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For somebody that is a little experienced with regular snowboarding (around 10 years of basic snowboarding), what would be the ideal way to starting halfpipe snowboarding?

halfpipe

I have done some research and saw that there are some basic tips on the halfpipe snowboarding out there. This source suggests just delving right to it, the only precursor is having to buy a helmet. Similarly, this one suggests:

When riding the Halfpipe for the first time, it is important that you practice first. You can do this by simply traversing the transitions of the Halfpipe[…]

I am not entirely sure if jumping right to it (without any schooling) is the best idea there is (judging from my experiences with jumping the bumps on my own and causing many issues).

In your experience, having clocked some snowboarding time, what would be the best way to start the halfpipe?

  • Have you tried halfpipe/quarterpipe skating? I was into skating a few years back and was told that the best way is just to do it - seems like the advice between the two sports is the same. I don't know how the skills between skating and snowboarding compare, but I expect they're reasonably similar in terms of balance and mental attitude :) – oliver-clare Feb 14 '13 at 13:50
  • @LordScree Unfortunately I haven't.. I understand that the advice might be just to get the gist of it, but I want to avoid any potential injuries. Or limit them as much as I can :) – arin Feb 15 '13 at 15:41
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If you want to avoid injury, take it slow. I would suggest traversing the transitions as the second link suggests. Start at the bottom of the transition on one side and practice cutting back to the transition on the other side. With each run, you will feel more confident. You should be able to climb higher into the transitions with each run, until you eventually catch the vertical. The first few times you catch the vertical, focus on safely landing. After that, work on simple tricks. Once you've mastered those, work on tricks that are a little more difficult. If you still have difficulty performing tricks over jumps in a board park, I would suggest a little more practice there before you try any tricks on a halfpipe. The halfpipe is a lot more dangerous than a board park because you can easily accelerate faster than intended, which means you can accidentally catch a lot of air. If you don't know how to safely land, you may end up landing in the transition and go for a nasty spill. If you are confident you can safely land (even in the transition), I'd say you are well prepared to try halfpipe. Accidents are to be expected when learning, but please do review safe landing techniques before trying the halfpipe. You might do this by watching halfpipe videos on youtube. Even videos where people crash will be of great help as they will teach you what not to do. Best of luck!

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Everyone will have his/her own opinion on the matter. One way might work well for one person and another way will work better for another. The important thing is to stay safe and know your limits. I've been snowboarding for six years and this is what I found to work well for me:

It was my third season and one of the lift operators suggested that I try out the halfpipe. The snow was very soft that day, so the conditions were ideal for learning. She was right; the snow cushioned my (numerous) falls, but I eventually started pulling off some jumps. Traversing can definitely be helpful, but so can linking the turns and carving. I learned by carving on a 45 degree angle (not 90 degrees), making a jump as I turned my body, and landing.

Some people have claimed that starting out in the park first is better. In all honesty, I started in the halfpipe first and I was fine. I think it depends on what kind of riding you'd like to do because the type of board you use for the halfpipe should be different from the board you use for the terrain park. This is because you need excellent stability and edgehold when tackling the halfpipe, which requires a stiffer board. The terrain park, on the other hand, has rails, boxes, and many other obstacles that require a board that can take punishment. A flexible board is good for absorbing impact. Also, you don't want to have sharp edges in the terrain park because sharp edges will catch on rails and such (however,you want to have sharp edges for the halfpipe).

It is important to land properly, but you don't have to practice in the terrain park to do it. You can easily find a wall on a regular slope to practice going up on and can even try springing up over small lumps of snow. Again, when the snow is soft, you can practice jumping on the halfpipe. If you're concerned about falling, you can purchase some body armour, but I can honestly say that I've never worn any and I was fine practising (I have never seriously injured myself when snowboarding). It's your call.

A couple of tips: be sure to bend your knees to absorb impact, watch some videos online and read some literature on the subject, and (if you want) get an advanced lesson. First and foremost, stay safe.

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