Entering the terrain park can be a nerve-wracking experience for any level of skier. Even after you get the hang of hitting jumps and flying through the air, there are still these foreboding objects of metal and plastic sitting in the middle of the park…waiting for you…like a mouse trap! At least that’s how I felt!
But I’m here to tell you that learning how to slide a box is an “Oh! What?! That was so easy!” kind of moment. Here is a step-by-step run down of how I recommend learning to ski sideways on a box!
1. Choose the Right Box
Find a short, wide box with a snow lip that runs right up to the front edge. This allows you to ski straight up onto the box without needing to jump onto it. Avoid any boxes that have a gap between the snow lip and the box.
2. Ski Straight Over It
Yep! Just carry some speed and ski straight over the box. This will teach you what it feels like when your skis slide over the surface, and you’ll realize that it’s not scary at all! You’ll notice that the box slows down your skis a bit. It’s important not to slow down right before you ski onto it. Keep your momentum!
3. (Optional) Try Skiing on Straight and then Pivoting Sideways
This is a common step in the learning process, but I recommend against it. It makes sliding sideways seem more complicated than it really is. I advise just moving straight to the next step. BUT, if fear really gets in the way, try skiing on the box straight and then pivoting half way through. To pivot sideways, just let your instincts lead you. Punch your front arm forward, keep your legs super wide, and put all your wait on your forward foot.
4. Practice your Sideways Jump on the Snow
Before you try your first sideways hop onto the box, just give it one run through on the snow. You want to make sure your body is familiar with entering the proper stance. Ski forward for a second and then pop your skis sideways 90 degrees. Don’t think to much about the actual twisting – your body does it naturally. What you should think about is the sideways stance that you land in. There are three main things to focus on:
- Legs wide: Your feet should be really wide apart. Exaggerate when you practice. When your legs are wide it distributes your wait and prevents your feet from slipping out from under you on the box. It helps to squat into it and keep your butt low.
- Punch Front Arm Forward: When you punch your front arm out towards the end of the box it helps your momentum go in the right direction! It also keeps you looking forward toward the end of the box.
- Weight on Front Foot: All of your weight should be on your front foot. The most common way to fall on a box is when your feet slip out beneath you because your weight stayed behind you while your skis moved forward. When you punch your arm out, lean all your weight forward on the front foot.
5. Try it On the Box!
If you practice the stance successfully on the snow, I wouldn’t be surprised if you slid the box sideways on your first try! All the same rules apply. The most common mistake I see girls make is slowing down too much right before the box. Speed is your friend! It will take you to the end of the box faster! Less time for error :)
6. Keep Being a Badass!
Keep practicing the short box until you feel comfortable. Move on to longer boxes, and then to more narrow boxes, and then you should even try flat rails! I’m confident that most skiers could progress this fast in one or two consecutive days of practicing boxes.
Please let me know if you found this helpful or if you have any other tips! I’m here to help!