The park and in particular rails intimidate many – mainly because the rail is hard and people are not used to sliding sideways. People are often put off by sight of many people who do not know what their doing crashing hard and limping away. Not technically difficult but painful if you get it wrong when learning.
Four simple steps and appropriate coaching can ensure success without the pain says Felix Tanguay of Powder Extreme. In this article Felix explains the four steps to successfully riding a rail and some advice for those venturing onto a rail for the first time.
The four steps to riding a rail
Step 1 – Approach to the rail
As you approach the rail ensure that your skis are flat, a shoulder width apart with the rail equidistant between the skies. You need to have sufficient speed to allow you to jump onto the rail with momentum.
Step 2 – Getting onto the rail
Jump just high enough to turn your skis 90 degrees to the rail before landing, jumping too high only increases the chances of a fall. You want to aim to land with skis 90 degrees to the rail, shoulder width apart and flat with your knees slightly bent. Put 80% of your weight on the front foot.
Step 3 – Sliding the rail
Maintain your balance with majority of your weight on the front foot. Work to maintain the skis at 90 degrees to the rail. Keep your eyes focused on the end of the rail – you travel where you look. Keep your arms and upper body in a relaxed position to help maintain good balance.
Step 4 – Getting off the rail
As you approach the end of the rail let your tips rotate in the direction you wish to come off and just ski off the rail.
Before trying your first rail with speed Find an easy rail close to the ground and step onto it and balance and then use your poles to slide slowly down the rail. Once again maintain flat skis with 80% of your weight on the front ski, shoulder width apart and 90 degrees to the rail. Repeat this until you get used to the sensation of being on a rail and feel confident about the sliding position.