Last month’s Pro Riding Tips feature was huge. We had more than 75 tips from several pro riders who covered everything from foot position to scoping out big drops. But there were a few things that weren’t covered. So I’m offering up my own list of Goon Riding Tips. Here goes.
When riding trees, hesitation is key. Look at one gap, then another. Then look back at the first gap, then again at the second. Slow down almost to a crawl. Keep looking back and forth between the two gaps. Start turning towards the second gap, then try to come back to the first. Get stuck like a pro.
If you think you’re about to get stuck and you can feel the back end going down, wait until the sled has come to a complete stop and then keep the throttle pinned for another 3-4 seconds. I don’t know what it does, but I see it happen a lot so it must work.
When dropping off cornices, roll up to the edge then try to stop suddenly. Wait until the nose of the sled teeters off the edge, then gas it. You’ve done it perfectly if you get run over by your sled.
Breaking in a brand new helmet is easy and really makes a difference in how the helmet is treated from then on. First, treat the helmet like it’s made of crystal as you remove it from its soft carry bag and gently hang it on your sled’s handlebar. Next, as you are fighting the ankle closures on your snow pants and are hopping around on one foot trying to keep from stepping down with your other foot, which only has a sock on it, be sure to knock the helmet off the handlebar so that it hits the sharp edge of the running board roll, removing no less than a dime’s size worth of paint from the top. Your helmet is officially broken in and will no longer be treated like crystal. Don’t forget to change your sock.
When shooting pictures on the snow, be sure to set your camera pack open and on top of your sled’s seat. That way, when the guy you are shooting comes and does a nice donut in front of you, the wave of snow will blast your backpack off of the seat and send it and your lenses flying into the depths of snow. If you’re lucky, they will also fall and hit the running board on the way down. Don’t worry, they can be fixed. How’s the limit on your credit card?
Always carry a few good one-liners and know when to use them. We were riding through trees on a dreary day one winter. A younger guy in the group is sidehilling along a drainage and gets absolutely buried in a tree well. The other three of us spend 20 minutes digging, lifting and pulling and finally get him out. He snaps on his goggles—which were fogged up—hops on his sled, goes 30 feet and sticks it nose-down in the bottom of the drainage. Without missing a beat, one guy standing by me says, “If we leave him there he can’t reproduce.”