Snowboarding is fast becoming a popular winter sport across Europe and the rest of the world. It vies for attention with skiers, who’ve in the recent years have had some resurgence due to new technology like carving skies. But still most of the newcomers to the sport are young people, but there is also a new older demographic coming to the sport. What we’ve found quite funny is the amount of 40+ year olds on the slopes who are turning to snowboarding. The main reasons they cite is that it’s easier on their knees, due to the lower impact, and the fact that they’ve mastered skiing and they are ready for a new snow challenge.
As you start to learn the basic moves, you can try to test some of the other snowboard skills. Being comfortable on the board will give you the confidence to try some other snowboard tricks, and these in turn will result in better overall skills. It’s not that the ability to do tricks will make you feel smarter and wiser among their peers, but there is definitely a sense of respect when you are able to do some trick that your buddies haven’t yet quite mastered. The reason we recommend easy and basic tricks, like say buttering is that these tricks are not very difficult to master, but you can spend quite a lot of time to get the skills behind buttering perfected.
On a first go, they are not really that complicated at all to get started and learners can master the basics them within a short time. Linking in your skills together can take a bit longer, like doing ollys and then jumping off ramps. It is thus important to dedicate your time and learn some of these tricks, we generally used the time in the afternoon to practise our tricks, and concentrated on riding in the morning. This is because the conditions tend to be better in the morning.
Jumping with a snowboard
So you want to learn how to do some tricks, and you are not too sure where to start ? Well, first steps first, let’s try a jump from standing. While it may sound very basic what’s important is your landing, and how you position your body. Once you throw in the fact that you will normally be moving forward when jumping things start to get a little bit more difficult. So start from standing still, and you are going to try to lift the board off the ground and to land it safely, without falling. The easiest place to try this is somewhere flat, so pick a gentle slope to begin with. Strap yourself in, make sure they are equally as tight, and go into the crouch position. Now do a jump, brining your feet up with you. You should try to land flat, and your weight should be in the middle of the board when landing. When you are moving, it’s important to have more of your weight on your trailing leg, as you’ll need it for stability as you are moving forward. You goal should be to bring your board cleanly into the air, to a height of about 30cm or 1 foot. When you can do this perfectly 3 or 4 times in a row then you are ready for the next step. Do remember that jumping requires a certain leg strength, and if you don’t have this to start with you may have serious issues doing this.
The next step is a grab, or sometimes called an Indy Grab. Here you use your hands to help change the direction you are in, all the time maintaining the momentum. Again go to your flat slope at the start to help you get used to knowing how to move your body. Here you are going to twist your body when you are in the air. The goal is to turn a full 180 degrees while you are in the air. It can be easier to start with your shoulders turned and your hands outstretched behind your back. Then when you are in the air you throw your hands forward and use that momentum to make you turn. It may be easier turning on your backside of the board, so do try both and perfect which ever comes more naturally to you. Remember balance is key here so if you can only turn 45 degrees, but you can keep you balance, it’s better than 90 degrees where you fall over.
Putting things together
So now you can jump, and you can also do a 180. The next step is to trick these on a little bump to jump off or sometimes called a kicker. The key to this trick is to perform it without loosing balance or momentum. You will need to change your direction on the jump, while making sure when you land, your board is straight. The back of your board should land first and when you lean slightly forward it should help you to stabilise and land securely.
If you are having trouble with turning when you are in the air, you can try an easier trick, a grab, which basically means you hold on to the board when you are in the air. Perfecting this will help you to judge the time you have in the air, and the time you need to get back up to stabilise.
General tips for doing tricks
It’s true that you can get injured when you do tricks, who would have thought that ? Proper warm up can help avoid some of these injuries. Also some coaches recommend that people close their fists when they are doing jumps, so that they are tight when they hit the snow. Observing other snowboarders doing tricks will also help you to learn fast, see hoe they position their bodies before, during and after a trick. Sometimes it can be over quite fast, so we recommend that you take a quick video if you can, so you can replay it over a few times before attempting. Generally it’s better to land on something soft, if you can, try to practise into powder, so when you fall you are less likely to hurt yourself on impact.