Beginner Tips for Rails on A Snowboard

If you’re starting to develop a good skill set on the snowboard and keen to push yourself even further, then learning how to ride rails without getting worked might just be the challenge you’ve been looking for!

Let me start by saying this:

You can learn to ride rails/boxes without getting worked!

Just take your time when practicing the basics and you will soon learn when to commit or when to bail out and try again.

There is a sweet spot on the rail with your snowboard and when you start to get good, you know if you’re locked in or if it’s time to bail….

It all just comes from time on the Rail/Box and a good balanced stance.

Trust me when I say, if you think you can just go and hit a rail without visualising it first, you will get smacked!

Today we are going to talk about our stance on the rail, our approach and exit when stepping it up to becoming a park Rat.

By the end of this post you will know how to:

  • 50-50 a box
  • Board slide a box
  • Nose press a box

Let’s start by talking about our stance!

You really should know what our basic stance is by now, if you don’t go and check out this post……………..

For the sake of the demo’s we will only be hitting the boxes with these progressions, as you become more confident you can step it up to the rails.

APPROACH INTO ANY RAIL on your Snowboard

Before you hit any jump or rail you should always do a scope run first (Ride through the park without hitting anything), we do this to see if any changes have been made to the takeoff or landings from the previous night’s grooming.

I recommend you do this any time you enter the terrain park for the first run of the day, it’s extremely easy to get injured if you don’t know what you’re doing!

So, once you have scoped out the rail run, and everything looks good, we will now talk about how to approach a rail.

Speed is your friend when hitting boxes or rails for the first time, as long as your not doing anything too crazy, good speed will help you get on and off the rail quickly and safely.

Wait for someone to come by and watch how fast they are going.

If it’s your first time hitting a box, I would recommend pointing your snowboard straight at the box from about 15ft (5 meters).

This should be a good amount of speed to carry you and off the box without getting stuck or going to slow.




Depending what trick you are doing on the rail, your upper body might be isolated from your lower body but there are some guiding principles that remain the same.

1) Always have a Flat base

2) Always Visualize yourself doing the trick before you do it

3) Always have bent knees…Try not to stand up tall unless you know what you are doing.

4) Always have good speed, going to slow can turn ugly quickly.

5) Once on the Box/Rail make sure you are looking to the end of it, don’t look down.


rails on a snowboard

How to do a 50-50:

50-50 is where you ride straight onto the box/rail and your snowboard (Nose/tail) is going in the same direction as the feature.

Start by having a good basic stance, everything should be aligned with a relaxed light attitude.

The goal here is to ride on the box/rail, along the rail and off again.

Start from about 15ft/5m away and point your snowboard straight at the box, you should ever so slightly be on your toe edge while coming up to the box.

Right before your snowboard hits the box, go to a flat base on your board and ride the box like this.

Bent knees, straight back and looking towards the end of the rail!

At the other end, absorb the landing ride away.



How to do a Nose Press:


Start in the same position as the 50-50 but this time we are going to shift our weight forward over the nose of the snowboard while we are on the rail.

Before we go and implement this trick, I think it would be fair to mention that you really should feel comfortable doing this on flat ground before taking it onto the rails.

Practice shifting your weight forward over your nose and lifting your back foot up and holding the pressure over your nose.

( Before you try this on the box, you should be able to snowboard and go straight into a nose press on the snow.)

To do this on a box, the setup is the same, strong basic stance and relaxed, this time when you hit the box, slowly shift your weight forward and hold the press!

Make sure your upper body is in alignment with your lower body otherwise your press will want to turn on you.

Think about trying to grab the nose of your snowboard when performing the trick.

As you get better, you will be able to go from the snow straight into a nose press on the rail.

Pop off the other end, done!


How to Board slide:


To learn the board slide, we start in the 50-50 position and then towards the end of the box/rail we start to twist our upper body to turn our snowboard 90 degrees to the rail/box, maintaining a flat base the whole time.

Same setup as 50-50, but this time when you are half way along the box, I now want you to turn your upper body 90 Degrees and maintain the same balance and position.

It is vital you have even weight on both feet and flexed in the knees. Too many people stand up too tall and this is where they lose balance and slip out.

– Keep flexed and relaxed

– Slow small movements

– Even weight on both feet.

As you get better, start turning your snowboard across the rail/Box earlier, slowly work your way back up the box until you board slide straight on to it.

Keep centered and have even weight on both feet

Have fun..

rails on a snowboard


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Logan is the founder of Online Snowboard coach and has been coaching people how to snowboard for over 12 years...

Please Leave a comment

    3 replies to "Beginner Tips for Rails on A Snowboard"

    • James

      I’ve been looking for info on what to do at the END of the box. If I 50-50 or do a press, popping off the end isn’t too problematic, but on a board slide, trying to pop off causes a slide out. I can cruise off, and just rotate back quickly, but is that the prescribed method, or should I stick to trying to get my weight forward to pop off?

      • Logan

        Hi James, good job mate! Just carry your speed and rotate the shoulders around just as you leave the rail or box. You shouldn’t really need to pop off when doing a boardslide, as long as you have good speed,(this is key). Hope this helps. Happy New year mate

        • Marcus Turino

          I know this is an old discussion, But how important is it to maintain speed while on a box/rail? what does the speed do to help?

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