Terrain based learning at Brian Head!

By Mountain Mama \ January 19 2015

Terrain based learning is a new way to teach skiing and snowboarding. Brian Head has adopted this teaching style, and it really gives people a chance to “feel” what they’re supposed to be doing on the snow.

If you’re just learning to ski, it can be very scary. The thought of even getting a little speed at all may send you into a panic attack. With terrain based learning, there are small banks, bumps and curves for you to naturally go around. You steer toward a slight bank, and your skis will know what to do. You will go up and turn-the terrain does it for you vs you trying to work out how to turn and steer your skis. If you watch really good skiers, you will see them following the terrain. There is a jump, they jump, a bank they go to the side and around. Notice, they don’t lock their knees in place and become like a board, but gently soften their knees and let gravity do the work. This teaching is the same. It is more progressive than the “old” way of telling kids to “pizza!”-which is the wedging of the skis. That teaching is more about stopping all the time so you don’t end up down the hill and crashing. What you want to be learning is to keep going in a safe way at a safe speed. These bumps and banks do the turning and slowing for you vs going fast and then slamming on the brakes.

We actually went to Snowbasin last season, and if you check out the video on my blog, Bren is in a terrain based learning area. I can tell you, we went round and round and round that area because he felt very confident in that setting. Even though he is a really good little boarder, he liked the way the terrain helped him gain speed and steer and he felt safe.

For beginners:

-start on a pretty flat slope and get the feel of your skis

-venture into a little more of a us slope; down one side, ½ way up another and slide back down

-roller zone-few banks and berms where turning is practiced

-longer area of combined features

-ready to hit the slopes.

Brian Head now incorporates this method into all of their lessons. And speaking of Brian Head, it really is a must go. Referring back to my earlier blog link, we had a blast! I regret to say we haven’t been back in awhile, but as always, it is something I try to do every year. Located in southern Utah, it is a resort you can either fly into Las Vegas or Salt Lake City.

A few fun facts about Brian Head to end with:

-Highest base in Utah at 9600'

-Highest summit is 10,970'-even though it is in southern Utah

-Receiving over 360" snow a year

-Really great mountain biking in the summer

 

 

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