There’s something mystifying and lovely being in the cold snowy mountains, sipping a cup of tea or coffee in front of a fireplace, or spending a holiday in the cabin. But perhaps one of the main beauties of being there is to enjoy snowboarding!
According to the 2014 SIA Snow Sports Fact Sheet, more than 7.3 million had participated in snowboarding between 2012 and 2013. Although it dipped slightly, there were still more who joined than the ones who opted for cross-country.
If you’re interested to try it, then you must be fully prepared including making sure that there’s a snowboard ramp available.
How to Design a Snowboard Ramp
Do all types of snowboard rides require a ramp? The answer is no. But you can always incorporate it to your final ride, training, or even both.
Training: One of the main uses of a snowboard ramp is for training. A ramp can be designed to mimic a slope. Before the rider gets to ride a real one, he or she can get accustomed to the height, shape, and design of the slope with the help of the ramp.
Absence of snow: It may seem as if resorts are open throughout the year, but the reality is that they aren’t. At some point, they have to temporarily close or operate in a skeletal crew. One of the foremost reasons is the condition of the snow. It may not be suitable for winter sports such as snowboarding (even if snow may be available all year round). What happens if you want to train and you can’t get to a resort or there’s none that’s open? You can use a snowboard ramp for that.
Safety: This is in connection to training. A snowboard ramp may be used to encourage safety especially among beginners and young riders such as teens. They can ride minus the snow and with full support below like an airbag to soften the impact. They can practice their techniques first, make them more comfortable doing them, and integrate safety methods to significantly reduce the risks of injury or accident when playing.
A snowboard ramp can come in different designs depending on the objective, skill you wish to learn, and the user, to name a few.
For example, there’s the table top snowboard ramp, which is used for a snowboard jump of the same name. The name, moreover, may have been obtained because of the design of the ramp. It begins with an incline then proceeds with a flat surface, which is more like a table top. The ramp then ends with a point for a jump. There’s also a slight variation of this structure, in which a flat surface is between a pair of inclines. The great thing about this ramp is that the impact of a fall, whether it’s short of the landing or right at the landing, is softer. This is because the momentum is gradually reduced as you go through the flat surface.
You can also find a half-pipe snowboard ramp. This doesn’t have to be made of snow but can also be of concrete or wood, especially if you’re training to ride in a more urban setting. As we described above, the ramp can be two pieces that are then joined together or one single ramp with a dip in the middle.
A slight variation of the half-pipe snowboard ramp is the quarter pipe ramp, which is basically half of the half pipe. It is around 10 to 20 feet in height.
A very popular kind of ramp is the drop-in ramp. It includes a mound, which is actually a few feet from the ground. The rider climbs with his or her snowboard on top and, when he or she is ready, slides down the ramp. The snowboard ramp therefore increases the speed of the rider as he or she goes through the ramp.
How do you get the ramp?
Most resorts and training camps already have a snowboard ramp, but you can always build it. Fortunately, you can already find a lot of plans online.
A snowboard ramp can be as simple as this:
Ramp on Snow
Winter is a great time to build a snowboard ramp since if you have a few inches of these in your yard, then you can have one right in your home. However, nothing still beats going to a resort, where snow is incredibly abundant, and the temperature is just right to maintain the needed snow conditions.
1. To create the ramp, pick an area that has some slope. Keep in mind that the ramp is mainly for launching, and the excitement and training come from really navigating the slopes. But if you’re new to this, find an area that’s not too hilly.
2. Create a huge block of snow. Your ramp height can be a few feet—say, 3 to 5 feet—as a start. You can modify it once you’re getting more confident with your tricks or skills.
3. Make the slope. Cut a portion of the block until you can create a slope. Smooth the curve out with the help of a shovel blade. You can always use your boot if you don’t have it, but the surface may not be as smooth as you’d like it to be.
4. If you’re planning to travel a distance toward the ramp, you also need to clear the path as well and smoothen it with ice and water. Use the shovel blade. You can also add some markers on each side to emphasize the path further.
Ramp on a Different Terrain
Although snowboarding is often associated with ski resorts, it can also be performed on the streets—a growing sport known as urban snowboarding.
This means that you have the option to pursue it even if there’s not much snow around. In fact, you can already practice with it even when there’s not much snow (think of snowboarding right in the middle of summer!).
But because there’s not much or even zero snow around, you have to learn to use other materials. I recommend wood for a number of reasons. First, it’s easy to get and work with. Second, it’s cheaper to build. Third, it’s more mobile. Just remember, however, that wood is not as durable as concrete so you have to make sure that it’s solidly built and you check the structure before you use it.
The Ultimate Outdoor
To build a drop-in ramp made of wood, first you have to make the post, which shall be connected to your ramp. This is also the one that’s going to give you height before you slide down the ramp. The ramp takes more time to build since you have to determine the best angle—one that gives you more speed without ever losing control. Of course, the ramp itself should be safe. Here’s a complete instruction on how to build such ramp.
1. Measure the available space. The amount of space you need depends on the kinds of tricks that you wish to perform. If you need to do big air, then you need a higher ramp.
2. Decide on the material you wish to use. As mentioned, the ramp may be snow, concrete, or wood. The wood ramp is ideal if you’re not planning to use it for a longer period or if there are not too many people who are going to make use of it. The snow, of course, is the closest thing you can ever have to an actual snowboard ride. A ramp made of snow should be densely packed, more like transformed into a mound with an incline. In other words, you need plenty of snow.
What are the kinds of snowboard competitions?
You are never a snowboarder unless you try to join any of the many competitions. Your training in the snowboard ramp should lead you to this. But if you can’t join any, then at least you’ll have an idea on how a snowboard ramp is being used, especially in a more professional setting.
FIS Snowboard Championships
Aside from Winter Olympics, you can also compete in other snowboard events such as FIS Snowboard Championships, which is organized by a recognized snow sport association. A competition is slated this January 15 to 25, 2015, in Kreischberg, Austria. This competition is significant since it’s not held annually but held every other odd year.
Men and women compete in various categories such as giant slalom, slalom, snowboard cross, parallel slalom, slopestyle, and half pipe. For 2015, the event will be held together with the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships.
Nine Queens 2015
There’s also the Nine Queens 2015, between March 15 and 20, 2015, in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in Austria. Sponsored by Suzuki, one of the highlights of the competition is a mega structure that resembles a castle made of snow. This event is open only for elite females.
However, you can still give it a shot by joining the online video competition called “Wanna Be a Queen?” If you get chosen, then you can be part of the wild card. The online competition will begin on January 2015, so you may want to start filming your video. You can get more updates in its official Facebook page.
Note: Males, on the other hand, compete in Nine Knights, which will be held later on April 5 to 10, 2015, in Livigno-Mottolino in Italy.
Winter X Games in Aspen
One of the most anticipated events for any snowboarder, especially those in the United States, is the Winter X Games. Sponsored and organized by ESPN, this is THE place to meet and mingle with some of the toughest and best players in the world, which include around a hundred of Olympians. If you can’t get to compete, then surely you’ll learn plenty of tips and tricks from none other than the veterans and the superstars of the field. If that isn’t enough, it’s a one huge party with lots of music from the likes of Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg, some games on the sidelines, and a full-blown festival.
Winter X Games will be from January 22 to 25, 2015, in Buttermilk Mountain base. The festival villages and competitions are open to the public. For more information, visit here.
If you’re in the United States, you can catch the Revolution Tour in the Copper Mountain. It is currently ongoing but it’s expected to end on March 14, 2015. Players compete in big air, snowboard cross, half pipe, and slope style.
Air & Style Innsbruck
This is one of the biggest competitions for freestyle snowboarders. It’s part of a tour, which already began in Beijing, China, last December 5 to 6, 2014. In 2015, the journey resumes, this time where the competition originated, in Innsbruck, Austria, from January 16 to 17. The third stop will be in the following month, from February 21 to 22, in Los Angeles, California.
The Ultimate Outdoor
Unlike other snowboard competitions, the setting here is more structured with the snowboard ramp already created for the athletes. Still it remains one of the favorite freestyle competitions in the world, with thousands of people coming in droves to watch it. To keep yourself updated with the event, you can check out its Facebook page.
A snowboard ramp is more than a structure. It adds complexity, fun, and dynamism to any snowboard event or training. It also makes the rider more comfortable and confident in playing. You may not be able to compete now, but by constantly practicing and using the snowboard ramp, you will get there. You will be one of the elites—and that is the perfection of your passion.