In the Trees

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In the Trees

Postby John » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:42 pm

Anyone else ride in the trees? I was on some pretty mellow terrain in the last week, but I took advantage of the fluffy stuff to do some tree riding.

It helps to break things down into components.

- For the first run or so, I stayed on the groomed portion and looked for places to enter and exit.

- On subsequent runs I started out by jumping up from the groomed portion of the trail onto the powder bank along side, and then went back to the groomers.

- From there I would barely go into the trees--perhaps go around one or two trees and then come out.

- Then I started going on longer and longer trips before cutting back to the groomers, always looking between the trees and anticipating where I would come out.

- Since I was riding in some thigh-high powder, I made sure to spend at least some of my time follow an already-laid track. It's really tough to recover from a fall in the thick stuff when you don't have a lot of room to work with.

- Practicing the "frog hop" to free the front of the board is useful, but demands a lot of core strength.

- Moving the bindings on your board back one notch or more helps keep the board on rather than in the powder.

- Oh yeah, be sure to wear a helmet, and ride with someone nearby.

There's more to say, but I wonder if anyone else has some experiences, tips, or questions related to riding in the trees. It's a great way to extend the enjoyment of mellow terrain.

Last edited by John on Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bernwern » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:46 am

Looks good to me....I love tree challenge :) Especially since they don't really allow it in the midwest.

I will add these pieces of advice:

-If you eat it in the non-groomed runs or trees, and the snow is several feet deep, unstrap and lay on top of your board and paddle out like a surf-board. It takes far too much energy to walk and skating out is not a possibility.

-Avoid pine trees in deep powder....tree-wells kill more than avalanches.

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Postby daysailer1 » Fri May 16, 2008 2:02 am

Riding trees is just like riding moguls. The tree is the mogul. Of the four board performance concepts - tilt and pivot are your friends. Low edge angle and rotary from hips and knees. Oh, and NEVER ride in the trees by yourself. Tree wells are deadly and were deadly here in Colorado this season.

Butch Peterson put out this article this past winter.

Rock the pow!
by Butch Peterson, Roaring Sports Columnist
Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Believe the hype: It's deep -— real deep.
Deepcember rocked the slopes with the most cherry pow in recorded history. What a way to end 2007! Now that the holiday hoards are finally outta here, it’s time for every powder junkie to emerge from whatever wormhole he or she lives in and charge into some sick freshies.

Snowboarding powder is like floating weightless over a silent cloud. It's like riding a magic carpet that responds instantly to any twitch of your toes or twist of the hips. It’s like soaring off a 1,000-foot jump and landing effortlessly at the bottom of the lift. It’s like surfing an almost endless wave, and it can be downright addictive.

But before you point your stick from the top of Loge and blast off the catwalk into Steeplechase, here are a few snowboard powder tips that will keep you from cart wheeling like a human tomahawk down Kessler’s.

• Before a day of riding deep, deep powder, take the time to move your bindings tailward, so that you increase the surface area of the nose and worry less about bogging down in the deepest of the deep. If you ride backcountry on the Aspen Mountain Powder Tours, on a snowmobile, or, better yet, on a helicopter, you will be a lot happier with a powder-specific snowboard like Burton's Malolo or Fish or the Elan Ascent. They have longer, wider tips and narrower, smaller tails for greater flotation and maneuverability. You will be able to turn faster and ride longer, and your back quad will not be screaming at the end of each run.

• Powder riding is all about the float. If you are used to turning on hard pack by leaning over like a Eurocarver, you'll probably dig your edge in like a knife and sink. Instead, stay more on top of your board, as if you are board-sliding a rail. Once you gather enough speed, you can rip out some rooster tails and blast through the white room. But before you bank out the big plume, keep it flat, and float as if you were on a surf board.

• Ride faster! Powder snow has a lot more friction than packed snow. To make turns you're going to need a lot more speed. If you ride fast enough, you can raise the nose of the board above the snow and glide almost effortlessly through turns. However, if you ride too slowly, you will bog down and have to work to make turns — and who wants to do that?

• Use gravity and the fall line. Quick, choppy turns are for riding bumps or speed checking before jumps -— not for riding pow. When charging a fresh blanket of white, shape your turn with a long arc into the fall line. Feel the rush. Control your speed equally on toe and heel side turns, and keep up the rhythm until the end of the run. If you only check your speed on your heel side, and do huge arcs on the toe side, people will think you are a goober.

• If you don't have a Malolo and you ride in a duck stance, be kind to your knees. When shifting your pressure tailward, don't tuck the rear knee toward the front knee. Instead, flex the rear knee over the rear toes.

• When riding pow in the woods, you can ditch speed by pushing down on your tail at the end of a turn. Think of a boat in the water: If everyone is sitting in the stern the boat will not go very fast. This will allow you to slow down without completing your turn.

That's all for now. Hope you can take advantage of the great blessings of Ullr. Rock on!

Butch Peterson is a member of the AASI Snowboard Team, an instructor examiner in the AASI Rocky Mountain Division, and the Lead Snowboard Certification Trainer at the Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen.
AASI - Rocky Mountain Cert. 1
Winter Park Ski & Ride School Adult Program
Winter Park Ski Bike Program Certified Instructor
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Postby Snowride » Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:58 pm

That was quite a comprehensive lesson above. I just have one thing to say about tree-riding: DON'T LOOK AT THE TREES! Look at the space between them. That really works for me.
I'm a snowboarding grandma approaching 60. Got a place at Bear Valley California and would love to hang with others like me.
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Re: tree-riding

Postby bernwern » Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:39 am

Snowride wrote:That was quite a comprehensive lesson above. I just have one thing to say about tree-riding: DON'T LOOK AT THE TREES! Look at the space between them. That really works for me.

An excellent point I forgot to mention. Your brain has some type of stupid feature called "target fixation" which causes you to focus too much upon what you are looking at. This is why you see so many younger and new riders running into things, or having to crash to avoid hitting stuff. Always look for the spaces, never the trees :)

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Postby John » Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:43 am

Some of the best days this last season came in riding in the trees: Buttermilk, Snowmass, and A-basin (just a tiny bit) made up my western trip.

I also took a trip to New Hampshire. The snow at Loon was too frozen to go into the trees. The trees at Cannon were on a slope steeper than I would have liked, and going into neighboring (ex-ski area) Mittersell was an unusual experience.

My favorite tree riding may have been at Bretton Woods. Most of the area is pretty flat, so it's a good place to try tree riding without being intimidated by the pitch.
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