Be the best at … snowboarding


A great way to replicate that heavy-legged, burning sensation you get on the first day of snowboarding is to stand on a crash mat and jump in the air as high as you can for anything up to a minute, says Zoe Gillings, British number one and world number four. “This will really condition your legs and save you the aches and pains once you’re on holiday.”

Close your eyes

Perfecting your balance is vital because you can become unbalanced by the terrain so easily on a snowboard. “My favourite way is to stand in a snowboarding position on a Bosu ball (an exercise aid that looks like half a Swiss ball) with the flat side up,” Gillings says, “then I close my eyes and go down a favourite run in my head, bending into the turns, etc. It’s tough, but it works.”

Bend your knees

By far the most important technique tip is to keep your knees bent, Gillings says. “They act like springs and absorb bumps, but not if they’re straight. It’s instinctive to straighten them if you hit a slippery patch, a bit like steering the wrong way when a car skids, but it’s a recipe for disaster.”

Seize the moment

“If a run is daunting you, don’t over-think it by standing at the top and looking down at it. Just get your bindings on and go.”

Buy the right board

When buying a board, consider what you want it for. “A stiff board is best for speed as it’s more responsive, but a softer board is better for tricks and jumps as it’s more absorbent. It’s worth women getting female-specific boards with a narrower middle, as they make turning easier.”

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