Freestyle Features Explained
Posted by Super User on Wednesday, 28 January 2015 in Blog
Freestyle Features Explained
Freestyle snowsports is growing in popularity and offers a new and exciting way to enjoy the slopes. For those looking to try it out, here is a simple freestyle features guide. All these features are included as part of our freestyle parks at Snozone every Thursday and Friday night.
The purpose of a kicker (or jump) is to allow a freestyler to boost and catch airtime in order to execute a variety of tricks mid-flight. Kickers vary in difficulty, those most commonly found are the table top, step up, step down, and cheese wedge kickers.
The step up jump is the most forgiving as the landing zone is relatively high compared to other jumps, meaning a softer landing. This is ideal for learning tricks that you’re still unsure of, or if you are just starting out - it’s better to hone your skills in those early days on a step up or table top feature. Alternatively step down features have a relatively low landing zone which allows for longer airtime but results in a higher impact and therefore recommended for more advanced freestylers.
The Quarterpipe, again as the name suggests, is basically one quarter of a pipe made of snow. Usually a longer run with a steep transition, quarterpipes give you great airtime to perform grabs and tricks (the world record for highest air on a quarterpipe is 10.6 metres!) The idea is to run up the wall flying almost vertically into the air to land back, or re-enter, the same wall. It’s one of the most impressive features out there but takes practice to master.
Boxes, Rails & Pipes
A multitude of rails, boxes and pipes are usually the most common features found in freestyle parks - here are some of the most popular:
A solid, rectangular box usually made of wood or plastic with rounded metal edges that you usually hop onto. Boxes are easier to balance on than other rails and great for beginners. With boxes it is important to remember as soon as you’re on the box you can’t use your edges, so keep your base flat.
The gas pipe is a basic version of a low hand rail, allowing riders to experience the sensation of sliding sideways. It’s basically a plastic pipe – the kind that road maintenance crews use – half buried in the snow. They’re great for beginners learning to get their balance right before moving on to more challenging rails.
The handrail was first appropriated by skateboarders but skiers and snowboarders have made it their own, even if there is no legitimate reason for having handrails on the mountainside! Handrails come in all shapes and sizes, some with kinks, some with slopes and some just plain square. It’s best to start out on small rails that are low enough that you can ollie onto, then progress onto harder rails with side-on take-offs when you have the skills to slide down them.
Essentially these are vertical box rails with a flat horizontal bar and sloping rails either side, slightly shaped like an “A” but with a flat top. The idea is to slide all the way over the rail or even take enough speed to air over the flat section.
Freestyle parks are never the same, however they are usually only found at the largest resorts. At Snozone we like to keep our freestylers on their toes and regularly change our freestyle features. Below is an example of what you can find at our freestyle parks on any given Thursday or Friday evening.