Ride: Pivoting can happen passively as
riders simply look through their turns,
by turning their head and shoulders as
they rotate their spine, hips, and femurs.
As a result, their board will tend to skid
uncontrollably. This is also known as wash
out (photo 3).
Drive: To drive into the pivot, the rider
progressively rotates their lower body.
At more advanced levels this is done by
rotating the front femur in the opposite
direction of the rear femur. This creates a
more centered pivot point (photo 4). This
type of pivoting is great for riding trees or
bumps since the turn radius of the board
will be very tight.
Ride: Here, you’ll typically see more pressure
applied to the tail of the snowboard as the
rider gets lazy and is late in reacting to
upcoming terrain. A “ride-style” of pressure
also comes into play when students limit their
commitment to pressure movements out of
fear – perhaps of catching an edge, going too
fast, or heading into uncomfortable terrain
Passive pressure management is useful
at times, such as when you encounter unfamiliar and choppy conditions. An example
is when you drop off a cliff into unknown
snow conditions and, upon landing, realize
it’s quite bumpy. Allowing your legs to go
loose and deal with the bumps until you can
slow down is a great tactic.
Drive: You’ll often see advanced
snowboarders working either end of their
boards to better use their most effective
edge. This lets them create more friction
through a skidded turn without over
Macri demonstrates pressure and twist while both riding (photos 5 and 7) and driving his board (photos 6 and 8).
pivoting their board. This is a useful tactic
in the steeps, deep pow, or bumps.
Encourage your students to achieve
this by having them flex one leg while
extending the other to shift their center of
mass fore or aft on the board. This drive-style pressure move can also be achieved
by sliding the board fore and aft under the
body and therefore sliding the hips fore
and aft (photo 6).
Ride: Twisting is commonly done through
interaction with terrain, such as off the
back of a bump. It may even be created
unintentionally, as when a bump deflects
the board (photo 7). Sometimes this can
catch a rider by surprise and result in
Drive: When a snowboarder is driving
their board, twist is achieved by flexing
and extending one leg in opposition to the
other laterally across the board. This can
also result from simply being more active
with one leg than the other (photo 8).
By being more active, riders move their
weight over that front foot and therefore
manage other board performances earlier,
such as pressure and tilt. Being able to
manage these earlier in a turn can prevent a
crash at the end of a turn.
So, Should I Drive or Ride?
Bear in mind that these examples are by no
means the only situations in which these
performances occur. It’s also important to
understand that one is not always better
than the other. There are great advantages
to both riding and driving. For instance,
you can add more tweak to a freestyle trick
by driving the board. However, you can
also make a trick look very steezy by riding
simply and being lazy, like doing a slow-
Let your students know that there are
times when riding is just fine, like when
they’re a bit tired and want to conserve energy by comfortably cruising on a groomer,
negotiating a catwalk or slow zone, or
sliding down to the lift line.
That said, be on the lookout for students
who ride their board too much and get too
lazy or overly passive. This is a common
fallback when the rider doesn’t feel ready
for the terrain they’re on, or when they’re
getting bounced around or even falling.
The tell-tale sign is a person with a quite
tall, stiff stance on their board.
Alternatively, there are times when a
rider can over-drive the board and lose
control, or find that the board chatters
or washes out in a turn. Over-driving is
generally the result of too much movement
and/or not matching the timing, intensity, and duration of the movement to
In my opinion, the hallmark of good
snowboarding is that it looks easy; whether
it’s done on a groomer, in the steeps, in the
bumps, or in the park and pipe. And to me,
that’s achieved through an effective blend
of riding and driving the snowboard at the
appropriate time and place.
AASI Snowboard Team member Tony Macri
is the development coach for snowboard
examiners in PSIA-AASI’s Rocky Mountain
Division. He owns and operates Snow
Trainers Inc., a ski and snowboard instructor
training camp at Copper Mountain
(Colorado), Coronet Peak (New Zealand),
and Niseko (Japan).
PHOTO 5 PHOTO 6 PHOTO 7 PHOTO 8