You’re standing on top, trying to get the courage to drop in and drop off. The last thing you want to worry about is your board. Will I have enough speed to clear the rocks? Will my edges hold on the hardpack snow before the takeoff? My suggestion is that you answer these questions before hand by making sure your ride is tuned.

Wax is key to not only for speed, but also helps you turn your board up to 40% easier. A good hot wax can be your best friend when you need to:

1. Clear some rocks, trees, etc. in your fall line

2. be sure of your turns going into a takeoff

3. be able to stop effectively

Edges are the other thing to consider. Most big mountain riders keep their edges fairly sharp. The reason is that if it’s deep pow, edges don’t really matter. But, if you find some areas that are wind blown with hardpack snow or ice, you’ll need an edge to be able to turn, stop, and maneuver. If this happens at the top of a cliff and all you remember is grinding your edges off with a file for the rails, it will be too late.

You can get the best of both worlds by putting a 2 or 3 degree bevel on your edges. That will keep them sharp enough to turn, but will be forgiving enough to ride rails without catching them.

It’s your decision, but consider yourself warned, and take advantage of these steps to ensure confidence, style, and soft landings.