Pro snowboarder Danny Davis offers solid advice and good vibes for getting the most out of the slopes Don’t be fooled by all the corporate logos at the Winter X Games. Snowboarding has as much soul as its warm-weather cousin, surfing. Few balance the business and soulful sides of the sport as well as Burton Team rider Danny Davis. At 24 he has a pile of Dew Tour and Grand Prix wins but still spends time snowboarding the backcountry. He has even launched a line of boards with his favorite band, the Grateful Dead. Here are his tips to get you riding.
“Anyone who has tried snowboarding has caught their edge and slammed,” Davis says, laughing. Avoid that by picking the right board shape. “Reverse camber boards are bent like a pickle and help you learn how to turn.” Board size is equally important. “You don’t want a board that towers over your head,” says Davis. “Find one that reaches your nose or chin. Learning on a smaller board is easier.”
The lure of the chairlift is strong, but don’t head straight to the mountaintop. “Take your time and learn about having a snowboard under your feet.” Davis also recommends a few lessons and a helmet, because falling is part of the process. “You’ll know when you’re done with the bunny hill because you’ll be bored and want more,” he says.
Fresh powder is the sport’s pinnacle. “You ride on top of it, and it feels like you’re floating,” Davis says. To find some, be the first snowboarder at a resort after a big snowfall. “You can hike 15 minutes and find some fresh powder.” Just be careful if you head to the backcountry. “Always have a shovel, a beacon and a buddy. If you really want to get into it, you should get an avalanche class under your belt.”
A splitboard is a snowboard that splits into two cross-country skis. “You put skins on the bottom of the skis that let you walk up the hill without slipping backward, and then you snowboard down,” Davis says. “It’s not easy, but you never have to pay for a lift ticket with a splitboard. You climb a whole mountain and then you get to ride down. It’s rad.”