Club-Ski CERN ch snowboard tutor: Different Teaching Styles.


Tutor – Different Teaching Styles

Swiss Style

French Style



This page is not intended to be a nationalistic / patriotic debate. It is based purely on our own experience of training our instructors under the French system (currently under the FFS) and under the Swiss System (SSBS / J+S). We have no experience of any other structures (although some of us have noticed that Austrian instructors advocate a similar style to French and Italian instructors maintain the swiss style), but if you would like to contribute we would love to hear from you.

French Style

The French style of snowboarding is very similar to that seen in slalom and giant-slalom races. It is characterised by a strong independence between the upper and lower body, namely:

  • The upper part of your body remains fixed

  • Rotation is induced from the hips downwards

On the backside turn the snowboarder focusses on tucking the rear knee into the front knee. On the frontside turn the snowboarder focusses on rotating the back knee away from the front knee. With advanced carver turns this style (by flexion) can allow for very fast edge changing and is hence a style adopted by many racers. However, our experience finds the following difficulties:

  • It is not obvious for the novice snowboarder

  • It is very difficult to avoid counter-rotation

  • Other piste users have difficulty in anticipating your changes in direction.

Comment: The french style has a strong influence from the FFS (Federation Francais du Ski) where ski monitors have always taught that the upper body should be fixed and downhill facing. This style is favoured by the user of modern alpine snowboards which have a good sidecut. Even a snowboarder with very limited experience may easily turn simply by facing downhill and putting the board on one of its edges.

Swiss Style

The style of the SSBS is pure rotational. From the very basic turn to the most advanced carve turns the upper body anticipates, guides and follows-through the rotation of the hips and legs. This has the following advantages:

  • For the beginner the rotation is used as a teaching aid (the upper body faces and guides the student).

  • This is very visual.

  • For the more advanced turns the rotation can add dynamics and increase the effect of the carving.

  • An extra bonus is the simple fact that because you are facing the direction in which you are snowboarding then other piste users may easily anticipate any change of direction which you are about to make.

Comment: The swiss style is very similar to surfing on water where (since the feet are not attached to the surf) it is important to "drive" the surf by turning with the surf in the same direction. This style can be applied to all snowboard types independent of sidecut.
The two animations clearly show the difference in style.

Non-rotational Style

Recently "effortless" boarding rising from a mixture of backcountry free-ride in the US & Canada and smooth minimalistic rotational styles emerging in free-style in Switzerland and France are leading to a new school of non-rotational style.
This style is being adopted more and more at advanced levels… come and learn it with us!

What do we teach?

We teach all styles and let the students decide on which they prefer.

Hybrid solutions often seem the best…


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