Sideslipping is one of the most important skills that you can learn while on the slopes. In fact, it is so important that many instructors and experienced riders will tell you to practice this technique until you have perfected it. In fact, due to the usage of sideslipping, it is also one of the first skills you should learn once you begin snowboarding.
Sideslipping is a versatile skill that has several applications. The first and most common application is stopping quickly and gracefully. Sideslipping also allows you to safely traverse very steep slopes and even to stop on them if you so desire.
Sideslipping is a fairly basic skill thus making it fairly easy to learn. Basically all you are doing is sliding down a hill, turning so that you are sideways to the hill and then biting into the hill with the entire edge of your snowboard. When sideslipping you have the option of either toe or heel sideslipping. The only difference is which side of your snowboard is biting into the hill. We will explain the technique in terms of toeslipping.
The first step is to start sliding down a slope that you are comfortable with. It is best to start on one that is not very steep and progress to much steeper hills as you get better at sideslipping. Begin by making a toe-side turn, turning so that your toes are pointing towards the hill. Lower your center of gravity slightly, lean forward, rotate your shoulders towards the hill and straighten your back as the turn is completed.
Now comes the difference between turning on the slope and beginning to enter into a sideslip. You will want to continue the turn that you have started but while doing so you will begin to raise your heals up off the slope. This will cause you to turn sharper until you end up perpendicular to the slope sliding down hill on the long edge of your snowboard.
Now the magic of sideslipping can begin. To control your rate of speed simply raise your heels more. This will cause the toe edge of your snowboard to bite into the hill and act as a brake. To allow yourself to slide faster just lower your heels.
There is one common mistake that happens to all of us, allowing one edge of your snowboard to rotate too far. The symptoms of this are fairly easy to see; you end up sliding down the hill backwards. To avoid this, make sure that your weight is evenly balanced on both legs. If you feel your snowboard beginning to turn to far put a little more weight on your back leg.
Mastering the technique of sideslipping is an important skill to master. Not only does it allow you to stop in a graceful manor, but it also allows you to go down hills that would otherwise be too steep to traverse. Make sure you have mastered this skill before taking on any other skill.