Skip to main content

Improve your snowboarding edge transition with this easy-to-follow rule

Linking turns is a fundamental of learning to snowboard. This advice will help

The key fundamental of snowboarding and the aim for all beginners is the hallowed ground of linked turns. Most likely, you’ll start by side slipping, with a little falling leaf to move across the hill — using your edge to zig-zag down the hill without turning. Then you’ll want to start working toward S turns, and this means transitioning from heel to toe edge or vice versa.

Every snowboarder you see has been in this position — yes, even that guy carving a snowboard and sending huge spins off jumps. Linking your turns together isn’t easy, but without it, you’ll find yourself stuck in a thigh-burning position all day. Perhaps the biggest challenge associated with linked turns is edge transition. This is the moment when you shift your weight from one edge (the uphill edge) to the other (the downhill edge) in order to initiate your snowboard turn. Doing this at the right moment, without tripping over that edge, requires practice, but we’ve got a gem that can help you out next time you’re hitting the slopes.


As Malcolm Moore explains in this video, when you’re snowboarding, you need to imagine there’s an arrow pointing out from you in the direction you’re moving (not the direction your board is pointing). The earliest point in a turn you can make any edge change is when your board matches the line of that arrow.

To understand this, it’s important to know that the angle your snowboard is pointing at and the direction that you’re traveling in — your momentum — are not necessarily the same thing. Think about when you’re side slipping. If you were to draw an arrow from the front of your snowboard, it would be pointing across the slope. Draw another for your direction of travel, and it would be pointing down the mountain, often at 90º to your snowboard arrow.

This is the same if you skid out of a turn — which most beginner snowboarders will do — rather than carving your snowboard turns. Your snowboard finishes the turn pointing across the mountain, but your momentum is still taking you downhill, meaning the snowboard’s direction is not aligned with your momentum arrow. If you’ve ever tried to change edge at this moment, you probably took an absolute whipper as your downhill edge caught and threw you off balance, downhill.

Instead, you need to control your skid and get your snowboard moving back across the slope on either your heel edge or toe edge. In other words, align your arrows. Only then should you begin to initiate your next turn.

The next time you head out snowboarding, think about visualizing these two arrows. Ask yourself two questions: Where is my snowboard angle arrow pointing? Where is my direction of travel arrow pointing? When these arrows align, it’s time to turn.

As you progress your turns, you’ll find that these arrows spend more time in alignment. Your skid turns become carved, at least in part, and you spend more time with your snowboard in the fall line of the mountain. In both of these positions, your arrows are aligned.

Trust me: As someone who took a fair few whippers, I learned this the hard way. Fortunately, you don’t have to.

Editors' Recommendations

Tom Kilpatrick
A London-born outdoor enthusiast, Tom took the first ticket out of suburban life. What followed was a twelve-year career as…
Snowboard season is almost here, and the most insane Burton Step-On bindings just dropped
We can't get enough of Burton Step-On bindings
Burton step on for kids and splitboarders

If there's one thing better than new snowboarding tech to get you stoked for winter, it's new snowboarding tech that makes the best gear on the market available to a broader audience. This winter, Burton Snowboards is adding to its range of industry-leading step-on boots and bindings, with these newest Burton step-on bindings paving the way for split boarders and groms to step in and shred — no more strapping in or sitting down.

The good news for young shredders and backcountry powder chasers is that you don't have long to wait. The Burton Step-On Grom arrives on October 3rd, along with the new colorways of the established Burton Step-on binding lines. Burton Step-on Split bindings will follow shortly after, on November 20th. If you're not a part of the Burton Step-On revolution yet, here's why these newest additions should sway you.

Read more
‘Historically strong’ El Niño may wreak havoc on ski and snowboard season
From huge dumps to long dry spells, what does El Niño mean for your local ski area?
A man skis on a clear run, with mountains and trees behind him.

It seems surreal to be looking toward winter 2023 while there are still ski resorts with lifts rolling for summer skiing into August. True powder hounds know that while summer might mean packing away their ski gear, this is when you should be making plans and sorting your snowboarding gear. Most importantly, it's a time to keep an eye on weather patterns to start predicting where your best bet is for hitting the steep and deep the following winter.

We've had some unusual winter conditions these past few years. As well as this year's ski season rolling into summer, there have been records set for warm winters and freak weather patterns across the U.S. Mainly, these are attributed to climate change's effect on U.S. winters, but winter 2023 looks set to be affected by a weather phenomenon unrelated to climate change. According to the NOAA, there is a greater than 90% chance that the current 'historically strong' El Niño pattern forming will continue through winter 2023 and is likely to wreak havoc on skiing and snowboarding across the U.S.

Read more
Hiking in hot weather: The essential rules everyone should follow
Stay safe and recognize the warning signs with these summer trail top tips
A silhouette of some hikers against the sun

Dreams of summer hiking have kept plenty of trail lovers going through the winter while their favorite hiking routes have been deep in hibernation. Long days under the sun make the summer the perfect time to get hundreds of miles under your feet, but hiking in hot weather also comes with its challenges.

The dangers of hot weather hiking are genuine. If you aren't prepared, hiking in the summer can be easily as dangerous and challenging as hiking in mid-winter. If you spend enough days on trails in the summer heat, you'll come across someone who wasn't ready for the heat and is dazed, confused, or even in need of emergency rescue. Avoid becoming part of this crowd with these hot-weather hiking tips.

Read more