A snowboard butter is a snowboarding trick that can be performed on flatland, slightly steep slopes and even on halfpipes. The butter is named so because when doing the trick, you are able to effortlessly maneuver a snowboard so that it all looks as smooth as butter.
Typically, the butter move involves slightly exerting more weight on one end of the snowboard and lifting up the other end. This gives you more agility as with one end lifted and the other end gliding smoothly on the ice, you are able to perform a number of additional maneuvers as well. So a snowboard butter is often the preliminary move which you must master before you can go on to perform more complex tricks.
However, before you decide to try your hands on a snowboard butter move, it is highly advised that you should have extensive practice at regular snowboarding. This means you should have a solid control of the board on your regular moves and only then should you start with the butter move.
Following are some helpful tips to get you started on the snowboard butter move. These tips will help you stay safe and master the move the right way.
Practicing at Standstill
You know the basics of a snowboard butter, so why not try it at standstill before you do it on a slope. Simply stand firmly on your snowboard in a normal position. Next, bend slightly towards the tail, while also keeping your knee bent. This will eliminate the weight on your front foot. Lift up your front foot slightly so that the snowboard will lift with it. This is the basic butter position. With the front foot lifted up, you can glide on your back foot while directing the snowboard conveniently with your front foot.
Alternatively, you can exert your weight towards the front foot in a similar way and lift up the back foot. Either way, you will need to train your legs and knees for the move. So practicing the lifting part at standstill will be really helpful before you actually do the butter move on snow.
Controlling the Press
An important part of the butter move is to lift the edge of the snowboard just right. If you lift it too little, it wouldn’t give you enough agility for the butter move. If you lift it too much, you run the risk of losing your balance and falling off your feet. Ideally, you should lift up your snowboard’s edge about 4 inches or 10 cm. This will give you a great balance between agility as well as stability.
Again, it would be wiser to practice the right degree of press at standstill. With enough practice, you will almost develop an instinct for instantly finding the right degree of pressing when performing a butter move. You may tweak the recommended amount slightly to suit your own personal style.
The Right Leg Position
Another very important aspect of a snowboard butter move is the position of the back leg. Most snowboarders tend to bend their back leg inwards when lifting the front end of a snowboard. This can work fine but the problem with this position is that it puts a significant strain on the leg and is not a very sustainable position.
A far better way is to bend the back leg outwards so that the knee is pointing slightly outwards and is in sync with the foot. This position is more relaxed, easy and more convenient. Consequently, it allows you to perform the butter move better without straining your leg.
Weight Shift and Lean
A common mistake made by snowboarders who are performing a butter move for the first time is that they simply lean without actually shifting their weight. The key to a butter move is shifting your weight on one foot and leaving the other foot light enough to easily lift the snowboard’s edge off the snow.
Leaning alone does not do the trick. In fact, leaning can disturb the stability of your stance. So your real focus, when performing a butter move, should be on the weight shift, with your knees bent stably as discussed above.
Making the Spins
A key part of a butter move is the spin which you perform once you have mastered the pressing. Making a spin is quite easy once you are able to lift a snowboard edge and stay stable. To make a spin on a slope, simply lift the front edge of the snowboard and use it to direct the board. Use the back foot to pivot the snowboard and keep it stable. This way, you can make full 180 degree spins and turns simply by directing the snowboard with your lifted front foot.
After you have sufficiently mastered the 180-degree spins, you can start doing 360-degree spins while performing a butter move. This is how a 360-degree spin works: you lift the front edge of the snowboard, use it to rotate to your right or left and continue doing so until you are back in your formal direction. So, for instance, if you were doing directly downhill, you will still be moving downhill at the end of a 360-degree spin.
Start with the Basics
As with any snowboard move, it is best to perform the butter move at a slope that isn’t very steep and at a site with not many people around you. It also helps if the slope you are practicing on doesn’t have any significant obstacles. This will give you a free and easy area to practice and master all the basics discussed above. Once you think that the butter move is as smooth and easy for you as butter, it is time to practice it on steeper slopes. On steeper slopes, you can perform various advanced moves by using the butter move as the starting point. So the butter move is really the launching pad which will eventually lead you to learn and perform a wide range of advanced snowboarding tricks and moves.