As you progress as a snowboarder, riding rails in the park is a fun way to improve your balance. You should start your park experience with ride on boxes, then progress to regular boxes before moving onto rails. Boxes are an easier starting point because they have a larger surface area. Rails are thinner and more slippery, but provide a more exhilarating ride. It is helpful to know the terminology for different rail features. Below is a list of the most common types of rails.
Ride On Rail
A ride on rail has a snow ramp leading up to it with no gap. This negates the need to ollie up onto the feature, making it easy for beginners.
The flat rail is a step up from the ride on. It incorporates a gap at the beginning of the features and then runs straight across level ground. It is the easiest to balance on.
A down rail is angled down the mountain. This makes the balance of your body slightly different as you ride it. You want to make sure to keep your body weight centered as up and down as possible, which requires shifting your weight once you are on the rail.
An up rail is pointed up, or away from the slope, of the mountain. You will rarely see it by itself, more likely it will be part of a multi-angle feature, such as an up-flat-down rail.
A kinked rail incorporates multiple straight features, each section separated by a kink where the rail changes direction. An up-flat-down rail is an example. Keeping your balance over the kink adds an extra level of difficultly to these features. In order to keep your balance, bend your knees to absorb the impact of the kink.
A curved rail has an arc instead of an angled kinked. Common examples are the C-rail, S-rail and rainbow rail.
Article Written By Caroline Schley
Based in New York City, Caroline Schley has been writing articles on fitness, social interaction and politics since 2008. Her articles have appeared in "The Tahoe Weekly," "Second Line News" and websites, including Eatthestate.org. Schley graduated from CU Boulder in 2005 with a degree in environmental science.