How to snowboard on Flat & Narrow Long Runs(Cat Tracks)


Many beginner snowboarders say they are not good at riding Flat & Narrow Long Runs(Cat Tracks). Even those who can ride on intermediate slopes, some of them are not good at Cat Tracks run. Here are some practice methods and ideas for the getting better at Cat Tracks in my lesson.



Cat Tracks are not easy for beginner snowboarders even intermediate riders

I have done a lot of beginner and intermediate snowboarding lessons. And Many of them were not good at Cat Tracks.
For beginners, they think intermediate slopes easier than Cat Trucks. Because it is possible to ride the heel side pendulum(zigzag riding) on the intermediate slope, but it is necessary to make narrow turns on a Cat Track.

There are many Cat Tracks at the ski resort Whistler.

In Whistler-Blackcomb, where I am snowboarding, the Cat Tracks leading to Seventh Heaven are especially famous.
Because seventh Heaven has many great intermediate slopes, it is an attractive spot for intermediate snowboarders.
On the other hand, they have to use the Cat Track to reach the 7th Heaven chair lift.

The reason They are not good at Cat Track is because they think Riding With A Flat Base is difficult

The main reason why beginners find it difficult to riding a Cat Track is that they are not good at riding with a flat base.

Many beginner-intermediate snowboarders are always on an edge and never riding straight. They are aware of the toe side turn or the heel side turn.
That’s why you should practice riding with a flat base.

Let’s stand like a balancing toy

First, let’s think about how to ride on a flat base.
Relax and stand in the middle of the board like a balancing toy. Also bend your knees slightly.

At this time, be careful not to open your hips forward. Opening your upper body forward by twisting your shoulders makes it easier for you to put your weight on your heels. The back hand should be above the tail of the board.

Please check your posture carefully before riding.

Practice to riding straight

Please look for wide and gentle slopes. It is a slope that is almost flat like a Cat Track.
Make sure there are no other skiers or snowboarders before practicing. Try to stop on both the heel and the toe side.

As much as possible, try to increase the distance that you can ride straight like the demonstration in Photo ② below.

We go down the slope on a flat base, then we try to stop on both our heel side and the toe side edge.

Once you feel the above exercises are easy, let’s try adding in a small jump when we are on a flat base. When you jumping, try to keep the board level as much as possible. With this practice, you will be able to get more comfortable on a flat base.

In my lesson experience, after the above practice, about 70% people will feel it is easier for riding on Cat Tracks.

It feels easier to have your back/blind side face the mountain side

When snowboarding on a cat track, it feels easier to have your back facing the mountain side. This is because the field of view is wider and it is easy to adjust the speed/stop suddenly if needed on the heel side edge.

Please see the picture above.
The person surrounded by red is a goofy stance rider with his right foot in front. Visibility is secured, but there is a cliff (steep slope) immediately behind him. If you are not used to ride on Cat Track, it is easy to feel scared. The person surrounded by yellow is a rider with a regular stance with his left foot in front. Its quite scary when people will pass him on his blind side.

The person surrounded by blue is a rider with a regular stance with his left foot in front. Most people who will want to pass him will pass on his toe side and he can see the skiers/snowboarders who are trying to pass. If you are not good at Cat Tracks, I recommend you to stay here similar to the snowboarder surrounded by blue.

Practice toe side speed control!

The Cat Track does not necessarily guarantee that your ideal position where your back will be facing the mountain side. So let’s practice toe side speed control!

The stop on the toe side of Practice to slide straight drill introduced earlier is effective.

Also, the Toe side pendulum practice introduced in 9 Tips for the first day of snowboarding for beginners is also effective.

Let’s improve the toe side speed control technique again by combining the above two exercises.

Quick edge switching technique

So far, I’ve introduced some tips for snowboarding at the Cat Track, but the last one I will teach you is the edge switching technique. If you can switch edges quickly, you won’t think it is difficult to snowboard on Cat Tracks.

Please see the video below.

You might think it is difficult. It may not be easy, but you can do something similar. Many students have tried it in my lesson. As a result, the edge to edge changes are much better. Please try this exercise on a gentle, almost flat slope.

Try to move only the lower body without moving the upper body as much as possible. The movement is like a dance. You can do it at home too.

This video also good advice for you. Speed control on the heel side is also important!

Also, I recommend you should read the content below.