Switch It Up
Looking back at this last week, it was a little shocking to see the sun come out this morning. With storm after storm dropping multiple feet of snow on Mt Werner, it can seem like a let down to wake up to no new snow. But with over 300″ of snow and a 100″ base at the top of the mountain, every day up there is great right now. Since the weather gods decided to switch it up today, I figured that I should do the same. So I did something I almost never do, ride switch for a whole morning.
After you have been snowboarding for a while, it’s easy to get set in your ways. I have my bindings the way I like them, I like a certain type of board and as a goofy footer, there are certain runs on the mountain that I like best. But variety is the spice of life so it’s important to remember that its OK to let me left foot lead me down the mountain sometimes. Not only does taking a “Switch Day” make you a better rider, but it allows you to appreciate the runs in a different way.
I started out the day with a few runs below Sunshine lift on the fresh corduroy. Not only was the sun shining, but it was a bit warmer up there than at the base. I didn’t adjust my bindings today, but if you plan on riding switch all day it helps if you put your bindings into a more neutral stance. This way your new front foot will have the proper leverage to make turns. Even with adjustments, it can feel pretty awkward. My first run down Flintlock felt a little weird at the start, but by the bottom things started to click a bit more. The biggest difference I noticed was how much farther I can turn my head to the right than to the left. Years of riding goofy has made it a lot easier to look over my right shoulder than my left, so having to look the other way actually felt difficult.
After getting used to going down the mountain the “wrong way”, I decided to step it up and go to a steeper run. So instead of heading down underneath Sunshine lift, I took High Noon all the way across to West Side. My regular footed friends always talk about how much fun this run is because of the way you can surf the hillside on the riders right. While it is still fun to ride up the bank and cut back in on your toe side, it doesnt compare to the surf like feeling of cutting back down a slope on your heel side. Even though I might not have been riding as fast as I normally would, I had more fun riding West Side than I have in a while.
After stopping to take a picture of the helicopter taking off at the top of the mountain, I decided to really test myself and do some tree runs switch. So I went over to the Broadway trees to try out some powdery lines through the gladed forest. If you are looking for leftover powder after a storm this is a great place to go. Take the South Peak lift up and then head left into the trees immediately after getting off the lift. These trees stay un-tracked longer because they are harder to get to and kind of short. For me though, that made them the perfect place to go. To be honest, riding switch in the trees is a bit more difficult than I was anticipating. Even though the conditions were really good, I did find myself having to put on the brakes more often than I would like and even went back to riding goofy footed a few times.
Riding in Steamboat isn’t just about deep powder and 2000ft tree runs, it can be a great place to explore and experiment with your riding. Now that we are in the second half of the season, it’s good to take some time to do something different and enjoy the mountain in an entirely new way. With more powder on the horizon, I probably won’t be riding “regular footed” again any time soon, but just for today, I was glad I made the switch.
Dan Tullos, snowboarder
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