Correcting Faults: Review of a UK based Snowboard Performance Course

Since having had my week of tuition out in Laax I’ve been trying to keep the momentum going not only by riding a smuch as I can but also taking up any opportunity I can to get some additional coaching/tuition.  I had my first taste of this back in the UK at the Maverix One Day Camp at MK SNO!zone in May (review post here) and had a brilliant time, but it got me to ponder whether my base level of riding was as good as it could be.  It was while I was browsing the SCUK forum that I was reminded of the Performance Courses that Ash Newnes runs at slopes around the UK (when he’s not running full length instructor courses in Bulgaria), so I promptly got myself booked on the next session he was running at MK.

The course is run over two days and Ash started running it a couple of years ago as he found there were a lot of people signing up to do instructor courses purely to improve their riding rather than become an instructor, so spotting a gap in the market he now offers both the 5 day instructor course and this two day course.  He takes you right back to basics, but rather than assasinating your existing your technique he just reteaches you literally from the foot upwards.

I was lucky enough to have been taught using the foot steering technique when I first took to the slopes almost 7 years ago but the other guys on the course had never heard of this technique so I think they were a bit nervous when it was mentioned in the pre-brief session Ash gave us.  By the end of the course though everyone had been reassured that it wasn’t anything scary and it was definitely the right technique to be using.  Thankfully my regular riding was pretty good and so I was able to use the first day to practice the basic skills Ash was teaching us switch.  This was really useful to me from a freestyle point of view because although I can ride switch I’m not as confident or as good at it as I am riding regular and it was good to break my riding down into chunks so that I could work out where my errors were and get my body and muscles used to riding in the correct position.

On the second day we worked on more complex drills to help with riding different types of terrain and just getting used to using our boards properly, making sure we were flexing them appropriately and actually thinking about how we could get the most out of the board and out of the turns we make.  I’m really looking forward to getting out on to the mountain to see how much of a difference it makes in trickier situations than I generally face indoors or on plastic.

I can highly recommend the course, especially if you’re looking to improve your freestyle and care at all about having good technique (especially if you’ve never heard of foot steering before).  Of course if you’re happy to huck and hope you probably won’t find it to be that beneficial as you definitely have to be ready to relearn how to ride without any preconceptions about how good you are.

If you’re looking for a cheap holiday next year and fancy getting some coaching while you’re away it’s worth checking out his Bansko based operation as not only do they have cheap beer out here they are a friendly bunch who can help you get the most out of your week on snow!

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