In this section I will explain to you how to find good terrain, or an area where you can practice your mountainboarding skills and improve with relative ease. Obviously safety of yourself and others is of paramount importance so I will be giving pointers in that area as well.
What am I looking for?
What you’re looking for at first, whilst relatively inexperienced is dry conditions on gently rolling hills, the ideal terrain to look for is dirt or short grass. Preferably hills with a flat area at the end and definitely NOT ones with a big drop, a fence, a busy road or something equally worrying at the end. You also need it to be relatively quiet and free of people walking their dogs or just walking for pleasure.
North Staffordshire, Berry Hill Fields
When to go
Try to get out on a sunny day, the wheels of your board may sink slightly if the ground is wet, but wet terrain does make for a softer landing so the choice is yours (wet conditions may cause damage to your wheel bearings). Make sure you go during the day when you have the most visibility for yourself and for the safety of others surrounding you.
Remember that mountainboards were made for snowboarders when the snow melted, so don’t perform well in icy conditions.
Always check your board is ready to go find construction here
Why not go where I already know?
One of the best parts of mountainboarding is seeing new landscapes as you go speeding down them to the next horizon, and the chances are if you know where the best spot is somebody else might too, which is not necessarily a problem however the fewer people that area around the better really.
It goes without saying that our aim is to leave the area we’ve been using in the same condition we found it, please don’t give other boarders a bad name by leaving litter or by intentionally damaging the terrain.
Finding Tougher Tracks
Arguably height is not as big a factor as how smooth the ground is, if there are big chunks of the ground missing or it looks like Swiss cheese, then it is considerably harder because your weight is constantly being changed side to side and back to front and it is exhausting but exciting, it is also a fantastic way to improve balance which is key for steeper tracks.
Steeper tracks get a lot of speed and can be very fun, when looking for steeper terrain simply find the high ground and look for a dirt track or short grass going down the hill at about a 45 degree angle, the best routes I have found have a variety of steep tracks and tough terrain tracks interlinking with each other.
Traveling further afield
Each county/country will have it’s highest peaks and steepest tracks however that doesn’t quantify for a good track, a lack of the public excepting a few friends often makes for a good day out and your boarding experience need be no different, if you are unable to drive trains are ideal to scout the ground out in between your two chosen locations as you can see from the comfort of your seat, places that might be worth checking out in the future and there is a lot of room for your equipment.
I find myself constantly noting where and when I will be able to explore somewhere I got a glimpse of, this is the beauty of it, anywhere of vague interest becomes an opportunity each as significant as the last. A skill I have developed recently is to use google maps to find where hills and mountains are, signified by their gradient lines (the closer together that the lines are the steeper the incline will be).
Redoing old routes – return to roots
Going back where you started is a nostalgic event, you’ll find yourself reassessing the landscape and where you could have started, inevitably going down the same track you did initially and finding it so easy it will give a good confidence boost, as well as looking at the easy track you started you begin to remember and engage with terrains and routes which you labeled as “Impossible!” a short time ago, finding them a challenge but every bit rewarding, concluding my improvements gave me a second wind (not that I needed it) to continue, to improve.
The “Gist” of things
Look for a high point in the land to assess your surroundings and your skill of judging how good a route will be from distance will only come with time and practice.
Look for dirt or short grass as thick grass will slow you down and often can get caught around your wheel. Reasonably dry conditions are preferable to maintain control of your board.
Always look for a new place to go, be it local or travel out for the day with some friends, when you start to gain confidence in your mountainboarding abilities move onto more coarse terrain. Make sure the land is either public property or you have permission from the landowner. .
Don’t do something you’re not totally comfortable with – always err on the side of caution.
There is more to mountainboarding that meets the eye, with the base skills you can progress to new ways to use your mountainboard such as competitions or even introducing new equipment like kites or brakes and you will find you can go almost anywhere.