. Consider wearing a helmet.
 
Always ride within your ability. Going too big and smashing your face or getting a concussion isn't going to land you any props.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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