After The Unstable Toe-Side we are usually faced with surviving the heel-side turn. Since snowboarding is full of opposites (which somehow make it attractive), the heel-side tends to be stable.
In control systems theory terms, the heel-side turn is a closed system.
We just need to follow the same logic as with The Unstable Toe-Side. Again we blame the way our knees flex and they only flex one way.
So lets assume we are carving around in the heel-side turn in a fairly stable position…
It should look similar to this:
Not sure about you, but when I look at the picture above it just looks solid. The body is positioned very well over the snowboard and the rider seems to be in full control.
So back to stability and let’s follow the same line of thought as with the front-side turn. What would happen if he was to ride over bump or a hole?
- Hole – the board moves away from the rider, which causes the legs/knees to straighten – this will cause the board to be more on the edge, effectively returning to the same place it was before the rider rode over the hole. Stable
- Bump – the board is pushed towards the rider. That causes the knees to flex, putting the board less on the edge – which will cause the board to ride away from the rider, returning to the place it was. Stable again.
The obvious question is, how can we make sure we can take advantage of this. It’s quite easy – keep calm and assume the right body position during heel-side turn:
- The rider should be in neutral/natural position. It’s the position that you’d normally assume on a snowboard given your binding angles and stance. Without any twisting left or right. The only exception is the head which should be looking forward.
- The knees need to be flexed. Quite a lot. Both of them. The most common mistake is keeping the front leg near straight. It might feel a bit like you’re sitting on a toilet…
- Relax. The legs in particular need the freedom to be flexed or extended at your snowboard discretion. You just keep your body at roughly the same height and let the leg do the work.
Here’s picture of me riding which explains why is this called a backside chill.
Not only the heel-side turn is more stable of the two, so you can rest a bit, you can also get your bum cold.