Riding "fakie" or switch on a snowboard means leading with the opposite foot of what you normally do. If you normally lead with your right foot (this is called "goofy") then switch, you would be leading with your left foot (this is called "regular"), for example. Riding fakie isn't always easy at first, but once learned it can tremendously increase your snowboarding performance.
Transition your Stance
Adjust your bindings in a more neutral position if you have your normal lead foot set at an angle of more than 15 degrees. Setting both bindings just 5 to 10 degrees outward makes it easier for you to lead with whatever foot you choose while on the mountain. Practice at a standstill first. Go to an easy gentle slope and start from a standstill in your fakie stance. Lean back and forth from the toe side edge to the heel side edge of your board. Feel the edges of the board while visualizing making turns with this foot leading.
Ease into It
Scoot off and gain some momentum as you slowly practice turning and making stops in this new way. It will at first seem a bit odd. You may get the same feeling one gets when first driving a car on the opposite side of the road in a foreign country. Link turns when you are ready. Practice carving, just as you do when normally riding, first on easy stuff, then more difficult runs.
Practice and Relax
Integrate some fakie turns when you are regularly riding on the mountain. Now that you have a sense for what it feels like to lead with your other foot, you can try carving both ways. Above all, relax. Don't push yourself to make a fakie turn if you aren't quite ready for it on a steep slope, but taking a deep breath and relaxing instead of getting nervous will make it much easier for your body and mind to work it out the right way. This becomes quite fun when going over spontaneous terrain or jumps, because you can land either way and have an overall better sense of balance.
Article Written By Naomi Judd
Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.