PLEASE READ FIRST

Welcome to the first draft of the Snowboarding Guide – an Encyclopedia for all things snowboarding, from the first time strapping in to throwing your first backflip!

If you’re currently reading this, it’s because I need your help in improving the current content – so please follow these rules and enjoy:

  1. Please don’t share this website around – it’s a long-term project and needs A LOT OF WORK before I can actually release it – including pictures, videos and quite probably a layout change.
  2. Any issues/problems/missing content that you would like to see within this guide, please send me the details – ANY feedback could improve this concept and make it more user-friendly and generally better for everyone. I am aware that some sections aren’t yet written out – so I will be slowly adding to those over the coming weeks. 
  3. Whilst browsing, try and make a personal valuation as to what you think this might be worth – whether F**k all, a 1-time purchase or a monthly subscription… 
  4. Enjoy it guys! The idea of this is to actually help snowboarders progress, so I really hope that you can find some use from it as well!

I look forward to hearing any and all criticism and feedback you have to offer, so thank you in advance!

Dan

 

MENU

Firstly, it’s important for you to know that none of the techniques or build ups within guide are the only way to learn. Every country that has a governing body for Wintersports-Instruction has their own methods. I am simply using the methods that I have found to work best for me as a Coach – which come from all over the globe!

On top of this, I would never recommend to learn snowboarding on your own! I believe that EVERYONE should be taught by an officially qualified Instructor – at least to a point where we can Snowboard around the mountain safely.

If you are brand new to the sport, I would recommend to use “The Basics” Section of this guide as in insight to what you will be learning, as well as the equipment you’ll need for your time on the slopes.

If you’re here because you want to learn something specific, or you’re looking for a potential next step for your Boarding Skills, check out the Progression Map, where you can see all of the Techniques within the guide and what is needed in order to learn them.

Other than that, just have a browse guys! Look around, discover, learn and enjoy! I would very much recommend to check out the Home-Training Section so that you can start getting your body ready at home, prior to make the learning process even easier!

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat.

I know, rules right..?

Noone wants to be told what they can or can’t do, especially when it comes to a sick sport like Snowboarding; but regardless – the FIS-rules keep us safe on the Mountain! Have a look through for your own knowledge – it could save you or someone else a future injury!

  1. Be Considerate to others: We should never act in a way that could endanger or injure other riders/skiers.
  2. Stay Controlled: We always have to be able to control our situation – meaning being abe to adjust our speed in an instant.
  3. Pick a Line: If we’re riding from behind someone, we should always choose a line that doesn’t affect those in front.
  4. Careful Overtaking: We are free to overtake from pretty much any direction, but only when we can do so AND leave the rider in front enough space to carry on riding freely.
  5. Look before Crossing: Treat the Pistes like roads. Whenever crossing or entering, check for oncoming traffic from any possible directions.
  6. Sensible Braking: We need to be aware of our surroundings when stopping – so avoid suddly slamming on the brakes in narrow and blind spots.
  7. Touring: When ascending a Piste, Boarders and Skiers should keep to the side of the Piste to avoid collisions.
  8. Signs: We always need to keep an eye out for signs and markers on the slopes.
  9. Observing Accidents: Regardless of circumstances, EVERYONE is obliged to help when coming across an accidident.
  10. Accident Reporting: Whether witnessing or being involved in an accident, we should always identify ourselves when involved with an accident for future reference.

“A good craftsman never blames their tools… “

This is a very true statement, but when it comes to Snowboarding, the equipment we use can have either a negative or a positive effect on our riding.

As a beginner Snowboarder, the last thing on our mind should be which boots, board and bindings to buy. Instead, we should be focusing on actually learning to ride before going out and purchasing a bunch of stuff that you don’t know how to use…

That being said, I have put together a list of the equipment needed for Snowboarding, along with a few recommendations of stuff that’s served me well throughout my time on a Board.

The list is in order from Head to Toe:


Helmet

First and foremost, just wear a Helmet guys. In the 80’s, it was one of the most scarce pieces of equipment you could find on the Mountain. Today however, I think anywhere between 90 and 95% of Skiers and Snowboarders wear one – AND WITH GOOD REASON

Head injuries have dropped a huge amount over this time period, and these days there is a massive variety of Helmets, from a wide array of brands – meaning that there’s one to suit everybody!

When purchasing a Helmet, there are only a couple of things to think about:

Size: Naturally, the size of our head plays a big part in which size to choose, so maybe get the tape-measure out before getting a random size; or even better, go to the store to try it out before buying.

Goggles: If we already own a pair of goggles, we want to make sure that the front-ridge of the helmet fits nicely to them, otherwise we’ll end up showing our forehead off to the world (also known as the Jerry-Gap). If buying in-store, I always recommend to take your goggles with you for trying on.

Style: Various Helmets may do the same job but look different. This comes down to personal preference when choosing what to buy. Some helmets have a slight peak on the front, such as the brand Sandbox. Others have more ventilation, different shapes etc. Just choose whatever you prefer on this point.

Here is a short list of Helmet Brands and links that I would recommend from past experience:

Anon

Smith

Sweet Protection


Beanies

Although not necessary whilst wearing a Helmet, I highly recommend buying a Beanie prior to heading out on a Winter Holiday. Personally, I always wear one underneath my Helmet, but this is just my own preference.

We can get Beanie’s in just about any colour. Here’s are a few Beanie Brands that might appeal to the general Snowboarder.

Volcom

Vans

Burton


Buffs

A Buff is essentially a compact, functional scarf. I would say that this is a crucial bit of kit for the mountain as it keeps our neck and face protected from the cold whilst riding. 

Just like Beanies, we can get Buffs in huge variety of colours to suit everyone’s taste. Here’s a link to where you can find one to suit you:

Click Here for Buffs!


Goggles

Goggles can make or break an outfit, and although I recommend to choose most equipment on the basis of functionality, we want to choose something that also has a bit of style.

The following points are how we can narrow down the field and find a nice pair of Gogg’s:

Fit: Much like choosing a Helmet to fit our Goggles, we can also do this the opposite way around. The top ridge for some Googles is a straight line, and more rounded for others – so it’s always worth making sure that our gear is compatable!

Changeable Lense: The weather on the mountain changes every day. Some Goggle-Brands accomodate for this by offering a variety of interchangeable Lenses to match different weather’s/visabilities. I heavily recommend choosing a Goggle with this function to save yourself temporary blindness later on.

Cost: The range of cost for a pair of Goggles is frankly astounding and if you’re looking for a first pair, it’s hard to know what’s worth the money and what isn’t. In my opinion, for a first pair I would say in between €50 and €100, depending on how much use you want to get out of them. For this price, we can find a solid, functional Goggle that looks stylish.

Peripheral Vision: The lense-size of our Goggles makes a large difference as to how big our field of vision is. Naturally, the larger the lense, the more vision. I’ve always sprang for a medium/large Goggle, as this provides me with good vision, but doesn’t look ridiculous on my face. 

Below are a few Goggle-Brands with links to where you can check them out and find a pair that suits you best:

Volcom

Anon

Oakley


Jackets

Cold, hot, windy, snowing, raining. These are all conditions that we’re likely to encounter up on the mountain in winter. We want a jacket that’s going to look after us in all of these. 

I think that 90% of choosing the right Jacket comes down to how it looks, however we should first narrow down the search with criteria such as waterproofing, breathability, good ventilation, amount of pockets and cost.

Below is a link to an already-narrowed down search, which will show you the kinds of products that are good all-rounders:

Click here for Jackets!


Pants

One of the worst things that can happen to us on the Mountain is getting cold, wet legs. With this in mind, we should always have a few factors in mind when buying Snow-Pants/Salopettes:

Waterproofing – As I said, wet legs arent fun, so always check the Waterproof-rating before purchasing.

Good Vents – It can get warm up the mountain, so having a good vent-option (usually a zip on the crotch or inner/outer-thighs) will save us some sweaty legs in March.

Good fit – Too tight and we’ll be restricting our leg-movement – which is one of the most annoying things for a Snowboarder to deal with.

We also have the option between choosing mid/high-waist Pants (which are the classic “Trouser-Style” Pants; or Bib-Pants, which are the “Dungeree-Style”. Bibs are handy for Powder-Riding and Spring days when it’s too warm for a Jacket, but Classic Pants are generally a bit more practical and cheaper.

Trouser-Style

Bib-Pants


Gloves/Mitts

Although this may be a “small” item in the long list of things we need for the mountain, do not underestimate the value of a good pair of Gloves/Mittens. Cold hands are the difference between the best and worst day ever, so don’t just grab a €10 pair from Amazon if you want to be comfortable and happy up there.

For holiday-makers that spend a week per year up the mountain, I would recommend a good, warm pair of Gloves/Mittens that will do the job each year.

For those who spend a bit more time on the Mountain each year, I would actually recommend to get 2 Pairs that we can choose from. The first would be some All-Rounders that are made from sturdy material, waterproof and warm. 

The second pair would be a thin pair of Pipe-Gloves that we can get out on those warm Spring Days. The reason for this is that our hands tend to sweat a lot on a warm day, and gloves/mitts can quickly become worse-smelling than our boots if we’re doing this every day.

The difference between Gloves and Mitts is generally personal preference, but I find Mittens more comfortable and cosey on extra-cold days.

Mittens

Pipe-Gloves


Thermals

Whether it’s an especially-cold day or not, I always wear a base-layer top and bottom. I find it to be more comfortable and functional than just wearing normal clothes underneath or having bare-skin touching my Jacket/Pants.

On the subject of “Best-Quality”, there is no beating Merino Wool when it comes to base-layers. It is warm, breathable, comfortable and anti-smell. The only crux is that it isn’t cheap, but this is counteracted by the fact that we can wear a set of Merino Wool Thermals for 4-5 days straight before it needs washing. Getting a cheap set from amazon on the other hand will maybe last half a day before stinking up the Chairlift.

Thermals


Socks

Our socks are just as important as the gloves we wear up the mountain, becuase cold feet are soul-destroying. 

On top of this, we can compare them to our Thermals in the sense of material. Merino Wool Socks are functional, comfortably, warm, breathable and non-smell, which is what makes them so expensive. Like with the Thermals though, is that we can also wear a pair of Merino Socks for 3 days before needing to change them – which brings more value than a cheap pack of 10 Football-Socks.

With regards to functionality and comfort, I would personally say that Stance make the best socks for Snowboarders, so click the link below to check them out:

Stance Socks


Boots

Boots are the first item of “Hard-Equipment” that I recommend my guests to buy, because then they aren’t spending the first two days of their holiday getting used to ANOTHER pair of rentals. Even if we’re still using rental-boards, at least we can have guarrenteed comfortable feet.

When choosing a first pair of Boots, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, I would always check to see how the Boot fits. Is it designed for wider/narrower feet? Is it true to the size-guide and how does it cup the heel/ankle? These are all questions to ask when shopping around.

There is also the Lacing-System to consider. We have a few options in this area, which are Classic/Traditional, Quick/Speed-Lace and BOA. I’ll go through all three now in that order:

Classic/Traditional Laces

The classic/traditional laces are just normal laces like the ones in our regular trainers. I’ve tried all of the systems and this is my personal favourite. It allows me to specifically loosen or tighten certain areas of the boot to fit my foot/ankle. I take massive value from this because I have wide feet and calves, but my ankles are quite thin and require a lot of support.

The only crux is that this lacing-system tends to take a little longer to do up as the laces are so long, but this doesn’t really bother me much.

Classic Lace-System Boots

Quick/Speed-Laces

The Quick/Speed-Lace system is accurately named and has one or two long, thin strings that run through the lace-loops (usually one for the upper-boot and one for the lower-boot), and two handles on the inside and ouside of the boot that we can pull and lock off to tighten. They are very quick to do up, which is handy. 

Sadly, they aren’t so customizable to specific foot/ankle sizes, although this isn’t an issue for most people.

Quick-Lace Boots

BOA-Laces

The BOA sytem is generally what we find on rental Boots, but can also be found in some of the most high-end Boots as well. There is a steel-wire that runs through the Boot, which can be tightened by simply twisting a circular knob.

Although a Single-BOA Boot is probably the most uncomfortable boot I’ve ever tried, we can also get double and triple BOA’s, which are much more personal to specific Foot-Types:

BOA Boots


Bindings

In most cases, our first set of Bindings are bought with out first Board, so it’s always worth having an idea of the kind of Board we want, prior to picking the Bindings. 

In any case, we have a few factors to think about when choosing the Bindings:

Size – The Size of the Binding should be compatible with our Boot-size, so always check this before buying to avoid having to exchange them later.

Flex – The Flex of a Binding means how much they bend – which has a large influence on how much response we get out of our Board when moving our feet/ankles. Generally, the stiffer the Binding, the more response we get out of our Board. It’s fine to have a stiff Binding with a flexible Board, but I would never recommend this the other way around.

Strapping-System – There are a few different types of Strapping-Systems to choose from – which refers to the way that we do the Binding Up. I’ll go through these individually now.

Traditional Ratchet-System

This system has two ratchet-straps – one that goes along the ankle and one for the toes. I have always prefered this system because I feel secure when strapped in, and I can easily alter how tight the Heel or Toe-Strap is, depending on what I’m doing – for example, I tend to make them slightly tighter when riding jumps at the Park, but not quite as tight for jibbing down a chilled track.

Ratchet Bindings

Rear-Entry System

This kind of System also usually incorporates a Ratchet-System, however allows us to set the ratchets to a fixed-position. We are then able to undo a lever at the back of the Binding to take our foot out or put it back in. This is quicker once the Binding is set up to our Boot, however there is always a risk of the lever coming undone accidentally. 

Really, a leash should be used with these Bindings, so that if they do ever come undone, the Board doesn’t shoot away down the mountain.

Rear-Entry Bindings

Step-On System

A relatively new System compared to others on the Market, Step-Ons have made one hell of a mark on the industry in just a few years. This system requires us to have compatible Boots to match the Bindings – which limits what we can purchase. However, this system is incredibly quick and easy to use.

Step-On’s do what they say on the tin, thanks to strategic hooks and click-points, we can simply step on to the binding and our Boot with click in to place. This can be unnerving the first time using it, but they have been battle-tested in the Park, Off-Piste and all over the Mountain to prove their worth.

The main issue currently is the price-point. Since we have to buy compatible Boots and Bindings, they are not cheap – but seem to be worth it from most opinions. 

As with the Rear-Entry Bindings, these should be used in conujunction with a leash to prevent any accidental unclipping.

Step-On Bindings


Boards

When buying a Snowboard, the one thing we want to avoid is the one thing that we want – to pick the Board based on it’s graphic. Please avoid this temptation, at least we’ve first narrowed down what it is that’s best for us. There are a few other things to think about first, such as Flex, Camber, Length, Width and Shape. Let’s talk briefly about what all of these are…

Flex – The Board’s Flexibility has a huge influence on how it feels when riding. More Flexible Boards are generally more forgiving (easier to ride) and are great fun for playing around on at low to moderate speeds. However, once we start picking up speed, they tend to become slightly unstable and “flappy”. Board-Flex is generally rated from 1-10, with 1 being a Noodle and 10 being a Steel-Bar.

Camber – A Board’s Camber refers to the shape it has from a Side-Profile. So if we lay the board on it’s Base and look at it from the side, we can see what kind of Camber it has. Here’s a short list of Camber-Types:

Style

Shape

Good for

Positive Camber

A concaved curve from Nose to Tail

Stability at speed, hard-freestyle riding, carving

Negative Camber (Rocker)

A convexed curve from Nose to Tail

Playful riding, jibbing and good for Beginners

Flat Camber

No Camber – flat from Nose to Tail

More stable than a full Rocker and more playful than full Camber

Mustasch Camber

Convexed Curve underneath the Bindings, with the centre of the Board being Rocker

More stable than a full Rocker and more playful than full Camber

Length – The Length of the Board we ride is very important. Generally, the heavier the rider, the longer the Board, but we can also use height as an indication of Board-Length. In this case, stand the Board up on one end. If it comes up to between our chin and nose, we’re pretty safe. 

Width – Board-Width is more of an issue for those with larger feet and heavier riders. The extra Width provides more stability which comes in handy if we’re slightly heavy for our height. If our feet are on the larger side, I would recommend to look at wider Boards to avoid our Toes and Heels sticking out of the side – which causes heel/toe-drag and IS NOT FUN!

Shape – We also have a few different Board-Shapes to choose from, depending on what kind of riding we want to do. Below is a list of some of the more common Boar-Shapes:

Shape

Description

Good for

Twin-Tip

Looks and rides exactly the same in both directions

All-Mountain, Freesytle, Switch-Riding

Directional-Twin

Nose and Tail look the same, but usually a slight set-back in the Bindings, making the Nose slightly longer.

All-Mountain Freestyle, Off-Piste, Carving

Fish-Tail

Longer Nose than Tail, with a cut-out Tail to increase float in Off-Piste Riding.

Powder/Off-Piste and Carving

As a first Board, I would always recommend either a Twin-Tip or Directional-Twin All Mountain Board. This allows us the ability to ride all over the Mountain, without limiting ourselves too much with what the Board can offer. Below is a link to where you can find a good selection of All-Mountain Boards.

All-Mountain Boards

First time strapping in to a Board? No Problem! Fly through this step-by-step list to learn how to strap in and get a first-feel for the Board.

  1. Find a Flat-Spot of Snow.
  2. Pick a Front-Foot (this can be changed later).
  3. Clear off any Snow from the binding and the boot that’s getting strapped in to it.
  4. Ensure that your boot is completely flat in the binding and pushed completely back to the High-Back.
  5. Slide the corresponding grooved section in to the Heel-Strap Ratchet and tighten it up as much as possible without causing yourself pain.
  6. Do the same with the Toe-Strap.

Once 1 Foot is strapped in, copy the following steps to get used to the Board:

  1. Stand up in a flat area, with the weight planted mostly on the unstrapped foot.
  2. Flex and Point the Toes and notice how this lifts and lowers the Toe-Edge.
  3. Take a dynamic step over the board and lift and lower the heel, noticing any movement with the Heel-Edge.
  4. Step back to the original position.
  5. Try and lift up the board completely, then place it back down.
  6. Try and grab the tail, then lower it down again.
  7. Try the same thing with the nose.
  8. Making little steps, try and spin around 360 degrees on the spot. 
  9. Spin around the opposite way.
  10. Try and stand on the Board with the back foot next to the empty binding.

And THAT is how a snowboard feels guys!

Before learning to ride with 2 Feet, it’s important that we learn how to skate on the Board. This is beacuase when we’re getting on and off lifts, we have to do so with only one foot strapped in.

Imagine pushing along on a Skateboard, but with the pushing-foot behind the board instead of in front of it. This is very accurate to how we skate on a Snowboard.

  1. Firstly, try and skate in a straight line, keeping the upper body upright and a slight bend in the knees.
  2. Turn around and skate back.
  3. Try and increase how far you Glide on the Board with all weight on the strapped in Foot. 
  4. Whilst gliding, try and stand on the board with the back foot.
  5. Try and make a mini-squat whilst gliding.
  6. Now try to make a little jump whilst gliding.

It’s important that we learn how to skate confidently. We always need to get these fundamentals down in order to create a foundation of confidence that we can then build upon.

So now that we can comfortably glide forwards with one foot attached to the board, we need to learn how to stop. In order to stop on a snowboard, we need to use one of our edges. Luckily we only have 2 and we only ever use one at a time – unless something has gone very wrong.

This may take some time to get right, but just remember to look where you want to ride and to lean on the front leg. 

Here’s the step by step breakdown for stopping with the heel-side edge:

  1. Ride straight with a flat board, looking forwards, with the back foot also standing on the board, leaning about 70% on the front leg.
  2. When we want to stop, look up and over our front shoulder.
  3. Whilst doing this AND still leaning on the front leg, lift up the toes.
  4. Simply put, if we’re looking and leaning correctly, the board will begin to turn – which we want, so don’t panic!
  5. As the board turns, continue to slowly lift up the toes more and more.
  6. Eventually, we’ll just stop and you can step off with the back foot.

Stopping on the Toe-Side:

  1. Begin riding straight, looking in the riding direction with both feet on the board (back foot still not strapped in).
  2. This time, our point to look at will be behind and upwards (basically the sky behind us).
  3. Keep the weight on the front leg and push the hips ever so slightly in to the turn – DON’T LEAN, just imagine peeing like a boy.
  4. Begin to slightly lift the heels off the floor, which will turn the Board.
  5. DON’T PANIC! Keep those eyes up, hips engaged and allow that board to turn.
  6. Slowly bring the heels up more and more until you come to a stop.

Well guys, that’s stopping with one foot. It’s a tricky step to master, but it’ll pay back later!

There are a variety of lifts including: Gondolas, Chairlifts, T-Bars, Button Lifts and a few others. Gondolas are by far the easiest kind of life to use as we can take our boards off and place them in the Board-Slots if they are available. If not, we can just take them in with us, have a seat and relax for the lift up. It’s always a good idea to have some clue about where the lift leads to though…

Here is a list of the main Single-Footed Lifts and how we can get on and off successfully:

Magic Carpets: These are only found on the easiest pistes as they don’t work above a certain gradient.

  1. To enter a Magic Carpet, simply skate to the entrance so that the board is lined up with the nose almost on the lift.
  2. Simply push with the loose foot to get the board on to the lift, at which point we cansimply step on to board with the pushing-foot and ride up as if we are gliding straight.
  3. To come off the lift, keep the weight forwards and simply ride straight for a couple of meters.
  4. Once off, make a 1-footed stop using the technique from our “Stopping with 1 Foot” Section and that’s it!

T-Bars and Button Lifts: This is one of the hardest lift-types because there is a combination of being pulled along by a long pole and holding a good skate-position at the same time.

  1. Once in position and ready to get on the lift, there should be someone there to help you. When they pass you either the Button or the T-Bar, it is to go straight between the legs and hook in. For a T-Bar, it will hook around the inside of the front thigh and a Button will sit directly on our butt like a swing.
  2. When it’s in position, grab the pole with the front hand and simply concentrate on riding.
  3. The biggest mistake made in riding both of these lifts is leaning backwards. Whilst riding, we should still have slightly more weight on the front leg. Don’t try to use the edges of the board, just keep it flat, straight and look in the riding direction.
  4. At the top, simply pull the bar out from the legs, leg go and skate/glide away from the lift-exit point to avoid causing a collision with another rider.
    I think we all know which we’d rather be… Keep the eyes and weight forwards, don’t sit down, keep the board flat; and if we do happen to fall
    over… LET GO!

If you do happen to fall over whilst heading up a T-Bar, just let go guys! We don’t want to look like this poor dude…

Chairlifts: Most of the time, a pleasant experience – however can be underestimated, which usually leads to a sore butt.

  1. Chairlifts will have a set of gates at the entrance – similar to where we scan our Ski-Passes, except there is one for each seat on the chair. (Chairlifts can hold anything from one to ten people).
  2. When the gate opens, you may skate or glide through and take your place (which will be laid out for you). The chairlift will then come up from behind to collect you.
  3. As soon as it touches our butts, we sit straight down and wait for a few seconds to leave the lift station.
  4. Once out, there will be a Bar to pull down (similar to a rollercoaster ride). Pull this down and then place the board on the T-Section by you feet. From here, just enjoy the ride up and rest those tired legs.
  5. When we get NEAR the top of the lift, there will either be a prompter to open the bar back up, or it will open automatically. Just keep an eye out because most aren’t automatic. If it isn’t take your board off the t-section and just lift it up all the way.
  6. On approach to the run-out, make the board straight with the nose pointing directly forwards. This way, upon touchdown on to snow, we stand straight up, put the weight on the front leg and ride it STRAIGHT for a few meters. If you try and turn or stop straight away, you could hurt yourself or someone else.
  7. Once you’re clear of the lift and other riders, perform a 1-footed stop.

The Heel-Side Edge

With snowboarding, learning to stop ourselves is more important than learning to go because having control over our board is the single most important thing in order for us to be safe. With that in mind, we’ll first be learning how to control speed and stop on the Heel-Side Edge.

Position: The best way to imagine a good base-position for sliding on our heels is to do a slight squat, or to “Pee like a girl”. Keep this in mind, but let’s actually break down the position properly:

Legs – Knees slightly bent, with our weight distributed 50-50 on each leg.
Hips/Center of Gravity – Try not to bend over, keep the belly button over the top of the board to stay balanced.
Arms – Relaxed by our sides as we should avoid using them for balance.
Shoulders – Parallel with the board.
Head – Facing straight ahead, looking where we want to go.

Control: Speed is controlled by raising and lowering the Toe-Edge. Ensure to not drop the Toe-Edge in to the Snow, or you’re gonna have a baaad tiiime!

Exercises:

  1. The basic slide – aim for a long, smooth slide all the way down.
  2. The stop point – pull the toes up slowly and find the stop point for a second, before continuing.
  3. Slide for 1 meter, Stop for 1 second –  repeat this a few times.
  4. Slide for 1 meter, stop, do a little hop and continue to slide – this is fantastic for both balance and edge control.

The Zig-Zag

Once we’re sliding and stopping confidently in a straight line, we can move on to sliding in a direction (left and right). This can be achieved by lifting or lowering our feet alternately. The final-Zig-Zag should look something like this:

  1. Experiment with how little we can lower one foot in order to choose a direction. Try this in both directions.
  2. Try to make a smooth Zig-Zag all the way down.
  3. Add a 1 second pause before each direction change.
  4. Make a slalom track out of some snowballs, leaves or anything you can and Zig-Zag around them.

The Toe-Side Edge

This edge can be slightly more nerve-racking to learn because we’ll essentially be sliding backwards until we can get this right. Don’t worry though guys, just follow the steps and keep those eyes up.

Position: As the Heel-Side Position demands us to pee like a girl, the Toe-Side Position requires us to pee like a boy. By this, I mean pushing our hips forwards towards the mountain, keeping our weight equal on both legs and looking upwards and the sky in front of us. This position locks our heels up, preventing them from digging in to the snow and falling over backwards.

Control: This Edge is controlled them by lifting and lowering the heels. Let’s start by using our heels together:

  1. First, get used to this sliding position – gently lowering and lifting the heels to control our slide-speed.
  2. Play with the position until you figure out how high the heels need to come in order to stop. Remember to always make small movements.
  3. Now try some stop and go, sliding 1 meter and then stopping for 1 second.
  4. If we can comfortably stop, add a small hop in there and continue to slide.

The Zig-Zag

  1. Remember, looking in one direction and slightly lowering that heel is what dictates our direction. Repeat this on both sides to build some confidence.
  2. Try and make one controlled, continuous Zig-Zag from left to right.
  3. Add a 1 second pause before each direction change.
  4. Now, as before, make a slalom track that challenges you.

The Levels-Analogy

Turning Techniques require us to have a good feel for how bent/straight our legs are. The first thing to know is that we NEVER have completely straight legs on a snowboard, as this really increases the likelihood of injury to our knee joints.

The best way to picture how bent we should be is to imagine that we have different levels, numbered from one to five. Level 1 is when our knees are completely bent and level 5 is when the legs are completely straight. As a snowboarder, we generally move between floors 2 and 4, sometimes approaching floor 1 in a really deep carve, but just stick between 2 and 4 for now.

A good way to build this into muscle-memory is to actually just do a squat. Make it as low as you can – this is the “too low” zone. Now completely straighten your legs – this is the “stop doing that!” zone. Do a few squats between levels 2 and 4 and build a good feeling for this range of motion.

Turning

For this section, we’ll be needing the front-foot we picked in the Skating-Section.

In order to build up to a full-turn, we need to go through a couple of exercises first:

The Heel-Side Wave:

This a great exercise for building awareness and confidence in our newly chosen front-foot. We’ll begin by doing this exercise on the Heel-Side Edge, with the aim of creating a similar track to the following one (Example-Track is a Heel-Side Wave from a left-footed rider, or Regular-Rider):

  1. Start in our sliding position with our weight balanced equally on both legs.
  2. Lean on the front leg – bending the front knee and lowering JUST THIS foot all the way down until the board rides straight down the hill. The board’s base should be flat on the snow at this point.
  3. Once straight, pull the same toes back up and return to the center of the board back on the Heel-Side Edge
  4. Repeat this a few times until you’re happy that you can comfortable point the board straight and return to this position.

The Toe-Side Wave:

This time, we begin on the Toe-Edge with the aim of creating a wave in the opposite-direction:

  1. Begin in the sliding position with the head looking upwards towards the mountain.
  2. When leaning on the front leg this time, make sure to look slightly over the front shoulder as this helps with lowering the front heel.
  3. Once again, when the board is straight with a flat base, look back up the hill and come back to the center with the heels raised – not forgetting to pee like a boy.
  4. Repeat a few times until comfortable.

THE FRONTSIDE TURN (From Toes to Heels):

  1. This turn begins exactly the same as the drill we’ve just done – all the way until the board points straight – so looking over the shoulder, lowering down the front heel, making the board point straight down the hill.
  2. The difference is that as soon as the board is pointing straight down the hill, we continue to lean forward and begin to lift up our front toes. 
  3. We should be finishing the turn with our weight in the center of the board, following our front foot across the slope on the new edge.

THE BACKSIDE TURN (From Heels to Toes):

  1. Starting in the center of the board, begin to lean on the front leg and lower the front toes.
  2. Stay leaning on the front leg until the board is COMPLETELY STRAIGHT.
  3. Look up the hill and lift the front heel to steer the board and return to the center of the board with the weight equal on both legs.

Here’s a Picture-Demo of a Backside Turn.

The Basic Drift-Turn

Make sure that before attempting this, that we already know how to slide and stop on both edges confidently. There’s no point learning to go before we can stop guys!

For this section, we’ll be needing the front-foot we picked in the Skating-Section.

In order to build up to a full-turn, we need to first go through a couple of exercises first:

The Heel-Side Wave:

This a great exercise for building awareness and confidence in our newly chosen front-foot. We’ll begin by doing this exercise on the Heel-Side Edge, with the aim of creating a similar track to the following one (Example-Track is a Heel-Side Wave from a left-footed rider, or Regular-Rider):

  1. Start in our sliding position with our weight balanced equally on both legs.
  2. Lean on the front leg – bending the front knee and lowering JUST THIS foot all the way down until the board rides straight down the hill. The board’s base should be flat on the snow at this point.
  3. Once straight, pull the same toes back up and return to the center of the board back on the Heel-Side Edge
  4. Repeat this a few times until you’re happy that you can comfortable point the board straight and return to this position.

The Toe-Side Wave:

This time, we begin on the Toe-Edge with the aim of creating a wave in the opposite-direction:

  1. Begin in the sliding position with the head looking upwards towards the mountain.
  2. When leaning on the front leg this time, make sure to look slightly over the front shoulder as this helps with lowering the front heel.
  3. Once again, when the board is straight with a flat base, look back up the hill and come back to the center with the heels raised – not forgetting to pee like a boy.
  4. Repeat a few times until comfortable.

THE FRONTSIDE TURN (From Toes to Heels):

  1. This turn begins exactly the same as the drill we’ve just done – all the way until the board points straight – so looking over the shoulder, lowering down the front heel, making the board point straight down the hill.
  2. The difference is that as soon as the board is pointing straight down the hill, we continue to lean forward and begin to lift up our front toes. 
  3. We should be finishing the turn with our weight in the center of the board, following our front foot across the slope on the new edge.

THE BACKSIDE TURN (From Heels to Toes):

  1. Starting in the center of the board, begin to lean on the front leg and lower the front toes.
  2. Stay leaning on the front leg until the board is COMPLETELY STRAIGHT.
  3. Look up the hill and lift the front heel to steer the board and return to the center of the board with the weight equal on both legs.

Here’s a Picture-Demo of a Backside Turn.

High-Release Drift Turns

What?

High-Release Drift Turns are the easiest next step in terms of which turn-technique we move on to once we can already confidently make basic turns on blue and red pistes. “High-Release” relates to the method we use to unweight the board.

Why?

This is a great technique for when it comes to steeper terrain where we want to keep our speed under slightly more control. As we bend our knees to come lower, the edge-angle increases, which causes more friction against the snow and lowers our speed.

The dynamic forwards/inwards/upwards-motion then allows us to change edge without spending too much time pointing our board downhill. 

Lastly, this technique is a great introduction to actively pressurizing and de-pressurizing the Board.

How?

  1. The turn is initiated through a simultaneous upwards-rebound from a pressurized edge and a forwards/inwards weight-transfer.
  2. From the point that the board faces down the hill.
  3. We change edge and begin to build up pressure by making a slow-downwards movement (Bending the knees), 
  4. We then continue to steer out of the turn on the new edge, continuing the downwards-movement throughout the entirety of the turn during which further builds up pressure through the increase of our Edge-Angle.
  5. Once ready to do the next turn, we release the pressure that we’ve built up by once again making the dynamic upwards/forwards/inwards movement, and the process can then repeat.

Where to learn?

When it comes to the riding-stages of learning this technique, it should be practiced on either a medium red or steep blue because we need a certain steepness in order to build up the pressure needed for these turns to function correctly.

The Movement Build-Up

To learn the movement and timing needed for this turn, we should first go through a few exercises on the spot – essentially beginning in our good riding-position (at a level 4 on our scale):

  1. Slowly squat down with the weight equal on both legs, taking care to NOT bend at the hips, until we reach a level 2.
  2. Dynamically push up to come back to level 4. Throughout this upwards movement, we should also be transferring ALL OF OUR WEIGHT on to the front foot (upwards/forwards motion).
  3. Practicing this 8-10 times is not only a great warm-up, but also good for creating a rhythm in our heads that we can then take to the pistes.
  4. This can finally be practiced on flat snow with the board attached. Whilst doing this, try and explode upwards and forwards so much that the Board’s Tail leaves the floor. This is an exaggeration of the correct technique, but it gives us a good feel for correct direction of movement.

NOTE: In the following steps, try and always keep the arms relaxed. It’s easy to try and force these turns by swinging our arms around, but keep them chilled from the start and it will start to feel natural sooner – TRUST ME!

The Wave

This is an important step in the Build Up process – giving us a feeling for turn-initiation, as well as building up pressure, without having to change edge.

  1. Beginning on the Heel-Edge, we are going to traverse across the piste diagonally.
  2. Actively increase the edge-angle by pulling up the toes WHILST making the slow down-motion.
  3. Once at level-2, explode upwards, forwards AND INWARDS so that our front gas-pedal (toes) go down.
  4. This will make the board point down the hill with us at the front of it, at which point we DON’T CHANGE EDGE.
  5. Instead, come back the middle of the board on the Edge that we started on, returning to our original position.
  6. At this point, we simply repeat the steps so that we can attempt this 4-5 times in one traverse.
  7. Once confidently completed, repeat these steps on the Toe-Edge.

The Toe-Edge process is the same as with the Heel-Edge, but when we come upwards, forwards and inwards, we will now be lowering our front heel instead of the front toes.

It can be tricky to bend the knees and not the hips when we’re on this side, so focus on keeping the eyes up and hips towards the mountain – PEE LIKE A BOY!

Turn up the Mountain

It’s time for the next step, which is to make a Turn up the Mountain. This will probably be the first time you encounter this, but we use this step a lot in build-ups for turning techniques:

  1. Begin at a level 4 on the Heel-Edge, with our weight equal on both legs.
  2. Lean on the front leg and lower the front Gas-Pedal to make the board point down the hill.
  3. Begin to slowly make our downwards-motion in order to steer back on to our heel edge.
  4. When we eventually reach level 2, we should already be coming across the piste with our weight in the middle of the board.
  5. Practice this a few times, trying to feel the buildup of pressure under the board.
  6. Try to add the dynamic upwards/forwards/inwards movement at the end to release the pressure.The finished exercise will feel like The Wave on a larger scale.

NOTE: Always begin a Turn to the Mountain on the same edge that you plan to finish on.

Now move on to the same exercise on the Toe-Edge. Once again, ensure that we’re bending the Knees, not the Hips and that we DON’T LOOK DOWN!

The buildup is otherwise the same – beginning on the Toe-Edge, building up pressure with the Down-Motion during the Steering-Phase of the turn, and finally adding in the dynamic upwards/forwards/inwards movement to release it.

One and a Half Turns

  1. This exercise begins the same as the Turn to the Mountain – the difference being that instead of returning to the same edge at the end, we change edges.
  2. This time, when making the Upwards/Forwards/Inwards movement and the board points straight down the hill, we should change edge.
  3. Steer our of the turn whilst gradually making the down-motion, bending the Knees and not the hips.
  4. Practice this on both edges so that we can create the following track on both sides:

Combine the Turns

All that’s left to do now is combine our turns and find a nice rhythm. I like to tell my students to count in their heads in order to build the rhythm. Try counting for 3 seconds whilst making the down-motion, then explode up on the fourth to repeat the process on the opposite edge.

We can experiment with how quickly or slowly we come down, but always make the up motion dynamically – otherwise we lose our pressure-rebound, which defeats the object of the Turn-Technique!

Deep-Release Drift Turns

What?

Deep-Release Turns are essentially the opposite of the High-Release Turns in regards to movement, with the difference being that the up/down movements are swapped around – meaning that we go dynamically down to level 2, then slowly back up to level 4, rather than the opposite way around.

Why?

This turning-technique has a multitude of uses, including being the way to effectively turn and ride over moguls. Also, this is a crucial step in the learning build up for Deep-Release Carving. The dynamic down motion instantly unweights the snowboard, allowing for a quicker pressure-release and a smooth edge-change. Basically, it feels sexy when done right!

How?

  1. We initiate a turn with a dynamic forwards/inwards/downwards-movement (essentially imagine bringing the knees up to the chest as fast as possible).
  2. All pressure is instantly released, allowing the snowboard to turn straight down the hill.
  3. We then change edge and begin to build up pressure by slowly straightening our legs as we steer out of the turn.
  4. Once we are ready to make another turn (Legs at about a 4), we release the pressure once again and repeat the process.

Where?

As with the High-Release Drift Turns, this turn is generally learnt on a medium red piste or steep blue. This enables us to create enough pressure to then dynamically release with the downwards/forwards/inwards movement.

The Movement Build-Up

  1. Find a nice riding stance off-snow, facing in the riding-direction.
  2. In this technique, our down movement should be instant, going from a level 4 to a level 2 as quickly as possible.
  3. Then begin to slowly straighten out the legs to a level 4, where the sequence then begins again.
  4. Practice this a few times over, building a rhythm – similar to the way we did for High-Release.
  5. Once you have this, give it a go with the board attached on a flat bit of snow.

The Wave

  1. Begin on the Heel-Edge, at a level 4 (our “up” position).
  2. When ready, make the dynamic downwards/forwards/inwards motion – attempting to bring your knees to your chest as fast as possible whilst lowering the front toes down.
  3. This will make the board turn straight down the hill with a flat base. At this point, we should still be at level 2.
  4. Slowly begin to stand back up on to the Heel-Edge again, eventually finding yourself back at level 4 with your weight in the middle of the board. Try to feel that as we stand up, we are creating pressure between the board and snow.
  5. Once back at level 4, we can release the pressure and this process can be repeated a few times during one traverse.

Now try the same sequence on the Toe-Edge. Remember to focus on bending the knees, NOT THE HIPS, and to also now lower the front heel instead of the front toes. 

The timing for this technique can be very difficult to nail, so it may take a few attempts at the wave on both edges before mastering it.

Turn up the Mountain

Moving on to the Turn Up the Mountain, we will now be repeating The Wave exercise, however on a larger scale now.

  1. Begin on the Heel-Edge and squat down to a level 2 whilst lowering the front toes.
  2. At this point the board is going to point straight down the hill.
  3. Slowly begin standing back up on the Heel-Edge, with the weight equal on both legs.
  4. Whilst steering out and standing up, actively pull up the Toe-Edge and feel how much pressure we can build up underneath us.
  5. Try a few times until it works, then repeat on the opposite edge.

One and Half Turns

Now it’s time to do One and Half Turns by adding an extra couple of steps to the Turn up the Mountain.

  1. Beginning on the Heel-Edge, repeat steps 1-4 from the Turn up the Mountain.
  2. At the end of these steps, there should be plenty of pressure between our edge and the snow
  3. Make an extremely dynamic downwards/forwards/inwards motion to make the board flat and straight.
  4. Change edge and slowly begin to stand up on the Toe-Edge.
  5. Practice this until it works and then a couple more times to really drill in the feeling of Instant-Pressure-Release.
  6. Follow this build-up again on the Toe-Edge.

TIP: Don’t forget to look where you want to go – it’s quite easy to forget, but our body works as one long chain which begins with the eyes.

Linking the Turns

Once we can do One and a Half Turns staring on both edges, we can try to link a few together down a medium red piste. It can be helpful to count either in our head or out loud to improve the timing of this technique. Remember FAST DOWN, SLOW UP.

Short Turns

What?

Short turns are actually a very similar technique to the High-Release Drift Turn – in that we are still unweighting the board with a dynamic upwards/forwards/inwards-motion, then building up pressure with the downwards-movement.

The difference is that our rhythm is reasonably faster during this turn-technique. This means that our downwards motion doesn’t last as long or go as far as with the High-Release Turn. This allows us to build up and release pressure at a much higher pace, making our turn radius shorter and the turn-rhythm faster.

Why?

Short turns allow us to travel at faster speeds and navigate steeper terrain under control, whilst keeping an active feel for the turn radius and rhythm. We don’t always want to make the same large turn-radius, but we also don’t want to be straight-lining down a black piste… This technique allows us to stay in the middle-ground confidently, as well as improve our ability to navigate through narrower terrains.

How?

  1. We initiate the turn with a very dynamic “High-Release” movement, combined with a pressure release from the board’s edge (rebound).
  2. We steer the turn by essentially making a half-moon shape with our front knee (In the direction we wish to turn the board).
  3. This movement makes a fast transition from Edge, to Flat, to New Edge.
  4. We then make a slightly dynamic downwards motion through a bend in the knees, which will then build up pressure for us to release.
  5. The cycle is then repeated on the new edge.
  6. We should fall in to a rhythm where each turn-size is equal.

 

TIP: A rhythm that works well with this technique is between 1 and 2 seconds per turn. Not too fast, not too slow…. Just right.

Where?

These turns should be practiced on medium to steeper reds in my opinion. We need a gradient that allows us to build up pressure quickly during the steering phase of the turn.

Build-Up

Before learning this turn, we need to be 100% happy with High-Release Drift Turns. That is crucial guys!

  1. First, practice the rhythm in a nice, flat spot, so we can start building some muscle-memory. Remember, the downwards-section of this movement is more dynamic that the High-Release Drift Turn, but not as fast as the upwards-section. (UP, DOOWN, UP, DOOWN; NOT UP DOOOOOWN, UP, DOOOOOWN)
  2. The next step is to get strapped in and find yourself a medium to steep red-piste.
  3. Begin with a completely normal High-Release Drift Turn rhythm.
  4. As you ride down the slope, begin tightening the turns (increasing the rhythm). This means spending less and less time making the downwards motion.
  5. As the rhythm increases, try to feel the Half-Moon shape that the front knee should be making.

It may take some time to get the rhythm you want, but keep at it and don’t forget that all we are doing is building and releasing pressure.

Tips

To help with the rhythm, use vocal-queues (talk to yourself like a weirdo), or get someone to do it for you and try to stick with it.

If your rhythm goes tits up, just stop for a second, breathe, take in the view and then retry. Hitting the reset button is exactly what we need sometimes.

Basic Carving Technique

What?

Carving on a Snowboard is essentially using the board’s edge to slice through the snow, as opposed to sliding through it like we do during a drift-turn. It also makes much less noise and leaves a pencil-line as a track behind us. This is achieved because the Tail of the Board follows the exact same edge as the Nose.

Why?

The Basic Carving Technique is a fantastic way to learn to carve the board, which, if I haven’t already stated enough, feels INCREDIBLE! Also, carving turns allow us to carry more speed, steer more accurately and force us to adopt more stable riding-positions. 

How?

  1. To initiate a turn, first carry some speed with a straight, flat board.
  2. We then begin to slowly lean on to an edge, with an engaged core, pushing the hips in to the mountain.
  3. The body stays in-line with the board throughout this technique.
  4. The Board’s Edge locks in to the snow and begins to drive us back up the mountain.
  5. During the steering phase, we actively hold the tension we can feel between the board and snow to allow this “drive-action” to continue.
  6. Eventually, we return to our original upright position and lean diagonally-forwards across the board, which will bring us back in to the fall-line, where we can begin these steps again on the opposite edge.

Where?

I love to teach this technique on a wide, chilled out blue piste that’s not so busy. Learning and practicing carving can take up a lot of space, so we need to make sure we do it SAFELY. Also, being on a chilled blue allows us to build up the speed under control, rather than just going a million miles per hour as soon as we point the board.

The Movement Build-Up

To build up to this technique, we should ideally have someone to help us. We need support when practicing the position and the leaning-motion, so having a friend or instructor there to support our weight is beyond helpful.

  1. Begin in a flat area with the board attached, standing in the normal riding position with a flat board.
  2. Starting with the Heel-Edge, have your buddy stood behind you, ready to take your weight.
  3. Slowly begin to lean backwards, imagining that you want to “pee like a girl” throughout the motion.
  4. Keep looking in the riding direction, and as you lean more and more backwards, bend the knees more and more also.
  5. Then, with the help of your buddy, stand back up.

Now for the Toe-Edge. The same rules apply for your buddy here too.

  1. Start once again with a flat base and your buddy in front of you.
  2. This time, slowly lean forwards, ensuring that you push the hips in to the lean – “Pee like a Boy”.
  3. As you lean and push the hips, you’ll feel the Heel-Edge lift up.
  4. Once again, keep looking in the riding direction and feel how dug-in your Toe-Edge is.
  5. Now return back to standing – it’s your turn to help your buddy!

TIP: Whilst practicing the leaning, remember that during a turn, there will be pressure building up between the edge that we’re on and the snow. The position we’re trying to find here should be able to support that pressure.

Turn to the Mountain

Now that we’re getting familiar with the position, we can take it to our chilled out, not so busy blue slope. We’ll start with the Heel-Edge, making sure to ALWAYS look up the piste before attempting this turn.

  1. Begin at the side of the Piste, as this gives us a lot of room for this one turn (which, if done correctly, we will need).
  2. Standing on the Heel-Edge, lean on the front leg to point the board straight down the hill and build up some speed.
  3. Then, begin to slowly lean and push the hips into the turn, attempting to pee like a girl.
  4. The further you lean AND bend the Knees, the tighter/sharper the turn will become.
  5. The object of this exercise is actually to hold the position for so long that the board steers you back up the hill, resulting in a loss of all speed so that right at the end, you just flop in to the snow.

I would recommend to practice this a few times on the same edge before moving on.

When ready, head to the opposite side of the slope so that we can try the same drill on the Toe-Edge.

  1. The same build-up applies here, but this time begin on the Toe-Edge.
  2. Point the board until you gain some speed.
  3. Lean in to the turn whilst pushing the hips and this time, “Pee like a boy!”.
  4. Feel the pressure under the Toe-Edge drive you back up the hill, which we can increase by leaning inwards more.
  5. Finally, keep steering uphill until you lose all speed and just kneel down in to the snow.

One and a Half Turns

Once you’ve spanked out a few Turns to the Hill on both edges and are happy with how the carve feels, it’s time to jump in to One and a Half Turns. This time, let’s go through a Toe-Side build-up first.

  1. Begin this exercise by repeating steps 1-4 for the last one.
  2. This time, instead of waiting to lose speed and flop over, we steer the board until our speed calms down slightly.
  3. Then stand back up to let the board point back down the hill.
  4. Gain some speed once again and begin to lean in to the next turn – peeing like a girl.
  5. Try this a few times until you have a good understanding of the Edge-Change.

Now try the same exercise again, but begin on the Heel-Edge. When transitioning from Heels to Toes, don’t forget that the Hips are a huge helper in holding the pressure build-up.

Linking the Turns

If you’re happy with everything so far, it’s time to start linking the turns properly. Experiment with turn size and how slowly or quickly you can build up the position throughout a turn.

Tips: It’s quite easy to focus on slowly leaning inwards when it’s already too late. Most first-attempts at this technique have a drifted first half and a carved second. Don’t be scared of the speed guys and build up that position SLOWLY FROM THE START.

Body Angulation

This is more of a position build-up rather than a turning technique; however, we DO NEED TO KNOW THIS if we want to progress our Carving to a high-level!

Body Angulation is essentially a way to optimize our body-position in order to deal with the high pressures that build up during faster, bigger carving turns. Put simply, Body-Angulation =  More Stability.

Heel-Side Angulation

  • Eyes – Looking in the riding-direction.
  • Shoulders – Rotated slightly in to the riding-direction
  • Upper Body – Upright
  • Hips – Into the mountain
  • Butt – Front Butt-cheek pulled towards the back binding
  • Knees – Bent
  • Back Hand – Imagine that throughout the turn, you’re slowly reaching to try and grab the Toe-Edge between the bindings

Toe-Side Angulation

  • Eyes – Looking in the riding-direction
  • Shoulders – Rotated slightly in to the riding-direction
  • Upper Body – Upright
  • Hips – In to the Mountain
  • Knees – Bent
  • Front Hand – Imagine that throughout the turn, you’re slowly reaching to try and grab the Heel-Edge of the board

Notice that there really isn’t much difference between the two positions in terms of description. We’re ALWAYS looking where we’re going, keeping the shoulders in an active-position, with an upright Upper-Body, Hips pressed towards the mountain and bent knees.

The reason for turning the shoulders in to the riding-direction is so we can actively keep our Centre of Gravity over the board. For example, if we didn’t turn the shoulders during a fast toe-side carve, we would have to stabilize by arching our back – which doesn’t end well. Instead, we turn them to the riding direction so that we can stabilize laterally (sideways), which is a much more controlled method of stabilization.  

High Release Carving

What?

This is the first carving technique to incorporate Body Angulation, meaning that we can travel at higher speeds down the mountain. The angulation means our body position is now stable enough to deal with much higher pressures than the Basic Carving Turns, because it keeps our center of gravity stable over the board’s edge. This is where we begin to cross the threshold in to high-performance snowboarding. Also, as the name suggests, we use a High-Release movement (very similar to that of the drift turn) in initiating and steering these turns.

Why?

High Release is another step further in to the carving world. We learn how to implement a more aggressive riding position, whilst improving how much control we have at higher speeds. This technique helps us learn to fly!

Where?

We need a medium gradient with good grip to learn High-Release Carves. Too steep and it we travel far too fast for learning; too slow and we can’t build enough pressure to incorporate Body Angulation. As with ALL carving techniques, ensure that the piste you choose isn’t too busy. We don’t want to be wiping anybody out!

How?

  1. A High-Release Carving turn is initiated mainly with a dynamic upwards/forwards/inwards movement (much like that of the Drift-Turn variation), which unweights and releases the pressure from the edge of the board.
  2. At this point, the board turns in to the fall-line and we quickly change edge.
  3. From here, we slowly make a downwards movement – building up our body angulation on whichever edge we’re on.
  4. This enables us to actively steer the board until we want to make the next turn.

Build-Up

  1. Begin by revising the High-Release Technique.
  2. To do this, head out to a relatively steep piste and go through a run or two of High-Release Drift Turns.
  3. Now head to a medium-gradient, where we will first begin with a Turn to the Mountain on the Toe-Edge.
  4. Start by pointing the board straight with a flat base until we pick up a bit of speed.
  5. At this point, we should be at level 4, with an active riding-stance (shoulders rotated slightly in the riding direction).
  6. Now, if you remember back to the Body Angulation section, it’s mentioned that throughout the turn on our Toe-Edge, our front-hand should be aiming to try and grab the Heel-Edge of the Board.
  7. I don’t expect you to grab it, but it’s a good thought to have in the mind whilst learning.
  8. We should be getting gradually lower and lower throughout the entire turn, until we finally come back up the hill, lose all speed and come on to our knees in the snow.

For the Heel-Edge Turn to the Mountain, the same rules apply. This time however, we will be aiming to slowly reach with the back hand to grab the Toe-Edge in between the bindings as we bend the knees more and more. Imagine you want to get your butt as close to the snow as possible without actually touching down.

One and a Half Turns

  1. Pick either edge to start on and begin with a Turn to the Mountain.
  2. Steer that turn and build up your Body-Angulation.
  3. Once you feel your speed begin to calm down, make the explosive upwards/forwards/inwards movement to make the board straight.
  4. Change edge and build up the Body Angulation on the opposite edge.

Practice this starting on both edges one or two times – or as many as it takes to feel the body-angulation working. Remember, apart from the motion to initiate a turn, the main difference here is that this new body position allows us to carve more aggressively, SO BE AGGRESSIVE!

All that’s left to do now is to link a few turns together.

TIP: If you ever feel like you’re losing control, you are… So don’t forget the reset-button. Stop for a second, enjoy the view and crack on.

Deep-Release Carving

What?

To best describe this technique, I would say that we take the High-Release Carve and swap out the upwards/forwards/inwards movement for a DOWNWARDS/forwards/inwards one instead. We’re simply taking the knowledge of our Deep-Release Drift Turns and adapting it in to carving, which can be a really handy technique to understand.

Why?

As mentioned in the Deep Release Drift Turn Section, the down-motion that we use to initiate one of these turns allows us to INSTANTLY unweight the board, which releases all of the pressure at the same time. This can be a genuine life-saver if we’re carving down a nice, open piste and all of a sudden, WE SEE A HUGE BUMP AHEAD

Making a Deep-Release Movement means that we can instantly release all of this pressure by unweighting the board – which, translated in to English, means we that make a turn whilst absorbing the bump – thus saving us from an otherwise twitchy-butt ordeal. This use of instant-unweighting at high speeds is exactly why this technique is a must-know for those high-speed carvers among you!

Where?

A medium gradient – so a steeper blue or chilled red with grippy snow. Learning this technique should laso be saved for a day that’s not so busy to avoid any collisions.

How?

  1. We use an instant release of pressure through a dynamic downwards motion; combined with a forwards/inwards movement over the front of the board to initiate the turn.
  2. This allows the board to turn in to the fall-line and change edge (it feels like the board rolls underneath us from edge to edge).
  3. We then begin to build up the Body-Angulation needed to control and steer the board through the turn.
  4. Continue to hold this position until ready for the next turn, when we repeat the process on the opposite edge.

Build-Up

  1. Let’s begin by recapping the Deep-Release Drift Turns. We want to be 100% confident with the downwards/forwards/inwards motion, so have a couple of runs to refresh.
  2. Now it’s time to go ahead and try a Turn to the Mountain, starting with the Toe-Edge.
  3. Begin by coming ALL THE WAY DOWN and then letting the board turn down the hill.
  4. Once the board picks up enough speed, begin to slowly stand up (building up the body angulation on the Toe-Edge, feeling the pressure build as the edge steers us back up the mountain.
  5. When we finally lose our speed, just plonk down in to the snow.
  6. Then, try the same thing on the Heel-Edge, beginning as low as possible and slowly coming up on the Heels.

TIP: Don’t forget to actively pull up the edge to increase the grip we have in the snow. This means physically pulling the toes up whilst on the Heel-Edge by contracting our Shin-Muscles (Tibialis Anterior). To actively increase the angle on the Toe-Edge, imagine digging the toes in to the snow whilst pushing the hips in to the turn.

One and a Half Turns

  1. Pick an edge and begin this step exactly like the last one – Squatting down, letting the board turn down the hill and slowly building up the position to hold that edge.
  2. When you feel like the pressure has maxed out, bend those knees as fast as possible to drop the upper body downwards/forwards and inwards.
  3. Let the board make the rolling-motion I mentioned earlier – from edge-flat-edge.
  4. Now we should be on the opposite Edge to the one we started on, beginning to once again build up the body angulation.
  5. The important thing at this point is that we’re initiating the turn correctly and coming out in a carve, not drifting.
  6. Practice this a few times on both edges, making sure that we aren’t accidentally making a tiny Upwards-Motion before the Downwards one.

 

Now we can begin to connect these turns – ensuring that we use a good rhythm, active Edging and slow position-buildups.

To improve technique, experiment with how much pressure you and the board can take, as well as turn-size.

Tip: It’s quite common that people actually initiate these turns with a tiny upwards-motion (I’m talking about the hundredth of a second before we make the instant drop down). We really want to avoid this, as it completely ruins our rhythm and the whole point of this technique – so mayber ask your teacher or buddy to check your initiations to prevent this.

Euro-Carving:

This next section, although classed in to the Carving-Category, is really its own area. This is because the body position for Euro-Carving is VERY DIFFERENT to other Carving. The first time you lay out a full Euro (pretty much completely horizontal) is one hell of a feeling.

In any case, I would only move on to this next section if you’re already VERY CONFIDENT in your carving abilities.

Toe-Side Eurocarve

What?

This is generally the form of Euro-Carving that most people try first. Basically, a Euro-Carve is a carved turn whilst dragging our hand/forearm in the snow along-side us. With the Toe-Edge variation, our back hand/forearm is what drags in the snow, whereas on the Heel-Edge, we use the front hand.

To make this possible, we first adopt a low, stable position during a Toe-Side Carve in order to begin dragging the hand. At this point, we extend the legs and upper body whilst maintaining an active edge-hold in the snow to avoid the board drifting or slipping out. This position is then held for however long the rider wants – either when we begin to lose speed, we run out of space and the friction between out elbow and snow creates to much heat on the forearm.

Why?

As well as improving edge-control, board-manipulation skills and body-awareness; Euro-Carving represents one of the main reasons why people snowboard at all… It looks cool!

Where?

Pick a Grippy-Piste that you can already carve on – a Blue/easy Red. Only practice this when it isn’t so busy guys – we turn in to a missile on a mission when learning to Euro-Carve, so let’s try to avoid any collisions.

How?

  1. We should begin by normally-carving across the piste on our Heel-Edge, carrying some momentum with us.
  2. To initiate the Euro-Carve, we should completely squat down, similarly to the Deep-Release Technique. This allows us to simultaneously change edge AND place our back hand/elbow in the snow.
  3. The Toe-Edge then locks in to a carve and begins to steer us down the hill.
  4. During this steering, we actively straighten out our bodies to become as horizontal as possible – essentially holding a more complicated Plank-Position as the board then continues to steer us through the turn.
  5. The more we push the hips downwards in to the mountain, the more horizontal we can get.
  6. We will then begin to lose speed and can exit the carve by once again bending the knees, coming back to a compact position, where we can stand up from and continue to ride away.

Movment Build-Up

To learn this technique, it’s actually worth stepping out of the board for a few minutes and practicing the movement needed to get horizontal.

  1. Stand in the snow, squat down, back hand in the snow, then extend (push) from the feet whilst forcing the hips down towards the ground to increase the edge-angle.
  2. You should end up in essentially a one-armed Plank, looking in the riding-direction. Now give the same static-exercise a try with the board attached. It’s worth taking the time to build this muscle-memory!

On-Snow

For the next step, I would suggest to simply begin by trying to drag your back hand in the snow during some Toe-Side Carves. This is a greate way to learn how pushing the hip-position further downwards affects how well our edge holds in the snow, as well as how tight the turn can become. Practice this loads guys, and I mean LOADS! If this is working well for you, it’s time to really start getting horizontal.

Focus on the timing of the turn, making sure to enter the Euro-Carve whilst coming ACROSS the Piste. The reason for this is so that we can get completely in to position before the pressure between the Board and snow reaches its maximum. All we then need to do is hold, wait and steer.

To improve and tweak your position, experiment with how fast you build it up. Generally, the faster the position buildup, the smaller the turn-radius.

Heel-Side Eurocarve

What?

Similar to the Toe-Side variation, Heel-Side Euro-Carving is the sexy art of dragging a hand in the snow during a carved turn on the Heel-Edge.

This is definitely the more complicated variation, but already having the knowledge from the Toe-Side Euro will help us understand the build-up and how to adopt the correct position.

Why?

If you manage to lay one of these out and ride away smoothly, anyone who sees it is going to be like “Daaaaaaaaym son!”. It feels great, looks great, and is probably one of the most advanced general carving-techniques…

Yes, there are ways to further spice up our carves and add in extra tricks to increase the difficulty, but Heel-Side Euros are tasty… really tasty!

Where?

As with the Toe-Side Euro, let’s go for a piste that YOU KNOW you can and already have carved on. Grippy snow, medium gradient, not busy.

How?

  1. This technique is accomplished by first making a carved turn across the piste on the Toe-Edge.
  2. From here, we drop down – bending the knees completely, in order to allow the front hand to touch down to the snow as we smoothly change egde on to the heels.
  3. Now, we should have our complete forearm and palm in the snow, so that we’re effectively balancing like a tripod – with our Heels and front forearm supporting our weight.
  4. From here, we can push out and straighten the legs to really lay out the position.
  5. As the board steers firstly down the hill, then further around the turn, we actively pull up the toes to increase our edge-hold, which will help control the pressure that builds up.
  6. Lastly to finish the turn, when we begin to lose speed and momentum, we once again retract the legs in to bring ourselves in to a compact position where we can stand back up and ride away.

Personally, I find the last section of this turn the hardest, as standing straight up from one of these turns can be tricky with getting the balance right.

Movement Build-Up

Begin by first trying out the finished-position without the board. Don’t just adopt the position, build it up as though we were on a board:

  1. Imagine you’re carving on the toes.
  2. Make the dynamic drop down by bending the knees, rolling from the toes on to the heels.
  3. Place the front-hand on the floor and actively pull up the toes.
  4. Slowly push out the feet until we’re relatively horizontal and stretched out.

On-Snow

  1. Once you’ve practiced the movement build-up couple of times, find some flat snow and practice with the board.
  2. The difference here will be that by pulling the toes up, we’re digging in the edge more, which means that when we push out, it is likely that the board won’t move and the forearm will slide outwards. It’s all good though, just go with it.
  3. Now head to the slope you’ve chosen to practice on.
  4. Begin by making a few normal deep-release carving turns, but when coming on to the Heel-Edge, see how close you can get that front-hand to the snow.
  5. Keep practicing this until you can touch down, even if only for a second or two. Remember to ACTIVELY pull up the toes to prevent the board slipping away.
  6. Once we’ve scored ourselves a few touch-downs, let’s have a go at the full Euro-Carve.
  7. Make a toe-side Carve and carry some momentum with you across the piste.
  8. Then when you’re ready, with absolutely NO HESITATION AT ALL, drop down, place the hand in the snow and change edge at the same time, extend the legs and pull up the toes.
  9. If all of this works, feel the pressure build up and ride it out!

Tip: Don’t forget to enter the carve WHILST coming across the mountain. If we start after already point the board down the hill, it becomes very difficult to hold the edge-pressure.

The Revert

What?

Reverting is more of a trick, rather than a carving technique. We use knowledge of Counter-Rotation (also known as body-separation) to quickly unweight the board, giving us enough time to change the direction of travel with the same edge. 

This trick is almost always performed on the toe-edge.

Why?

As with most Snowboard Tricks, we learn it because it looks cool. However, this is also a great skill to learn, as it further increases our edge-awareness and we can adapt it to Euro-Carves.

How?

To make a revert happen, we first need to be VERY CONFIDENT in our carving ability and body-separation.

  1. To initiate a revert, we should first be in the midst of a Toe-Side Carve.
  2. As long as the piste isn’t busy, we wind the arms to the tail of the board.
  3. We then simultaneously throw the arms and unweight the board with a light upwards-movement in the knees. 
  4. This results in our lower-body rotating the opposite way to the upper-body.
  5. The Toe-Edge then locks back in to the snow and drives us in the opposite direction to the original carved-turn – essentially in a switch-carve.
  6. During the revert, we hold the position with our arms and legs firmly counter-rotated against eachother, with our head looking up the hill (in the direction we cam from).
  7. When ready to ride normally again, we once again whip the arms and unweight the legs slightly (this time in the opposite direction to the first time), which brings us back to the original way we were riding.

Where?

A piste that you can already carve confidently down with plenty of open space.

Movement Build-Up

In order to learn a revert, we should first revise our counter-rotation technique. This can be done either before heading up the mountain or in a flat-spot of snow.

  1. Wind up the arms to one side.
  2. Throw them in to the opposite direction and make a little jump at the same time. 
  3. This should result in the upper and lower-body rotating in opposite directions.
  4. Practice this a few times on both sides.
  5. Now imagine that you’re carving on the Toe-Edge and looking in the riding direction.
  6. Wind up the arms once again.
  7. Throw the arms, however instead of a little jump, try to drag the feet as the lower-body rotates against the upper until they can’t go any further.
  8. Hold this position, looking in the same direction that arms are being held 
  9. Finally, rip everything dynamically back to its original riding-position.

Build-Up Whilst Riding

Now that we’re happy with the base-movement, we need to adapt it in to our riding to create the revert. To do this, we should begin with Drift-Turns. Don’t forget that we will only be practicing this on the Toe-Edge.

  1. Start by making some Basic Drift-Turns down a relaxed blue piste.
  2. When steering on to the Toe-Edge, wind up the arms ready to create the counter-rotation.
  3. Whilst steering around the turn (prior to the board driving across the piste), simultaneously counter-rotate with the upper-body and slightly unweight the Toe-Edge in order to drag it.
  4. Now the Upper and Lower-Bodies should completely counter-rotated against eachother and we should be facing in the same direction that the arms are pointing, with the board driving in the opposite direction.
  5. When ready, pull everything back to the way you began, ending back in to the normal riding-position.
  6. Ride away confidently and practice this until comfortable.
  7. Practice this for as long as it takes to get comfortable with the movement at speed.

This can now be developed further inb order to add it in to our carving. Try the following points to improve the revert:

  • Increasing speed in small increments.
  • Experimenting with the Range-of-Motion that you put in to the Counter-Rotation.
  • Experimenting with how far across the piste the board steers before making the Revert.

Switch-Riding

What?

Simply put, Switch-Riding is just normal riding, but with the other foot forwards. After you’ve never tried it before, I have one word for how it feels… WIERD. Although we already know the technique for linking turns, switch rhymes with b**** for a reason. My main piece of advice whilst learning Switch-Riding would be to approach it confidently and patiently. You know the sequence of movements needed to make a turn, so make them confidently, and be patient whilst letting the board turn.

Why?

Switch-Riding has many uses, such as if we have a long traverse ahead of us. Normally, we would have to ride the whole way with our normal foot forwards, which can result in our legs cramping up. Having the ability to change to switch riding at this point means that we could relieve the cramping area and use the opposite muscle-group.

Also, FREESTYLE! This is the main use for switch-riding in my opinion, as we often make spins that end in a switch-landing. Imagine that we want to do a 180 (a half of a full-rotation). Sure, we can learn the jump and the spin… But then we land with the wrong foot forwards, at which point, one of three things happens:

  1. We ride away looking like a bad-ass because we learnt switch.
  2. We have to instantly revert back to the normal way round, looking like a Grade A wannabe.
  3. We panic and fall over, also looking like a wannabe – but potentially hurting someone else.

I know which I’d rather do… How about you?

SIDE NOTE: Think about this… There are riders out there who throw down spins of 900 Degrees, which equates to two and a half full-rotations – which is no way near what the Pros do in competitions like the X-Games and the Audi Nines. As if this isn’t man enough, they’re landing and riding away with THE WRONG FOOT F*****G FORWARDS! Also, here’s an interesting fact while we’re on the subject. Earlier this year, a 16-year-old lad from Japan called Hiroto Ogiwara absolutely nailed a 2160 – which is six full-rotations… Six.

Where?

A nice, easy Blue Piste with not so many people around. Confidence is one of the biggest struggles with learning to ride switch, so having plenty of space physically is also good for our headspace.

Build-Up

When it comes to learning Switch, we first want to build a little bit of confidence in our own ability to put more weight on the other leg whilst riding. As a good start, I would say to first find a very shallow gradient somewhere. Here, we can practice leaning on the new front leg by riding straight in an environment where we don’t pick up speed. Have a couple of tries of this and stopping on both edges. Trust your ability to control the board whilst riding this way round. Once you’ve done this a few times, add these exercises to build even more trust in yourself:

– A squat whilst riding straight.

– A small jump whilst riding straight.

At this point, we should be pretty happy with leaning on the new leg – meaning it’s time we got our asses up to the piste.

Let’s start with a Frontside Turn (Going from the Heel-Edge to the Toe-Edge). Find a nice, quiet spot with a relatively shallow gradient. Stand on the Toe-Edge, take a big breath and then go through the sequence of motions that we already know:

– Simultaneously look over the new front shoulder and lean on the new front foot; thus lowering the new front Gas-Pedal.

– The Board will turn down the slope – STAY LEANING ON THE NEW FRONT LEG.

– Once the Board is completely flat, continue to look over the front shoulder and slowly lift up the Toe-Edge.

– The Board will now begin to steer across the piste – STAY LEANING ON THE NEW FONT LEG.

– Finally, when the board is across the piste, return back to the middle and chill –YOU NAILED IT!

And if by some chance you didn’t nail it, have a few more goes. Just stay confident and patient guys.

Now, let’s try exactly the same thing on the Heel-Edge. This time, instead of looking over the front shoulder, we’ll be looking up the Mountain as the Board steers on the new edge. As long as you maintain weight on the new front leg guys, you’re absolutely fine!

Once you’ve nailed a couple of both turns, start linking them together. Try and build a turn-rhythm to help us stop thinking and instead feel what’s going on. Overthinking is a common issue whilst learning switch.

TIP: If you find that after each turn attempt, you keep spinning around – essentially doing a full 360-slide; it’s likely that you’re shifting your weight backwards right at the end of the turn. This weight shift continues the momentum of the board steering and initiates a new turn.

Switch Drill:

Once you’re beginning to ride in switch more comfortably, there’s a great drill that I love to do for fun. Actually, whilst writing this, I realize that I don’t yet have a name for it. I think we’ll call it “The Oooold Switcheroo!”, and it goes a little something like this… (Run DMC, love it!):

– Find a piste that you’ve already made a few switch-turns down.

– We need to begin on the Toe-Edge for this drill to work.

– Make a normal turn on to the Heel-Edge and then CONTINUE STRAIGHT AWAY to make a   switch-turn back on to the Toe-Edge.

– Essentially, what we’ve done here is turn the Board 360 degrees.

– Ride like this briefly across the piste.

– Now, make a switch-turn from the Toe-Edge to the Heel-Edge and then once again CONTINUE STRAIGHT AWAY to make a normal-turn back on to the Toe-Edge.

– What we’ve done here, is make all 4 kinds of turns WITHOUT having to spin our head around.

– When put together in a rhythm, this drill can be practiced anywhere and is amazing for improving out switch-riding. We can even use this sequence of turning and adapt it to more advanced turning techniques, such as High-Release Carving.

Nose/Tail-Press

What?

Pressing the Nose or Tail means leaning on either the front or back leg – resulting in either the Nose or Tail lifting slightly in to the air. When practiced, we can ride in a Press-Position – which could be compared to a wheely on a bike or a manual on a skateboard.

Why?

Simply put, this is most basic technique in the Buttering-Family.

“Buttering” – The art of pressing one’s snowboard, causing it to flex and be placed under tension. A “Press” or “Butter” covers a broad spectrum of Snowboarding Tricks (Skis can also be “Buttered” on).

So if we want to take our board-control to the next level, this is a great technique to make a step in that direction.

Where?

A very shallow gradient where we can ride straight without picking up much speed. It’s always better to start slow and build up from there.

How?

  1. Whilst riding straight with a flat-base, a Press is initiated with a controlled shift of weight to either the Front or Back Leg.
  2. This shift in weight causes flex between the Bindings – resulting in the other end of the Snowboard lifting off the ground.
  3. This position can be held for however long the rider wants (depending on terrain, gradient, ability and guts).

Some Boards are more-designed for this kind of riding than others, so if you struggle to get any flex at all, the Board is probably too stiff for your weight.

On the other hand, if the board flexes a lot and easily slips out, it might be worth considering a slightly stiffer one. 

Movement Build-Up

To learn to Press, we NEED to have trust in standing on one leg with a slightly bent knee. If we can’t do this, then we don’t yet have the strength or confidence needed to learn this technique. Luckily, this can be easily trained and worked on at home, so I would recommend to head over to the Home-Training Section if this applies to you.

  1. Otherwise, head straight to a flat section of snow where we can strap in and stand on the spot without going anywhere.
  2. Stand perfectly in the center of the board and begin to slowly lean to one side.
  3. Keep leaning, keeping the board flat and the other foot will begin to lift up.
  4. Let this happen and try to hold this position for a few seconds before coming back down to the ground. Relax for a second and do the same thing on the opposite leg.

Putting it in to our Riding

  1. Now head to the shallow-gradient we’ve chosen, where we will begin with a Tail-Press, as this is the easier Press to control whilst riding.
  2. Ride straight with a flat Board for a meter or two.
  3. Lean on to the back leg, MAINTAINING the flat-base.
  4. Try to lift the Nose of the Board and hold it up for a few meters and then come back to the Boards center and stop.
  5. Practice this a couple of times before beginning to experiment just how far we can lift the Nose.

When we’re happy with the Tail-Press, we can move on to the Nose. Let’s make the same build-up again:

  1. Riding straight with a flat Board.
  2. Slowly lean more and more forwards until the Tail lifts off the ground.
  3. Keeping the Board flat, hold the Tail up whilst staying balanced.
  4. This will feel quite unstable to begin with, so make small steps in improving.

Ollie

What?

The ollie is basically the most effective way of getting air-born on a snowboard. Instead of having to rely only on brute-power generated from our legs, we can manipulate the flex and “pop” of our Board to create a smoother, higher jump with less effort.

Why?

The technique used for an Ollie allows us to fully-utilize the board’s potential, as some boards are designed to create more “pop” or Spring. 

Where?

Somewhere that we can ride straight comfortably, without picking up too much speed. We want to approach this technique cautiously to avoid injury to ourselves and others.

How?

  1. We first perform a dynamic weight-shift to the back end of the snowboard that creates flex from the tail to the front foot.
  2. At this point, the Nose of the Board and Front Foot should be completely off the floor (so that the board is under tension, like a bow).
  3. Once this flex has been created, we simply need to release it by pushing off the floor with the back foot and letting the board rebound so that it’s fully in the air.
  4. During the Air-Time, both legs are retracted (bending both knees) to bring yourself in to a compact, stable position.
  5. To land correctly, both feet should touch down at the same time – at which point we absorb the landing by bending the knees.

Movement Build Up

The Ollie can be easily built up, with the best start-point in my opinion being to try and learn the muscle memory at home before getting on to the snow.

WARNING: Always warm up before jumping straight in to a high-impact situation to avoid any injury.

Start by slowly going through the sequence at home or in the morning before heading up the mountain:

  1. Dynamic movement to the back foot, lifting the front foot about 30cm.
  2. Explosively push off the back foot, propelling us upwards in to the air.
  3. Once in the air, bring up both knees equally.
  4. Land on both feet at the same time, looking in the riding direction.
  5. After this, practice again in your Snowboard Boots.
  6. Then move on to practicing with the board attached in a flat spot of snow. (When it comes to adding the board, keep the board’s base flat and begin by making a very small Ollie which can then be built up).
  7. When you get comfortable with this, you can begin to practice whilst riding slowly. (It is IMPERITIVE that the Board stays flat whilst practicing this).

As confidence increases, use the following points to improve your Ollie:

  • Increase Speed
  • Increase Height
  • Ollie over something small
  • Ollie off something small (a small kicker/side-hit)

TIP: Try and always keep the arms relaxed when jumping, as it keeps us more balanced and there’s nothing cool about looking like an off-balance flappy bird. Getting in to this habit now will only help us more later.

Nollie

What?

The Nollie is another jumping technique that greatly increases the freestyle-possibilities we can learn. Although the overall movement of a Nollie is almost exactly the same as an Ollie, the feeling is usually very different because we are projecting our weight in to the riding direction, instead of towards the tail of the board.

Why?

We can already jump off the Board’s Tail. Learning to pop off the Nose means that we can experiment more in our freestyle abilities. Doing a big Nollie over a lip or roller feels like flying, and this ability and confidence to pop off the Nose means that we have the technical-knowledge to attempt tricks such as a Tame-Dog (Front Flip).

Where?

Just like the Ollie, find a nice shallow gradient where we can ride straight at a slow speed. Building up slowly requires slow riding in this case.

How?

  1. We begin riding straight with our weight in slightly more on the back foot than normal.
  2. This allows us room to dynamically shift our weight forwards on to the front leg. This movement causes the board to flex and become under tension.
  3. We then release this tension by explosively pushing off the front leg and propelling ourselves forwards and upwards. Imagine that you want to shoot yourself forwards at a 45-degree angle.
  4. Whilst air-born, we retract both legs to come in to a more compact position and land on both feet at the same time.
  5. Ensure that we stomp the landing with a light bend in both knees in order to absorb the landing.

Movement Build-Up

Once again, we want to first understand the movement that we need to make before practicing on snow. Practice these movements slowly in normal footwear first, and then build up to making the sequence in to one smooth movement. 

  1. Make a dynamic movement to the front foot, lifting the back foot about 30cm off the floor.
  2. Explosively push off the front foot, propelling us forwards and upwards about 45-degrees.
  3. Once in the air, bring up both knees equally.
  4. Land on both feet at the same time, looking in the riding direction.
  5. Now practice with Snowboard boots on.
  6. Head to a flat area on snow and put your Board on.
  7. Practice the movement a few times, remembering to do this with a FLAT BASE.
  8. Now head to a shallow-gradient and start making small Nollies whilst riding very slowly.
  9. As we improve, gradually increase the amount of Pop generated. If at any point, we start landing with our feet uneven or off balance, take a step back and re-build the technique.

We can further practice and improve our Nollies by using the following points:

  • Increasing the Riding Speed
  • Increasing the Nollie-Height
  • Jumping over something SMALL
  • Trying to Nollie off small features, such as lips and rollers

Frontside 180

What?

The Frontside 180 is (for most people) the easiest Spin-Trick to learn first because it requires zero head rotation and can be practiced easily whilst traversing and sliding. When it comes to making a spin-trick on a Snowboard, we are connecting two separate movements together, so we should first understand both of these movements.

Why?

If you ever have any hopes of progressing far within the Freestyle-Section of snowboarding, 180’s are an essential, but that’s pretty obvious I guess…

What spinning also does is improve our general confidence, edge-control, riding-stability and body-awareness.

Where?

A chilled Blue-Piste with where we can find a nice, quiet spot to practice.

How?

Firstly, this is called the FRONTSIDE-180 because we are spinning in to the riding direction.

  1. With that in mind, we achieve the trick by first riding on the Heel-Edge and winding up the arms to the back of the board.
  2. At the same time, we should have a slight bend in both knees, with our weight in the middle of the board.
  3. When ready, we simultaneously throw the arms to the front of the Board and jump off both legs equally.
  4. Whilst rotating, the legs are drawn upwards to the body for more stability
  5. We then land back in the switch-riding position, absorbing the landing with a slight bend in the knees.
  6. And now we can ride away in Switch.

Movement Build-up

The Muscle-Memory for this trick can be worked on at home by slowly learning and putting this sequence of movements together:

  1. Wind up the arms to where the back of the board would be whilst bending the knees, ready to jump.
  2. Throw the arms in the “riding-direction” and Jump at the same time.
  3. Retract the legs in to the body.
  4. Land on both feet equally, absorbing the landing.

Once this sequence starts working for you, try the same thing, but now imagine that you’re jumping from the Heel-Edge – placing slightly more weight on to the heels before making the jump. This is actually the more difficult edge to jump off, as we have one less joint (the ankles) to propel us. Building this Muscle-Memory now will help massively on the pistes.

Now find a nice flat spot where we can practice spinning with the board. We already know the movement-sequence, so it’s exactly the same (just with a heavy object attached to our feet).

Practice this as many times as it takes to get the 180-degree Rotation BEFORE heading on to the slope.

Now find a quiet area on the piste where we can safely practice this trick and follow these steps:

  1. Begin by first standing on the piste, standing in a sliding position – in the middle of the board, on the Heel-Edge.
  2. Do a few practice-jumps without rotating in order to feel how we can jump from an edge, without it edge slipping out from us. (We should actively pull the Toes up, to create more friction to push off)
  3. Now go through our movement-sequence once again, ensuring to focus equally on the jump and rotation. If done correctly, you should land on the Toe-Edge – which is a good thing!
  4. Then move on to trying the 180 whilst riding across the Piste, once again pulling the toes up actively to avoid slipping out.

Now you can officially do a Frontside-180, we can further improve by doing the following:

  • Increase how straight the board is when doing the 180. The goal is to work up to doing them whilst riding straight, jumping off AND landing on the Heel-Edge.
  • As you improve, try to use the arms less and the shoulders more. The reason we use the arms initially is to build a feeling for the rotation, but really, we can build up to doing them with our hands behind our backs.

Frontside Noseroll-180

What?

This trick is exactly what it says on the tin. We roll the board over its Nose in kind of a karate-kick fashion. The Board makes a 180 degree rotation, but when practiced, this technique can be utilized to do 360’s, 540’s and even bigger rotations.

Why?

Noserolls help improve our edge-control, ability to unweight the Board and Body-Awareness. They also begin teaching us new ways to manipulate the Board that can result in bigger rotations.

Where?

An easy Blue-Piste where we can confidently do a Frontside-180.

How?

  1. The trick is begun similarly to the Frontside-180 – with a Pre-Wind of the arms to the back-end of the Board and a bend in the knees.
  2. We then simultaneously throw the arms to the Nose of the Board, whilst unweighting the tail of the board with a dynamic upwards/forwards motion to the board’s nose.
  3. Our back leg then does what is best decribed as a mini karate-kick, swinging around whilst the nose of the board remains in contact with the snow.
  4. The back leg then lands in the front-position – meaning that we are now in Switch, where we can simply ride away.

Build-Up

Because this sequence of movement is quite technical to learn, we should first practice off-snow. The sequence is as follows:

  1. Begin looking in the “riding-direction”, with our weight equal on both feet.
  2. Simultaneously wind up the arms to the back-end of where the Board would be and slightly pressurize the back leg by bending the knee slightly.
  3. Throw the arms in to the riding direction and at the same time, dynamically push off the back leg.
  4. At this point, the front leg should stay on the ground – acting as a pivot-point for the rest of the body to move around. During this, the back leg should be doing a kind of karate-kick.
  5. The back-leg should now be in front (switch-riding position), and the weight equal on both legs.

Practice this sequence a fair-few times, building it in to one smooth movement. When you’re ready, we can move straight to a quiet, easy piste.

The next step is actually to try the full trick. I would recommend to begin on the Heel-Edge, riding across the piste. Focus heavily on the arm-throwing and unweighting with the back leg. It’s much better to over-exaggerate the movements than under-exaggerate.

A common issue is under-rotating, which causes the nose to just slip out. Make sure that we throw the arms with the full intention of rotating 180 degrees.

When we become more confident with the Noseroll, here are a few ways to further improve:

  • Practicing whilst riding on the Toe-Edge, which requires us to throw the board up and over the mountain. This means a big unweight of the Tail is needed.
  • Pointing the board more and more in to the Fall-Line, eventually leading to doing a Noseroll whilst riding straight. Generally, the straighter we ride, the less edge we need to use.

What?

Counter-Rotation or “Body-Separation” is the technique used for rotating our Upper and Lower-Bodies in opposite directions and using our CORE to stabilize our body and return to our normal riding-position.

Why?

Mostly utilized for freestyle purposes, Counter-Rotation has a huge number of Sport-Specific uses, from throwing shiftys over a kicker, to our first Boardslides on a box, or even laying out a Revert-Carve on a prepped groomer.

In any case, learning this technique will massively increase our body-awareness and bring us a step closer to learning some crazy ways to manipulate our board.

How?

This Section will be ONLY about the technique for separating our Upper and Lower-Body. There are plenty of techniques within this guide that require us to learn this, so you can move on to those once this movement becomes natural.

As Counter-Rotation requires absolutely no snow to learn, this is one of the best techniques to learn during summer to save ourselves some time on the slopes.

  1. Find a flat spot with plenty of space for moving around (maybe at home or out in the garden).
  2. Standing on the spot, the best way to begin learning the range of motion that we have for this movement is to lift our arms to make ourselves in to a big “T”.
  3. Begin rotating the upper body from as far clockwise as it can go, and then do the same thing in the anti-clockwise direction. Keep the feet planted, with the aim of the legs not moving at all.
  4. Once we begin to understand how much room for movement there is, we can begin to increase the dynamic – carrying slightly more momentum in to the rotation.
  5. As we increase the momentum, we should begin to feel that there is a point on both sides where our core is completely wound-up, which then rebounds, pulling our upper-body in to the opposite direction (much like a drum from the film Karate-Kid).
  6. This rebound is what brings us back in to our Riding-Position when using this technique on our Snowboard.

There are plenty of ways to train this Technique at home that can increase the power that comes from the rebound, as well as increasing our range of motion. Below are just a few exercises to increase our ability to rotate laterally:

  • Windscreen Wipers: Liying flat on our back with the hands at our sides to stabilize us, we can lift our legs straight in the air and begin to slowly lower them to one side (keeping our back flat on the floor). Once they get to about 10cm from the floor, lift back up and continue down to the other side. 30 seconds to a minute of this exercise is great for our core-stability, making it a choice exercise for Counter-Rotational improvement.
  • Woodchoppers: This exercise requires a resistance-band or cable-machine, but is SO EFFECTIVE for improving our rebound-power. To do the exercise, we should stand with the band/handle in both hands, far enough from the contact-point that there is already some tension. Our lower-body should be at a 90 degree angle to the band or cable, with our arms facing towards the contact-point. Dynamically rip the arms away, to the other side of the body, hold it there for a second, and slowly come back to the start point. Obviously this should be practiced on both sides to keep our body even.

 

What?

So you’re at a point where you can make Turns, ride straight with a bit of speed and throw out some Ollies happily. It’s time to move on to hitting your first “Kicker” or Jump.

Kickers are made in a hiuge variety of shapes and sizes, from little jumps design for beginners and kids to practice on, to HUGE momsters designed only for the best of the Pro-Riders. 

The first time riding over a Kicker can be quite nerve-racking, ESPECIALLY if there are a bunch of steezy-looking riders watching from the start of the park.

TIP: Ignore all on-lookers when riding through a park. Noone is there to judge anyone, and every single person there was once in the same position as you, so you’re more likely to be given freee advice than get laughed at. As long as we’re riding safely, we’re all friends here.

How?

There are a few things we need to keep in mind when learning to jump over a kicker:

  • Speed: Our speed on approach massively affects how much air we’re going to get – too slow and we’re landing on the knuckle (The table between the kicker and the landing); too fast and we are going higher than Apollo 11. It’s always worth riding down towards the kicker a few times, but steering off to one side instead of jumping. This is called a speed check and is great for helping us understand how fast we should be riding to get to the landing.
  • Body Position: How we hold ourselves when riding over a kicker has a heavy influence over our Air-Stability. We bend and jump from the KNEES, NOT THE HIPS, the arms should be relaxed and by our sides and we should be looking in the Riding-Direction. Lastly, keep the Board Flat, as being on an edge will throw us off balance.
  • Jumping: We have a choice of how we can enter the air – either with an Ollie, Nollie, 2-Footed Jump or just by absorbing the Kicker (retracting the legs to minimize air-time). I would recommend to begin with a 2-Footed Jump, at least until you feel comfortable getting to the landing zone. Once you’re happy, begin experimenting with a small Ollie. This will increase the height you get in the air – BUT BEGIN SMALL.
  • In the Air: Once we’ve jumping and are soaring through the air like Eddie the Eagle, we want to make ourselves compact to increase our stability in the air. We do this by retracting the legs in to the body and keeping the arms DOWN. A lot of riders like to make a “Safety Grab” or Indy, which you can find the method for in the Basic Grabs Section.
  • Landing: So we’ve jumped, retracted our legs and are now approaching the landing zone. Keeping in mind that we need to ABSORB this upcoming impact, we want to do so with the Knee-Joints. This means that before we touch down, we need to extend the legs once again to create room for absorbtion. Following this, we want to try as much as possible to land with both feet at the same time, which will help to keep us balanced.

And that is how we ride over a jump guys. It’s quite a nerve-racking process the first few times, but keep these points in mind and it’ll all be fine.

Nose/Tail-Press

What?

Pressing the Nose or Tail means leaning on either the front or back leg – resulting in either the Nose or Tail lifting slightly in to the air. When practiced, we can ride in a Press-Position – which could be compared to a wheely on a bike or a manual on a skateboard.

Why?

Simply put, this is most basic technique in the Buttering-Family.

“Buttering” – The art of pressing one’s snowboard, causing it to flex and be placed under tension. A “Press” or “Butter” covers a broad spectrum of Snowboarding Tricks (Skis can also be “Buttered” on).

So if we want to take our board-control to the next level, this is a great technique to make a step in that direction.

Where?

A very shallow gradient where we can ride straight without picking up much speed. It’s always better to start slow and build up from there.

How?

  1. Whilst riding straight with a flat-base, a Press is initiated with a controlled shift of weight to either the Front or Back Leg.
  2. This shift in weight causes flex between the Bindings – resulting in the other end of the Snowboard lifting off the ground.
  3. This position can be held for however long the rider wants (depending on terrain, gradient, ability and guts).

Some Boards are more-designed for this kind of riding than others, so if you struggle to get any flex at all, the Board is probably too stiff for your weight.

On the other hand, if the board flexes a lot and easily slips out, it might be worth considering a slightly stiffer one. 

Movement Build-Up

To learn to Press, we NEED to have trust in standing on one leg with a slightly bent knee. If we can’t do this, then we don’t yet have the strength or confidence needed to learn this technique. Luckily, this can be easily trained and worked on at home, so I would recommend to head over to the Home-Training Section if this applies to you.

  1. Otherwise, head straight to a flat section of snow where we can strap in and stand on the spot without going anywhere.
  2. Stand perfectly in the center of the board and begin to slowly lean to one side.
  3. Keep leaning, keeping the board flat and the other foot will begin to lift up.
  4. Let this happen and try to hold this position for a few seconds before coming back down to the ground. Relax for a second and do the same thing on the opposite leg.

Putting it in to our Riding

  1. Now head to the shallow-gradient we’ve chosen, where we will begin with a Tail-Press, as this is the easier Press to control whilst riding.
  2. Ride straight with a flat Board for a meter or two.
  3. Lean on to the back leg, MAINTAINING the flat-base.
  4. Try to lift the Nose of the Board and hold it up for a few meters and then come back to the Boards center and stop.
  5. Practice this a couple of times before beginning to experiment just how far we can lift the Nose.

When we’re happy with the Tail-Press, we can move on to the Nose. Let’s make the same build-up again:

  1. Riding straight with a flat Board.
  2. Slowly lean more and more forwards until the Tail lifts off the ground.
  3. Keeping the Board flat, hold the Tail up whilst staying balanced.
  4. This will feel quite unstable to begin with, so make small steps in improving.

What?

A Helicopter is essentially just spinning around on our board at the same time as moving down a piste. We can do this both clockwise and anti-clockwise.

Helicopters are achieved through effective edge-control, combine with a constant weight-transfer.

Why? 

Not only is this a great exercise for switch-riding, but Helicopters also increase our edge-awareness, which is crucial when it comes to buttering. I would always recommend to learn this exercise before getting into more complicated butters/presses.

How

We initiate a helicopter by first making a Basic Drift-Turn, ensuring to focus on the following 2 points:

  • Transfer the weight on to the front leg whilst the board points straight.
  • Finish the turn with the weight in the centre of the Board.

This finished turn will now be directly followed by a Switch-Turn, once again ensuring that the 2 points mentioned above are the main focus.

We should now be stood exactly as we were prior to the first turn, a few meters down the piste. This process can now be repeated multiple times to create a much longer helicopter.

Where

A piste where we can confidently make Basic Drift-Turns without falling over.

Movement Build-Up

This technique is very much a “learn by doing” situation, however there are a couple of things that we can do to prepare ourselves prior to jumping in to it:

  • Learn how to make Switch-Turns – they don’t need to be perfect, but at least try a few.
  • Get used to a rhythm of transferring weight from one leg to the other – essentially making a half lunge as we pressurise. This will get us used to constantly changing the front-leg as we spin around. We can also practice this in the flat with the Board attatched.

TIP: Don’t forget to always look where we want to go. In this case, I mean that we should always be looking around and over the shoulder that is leading the spin. If we stop looking and just stare at one spot, we will end up hindering our rotation and ruin the rhythm.

What?

A larger rotation than 180 degrees, utilitzing the Nose of the Board to “pop”, which allows us to jump higher and spin faster.

Why?

Not only a great way to start learning larger rotations on the flats, but also a new method of Board-manipulation, which will later allow us to pop off features, get more creative and increase our confidence on the Snowboard.

How?

The “pop” that we need for this technique is essentially a rebound for the Snowboard when we place it under specific pressure; and the more pressure, the bigger the pop!

  1. This Trick is intiated generally during the steering-phase of a Heel-Side Drift-Turn.
  2. Whilst on the Heel-Edge, we simultaneously bend the knees and wind the arms to the back of the board.
  3. The aim here is to make the first 180 of this rotation without the Board’s Nose leaving the ground, so when we throw the arms, remember that this is still (in essence) a Noseroll.
  4. The back leg karate-kicks around – rolling over the Nose. At this point the front-leg is still slightly bent, as we need to push off of it – which is what makes the rebound happen.
  5. The board the pops in to the air and we continue to look over the front shoulder to prevent hindering the rotation.
  6. The Board spins the last 180 and we land back in our original riding-position.

Where?

A relatively flat piste with plenty of space – NOT ON AN ICY DAY!!!!

Build-Up

I always like to begin by getting my students to revisit Frontside Noseroll 180’s, as this is the basis of what we now want to do.

  1. Practice these for a few runs until we are confident with them.
  2. Now begin to increase how dynamically we karate-kick the back leg – we will notice that the rotation slightly increases.
  3. Keep increasing until we’re essentially doing Noseroll 270.
  4. Now we need to think about where we are looking, so focus on whipping the head around, with the aim to finish in the same position we start in.
  5. It takes time, but we simply need to practice and increase our awareness of how much pop creates how much rebound.

Once we get comfortable with the 360, this technique can be practiced and improved to do 540’s and even 720’s.

TIP: This form of spinning relies heavily on our Hip-Flexor Muscles and their ability to dynamically pull the back leg, so you may find that practicing these over and over might results in muscle-ache in the upper thighs. This is normal, but know when to call it a day… Pulling one of these can result in a few days off the mountain.

What?

A Frontside 360 on Flatland is one full rotation in the air, generally made from the Heel-Edge as this sets us up nicely for the spin.

Why?

Learning 360’s and other larger spin on the flat can help us build up to doing them over jumps and features. Also, the general attributes required to do a 360 will only improve our general Snowboarding-Technique and Board-Awareness. 

How?

  1. The Trick is initiated by first using the Heel-Edge to push off.
  2. We steer slightly in to a Heel-Side Turn, with the arms wound up to the back of the board and the knees bent heavily, ready to make a dynamic jump.
  3. The arms are then thrown explosively in to the rotation, at which time we also make a big jump with the legs.
  4. The head should instantly be looking around the spin, guiding our body, legs and board around the rotation.
  5. During the Air-Time, we lift the legs in to the body to create a stable position. The arms should be kept down to avoid throwing ourselves off balance.
  6. We then land with both feet at the same time, with slightly more pressure on the Toe-Edge to stop the rotation continuing.
  7. Finally, look in to the riding direction and ride away.

Where?

Somewhere relatively flat that’s not very busy. We want to be able to stay slow whilst learning this trick to begin with.

Movement Build-Up

Getting used to spinning 360’s can be easily practiced off the snow at home. Try the following sequence to build some muscle-memory prior to heading up the mountain:

  1. Just try a 360 on the spot a few times.
  2. Find a point on the wall to use for “spotting the landing“. Use this point as a target to be looking at upon landing the 360. Try this also a few times.
  3. GET THOSE ARMS DOWN. When we start to get comfortable with the rotation, we will proabably need to clean it up slightly. This time, when throwing the rotation, we should try to keep the arms down by our sides. This will pay back massively when it comes to On-Snow Training.
  4. Bring the knees up whilst rotating. Try and bring the knees right up to the body for air-stability.
  5. Lastly, we also have the option to try and add some weight. Snowboards don’t weigh a huge amount, but it does make a difference – especially when we also have bindings and boots. I would recommend to use ankle weights for this.

On Snow Build-Up

  1. Begin on a flat area where we can first practice with the boots on. This is so we can get used to how the added weight feels, as well as get warmed up properly.
  2. Once happy, strap the board on and try to do a couple on the spot – although as we can’t really use the edge the same way in the flat, it might be difficult to get the full 360.
  3. Now head to the shallow gradient where we can practice whilst riding.
  4. Begin by making a Heel-Side Drift Turn.
  5. Whilst steering across the mountain on the Heel-Edge, wind up the arms, bend the knees and go for it!
  6. It may take a few times to get, but just remember the following points:
  • The head leads the spin.
  • Keep the arms down.
  • Bring up the knees.

Futher develop your frontside 360’s by:

  • Going faster.
  • Pointing the board straighter.
  • Trying them off of features and jumps.

 

What?

A Backside 360 on Flatland is one full rotation in the air, spinning towards to the tail of the Board. These are generally made from the Toe-Edge as this sets us up nicely for the spin.

Why?

Learning 360’s and other larger spin on the flat can help us build up to doing them over jumps and features. The additioning bonus of backside spins is that they boost our confidence because we’re forced to enter the rotation blind (not being able to see the landing). 

How?

  1. The Trick is initiated by first using the Toe-Edge to push off.
  2. We steer slightly in to a Toe-Side Turn, with the arms wound up to the front of the board and the knees bent heavily, ready to make a dynamic jump.
  3. The arms are then thrown explosively in to the rotation at the same time as making a big jump with the legs.
  4. The head should instantly be looking around the spin, tying to spot the landing and guiding our body, legs and board around the rotation.
  5. During the Air-Time, we lift the legs in to the body to create a stable position. The arms should be kept down to avoid throwing ourselves off balance.
  6. We then land with both feet at the same time, with slightly more pressure on the Heel-Edge to stop the rotation continuing after landing.
  7. Finally, look in to the riding direction and ride away.

Where?

Somewhere relatively flat that’s not very busy. We want to be able to stay slow whilst learning this trick to begin with.

Movement Build-Up

Backside 360’s can be easily practiced off the snow at home. Try the following sequence to build up muscle-memory prior to heading up the mountain:

  1. Just try the Backside-360 on the spot a few times.
  2. Find a point on the wall to use for “spotting the landing“. Use this point as a target to be looking at upon landing the 360. Practice this a few times until it becomes comfortable.
  3. GET THOSE ARMS DOWN. When we start to get comfortable with the rotation, we will proabably need to clean it up slightly. This time, when throwing the rotation, we should try to keep the arms down by our sides. This will pay back massively when it comes to On-Snow Training.
  4. Bring the knees up whilst rotating. Try and bring the knees right up to the body for air-stability.
  5. Lastly, we also have the option to try and add some weight. Snowboards don’t weigh a huge amount, but it does make a difference – especially when we also have bindings and boots. I would recommend to use ankle weights for this.

On Snow Build-Up

  1. Begin on a flat area where we can first practice with the boots on. This is so we can get used to how the added weight feels, as well as get warmed up properly.
  2. Once happy, strap the board on and try to do a couple of Backside-360s on the spot – although as we can’t really use the edge the same way in the flat, it might be difficult to get the full 360.
  3. Now head to the shallow gradient where we can practice whilst riding.
  4. Begin by making a Toe-Side Drift Turn.
  5. Whilst steering across the mountain on the Toe-Edge, wind up the arms, bend the knees and go for it!
  6. It may take a few times to get, but just remember the following points:
  • The head leads the spin.
  • Keep the arms down.
  • Bring up the knees.
  • FULL COMMITMENT!!!!

Futher develop your backside 360’s by:

  • Going faster.
  • Pointing the board straighter.
  • Trying them off of features and jumps.

What?

A pretzel – other than a delicious snack – is a sexy looking butter, that incorporates a heavy counter-rotation. We essentially begin with a counter-rotated 90 degree rotation, and pop out of it with a 270 degree spin in the opposite direction, finishing in switch. This trick can be further developed and used on boxes and rails. In this guide, we’ll be talking about the Backside Pretzel, because it is the easier variation.

Why?

Pretzels are a great Milestone in our buttering progression. They require a very good level of counter-rotation and quickly become a great tool in our personal book of tricks for flat pistes, track and in the park.

How?

As mentioned above, we need to already have a good level of counter-rotational awareness in order to learn this trick.

  1. We begin by riding straight, on quite a shallow gradient.
  2. To throw the Pretzel, we first wind up the arms to the front of the board, preparing them counter-rotate.
  3. Dynamically throw the arms to the back of the Board WHILST kicking the back leg around, about 90 degrees. 
  4. At this point, our upper body and lower body should be completely counter-rotated against each other, with all of our weight on the Front-Heel. The Back Foot should be lifted slightly off the floor.
  5. We then use this counter-rotation to explosively rebound back in to the opposite direction, whipping the arms towards the Nose of the Board, as well as popping off of the front foot.
  6. This makes the lower body spin 270 Degrees, resulting in a Switch-Riding Position, where we can ride away comfortably.

Where?

A relatively flat slope where we can practice without gaining too much speed.

Movement Build-Up

Let’s begin by learning the movement off snow. To make it easier to learn, we’ll break it down in to the 2 main sections.

Movement 1

  1. Stand as if we’re on a Snowboard, looking in the riding direction.
  2. Wind up the arms to the “Nose” of the Board.
  3. Concurrently throw the arms to the “Tail” of the Board, whilst unweighting and kicking the Back Leg about 90 Degrees in the opposite direction.
  4. At this point, all of our weight should be on the Heel of the Front Foot, with the back foot lifted slightly off the floor. Our Upper and Lower Bodies should be completely counter-rotated against each other.

Movement 2

  1. Begin in the position from point 4 of the Movement 1 Build Up.
  2. At the same time, we need to throw the arms and upper body towards the riding direction AND pop off of our Front-Heel.
  3. This should result in the lower body making a 270 Degree rotation, finishing in a switch riding position.

Combine these 2 movements and practice until it becomes one fluid sequence.

On Snow Build Up

  1. Begin by practicing the movement on some Flat Snow with just the boots on, remembering to focus on placing weight on the Front-Heel.
  2. Now put the board on and stay in the flat.
  3. With the Board attached, practice Movement 1 of the Movement Build Up, getting used to having presure on the Heel-Edge of just the front foot.
  4. Once happy, let’s go to a nice shallow gradient and practice this same section of the Movement a few times.
  5. All that’s left to do now is to add the rebound, ensuring to give 100% in order to achieve the 270 degree rotation in the lower-body.

TIP: When practicing the Trick, during the initial counter-rotation, look behind you (up the piste). This will prevent our heads from blocking the 270.

What?

Named after the former-pro Mark Frank Montoya, the MFM is a technically very challenging, yet GANGSTER looking butter that can be performed either backside or frontside. We’ll be focusing on the Frontside Variation as it is generally the easier option.

Why?

When it comes to flatland butters on a Snowboard, it doesn’t get much more advanced than the MFM. That being said, this can be put in to further butter-variations and can be utilized over rollers and rails. Kevin Backstrom’s huge frontside 360’s incorporate the MFM on a much larger scale and let’s be honest, it doesn’t get any more stylish than that!

How?

In order to do an MFM, we need to be very confident in our Counter-Rotation ability.

  1. To begin a Frontside MFM, we start with the arms wound up to the front of the snowboard, with the generous bend in the knees.
  2. We then dynamically unweight the back foot whilst counter-rotating the arms to the back of the board. This will make the back foot come off the floor and start rotating to the front. (The Nose of the Board should still be in contact with the snow).
  3. Once we maximize the counter-rotation (meaning the upper and lower bodies can’t rotate against each other any further), we dynamically whip both sections in the opposite directions, as well as popping off the Board’s Nose and touching down the Board’s tail.
  4. The arms should now be where they originally started and the Tail should be touching the snow.
  5. Finally, whip the arms one last time towards the Board’s Tail, which will pull the Board in to switch, where we land firmly with both feet and ride away.

Where?

A relatively flat piste where we can practice the movements without picking up too much speed.

Movement Build-Up

To create the movement for a full Frontside-MFM, let’s break it down in to three sections – the first, second and third Counter-Rotations.

Movement 1

  1. Begin by standing as if we are on a snowboard, looking in to the riding direction.
  2. Wind up the arms to the “Nose”. 
  3. Simultaneously whip the arms towards the “Tail”, whilst lifting and kicking the back leg in the opposite direction, towards the Riding-Direction.
  4. The final point of this section should look as though we’ve done a Karate Kick with the back leg, with our upper body completely counter-rotated against it.

Movement 2

  1. Begin in the position from the last point in the Movement 1 Build-Up.
  2. Using the rebound from the wound up Counter-Rotation that we currently have, synchronously hop off of the front foot on to the back foot and throw the arms back in to the riding-direction.
  3. This will result in us standing on the back foot, with the front leg in the air in front of us (pointing in the riding direction), with the arms where they began (at the nose of the board).

Movement 3

  1. Beginning where we left off from the last point of the Second Movement, we now want to make one last arm-whip, throwing them towards the back end of the board.
  2. As this arm-whip is made, make one final hop off of the back foot and make a 180 with the legs.

Once we understand and can slowly make all 3 of these sequences, develop the Trick by combining them together slowly and increasing how fluid we make them.

TIP: When it comes to actually doing the trick on snow, the first “Pop” off of the front foot is crucial, as we never fully stand on the back leg throughout the trick until we land.

On Snow Build Up

It’s always worth finding a flat spot of snow to get the legs warmed up and into the movement-sequence. Do this prior to attempting the trick whilst riding to save a sore-butt and remind us of how fast this movement shoud happen.

  1. Finally, let’s head to a friendly piste where we can ride slowly whilst practicing.
  2. Remember when attempting the Trick that we need FULL COMMITMENT ON EVERY ATTEMPT, so even if it takes 15 minutes of going over the movement without the board, keep going until you feel comfortable to give 100%.
  3. Whilst riding straight, get those arms wound up and GO FOR IT!

TIP: As we’re doing the Frontside variation of this Trick, always keep it in mind that shouldn’t AT ALL be using the Toe-Edge. The aim when touching the board down is to use the Heel-Side of the Nose the Tail as the contact points.

What?

Spinning in to a Butter is basically the technique of making either a frontside or backside spin directly prior to further pressing or manipulating the board. The amount of spin that we make depends entirely on what we’re trying to achieve. In this guide, we’ll talk about a 180-In, in both a Frontside and Backside variation.

Why?

Spinning in to butters not only increases the level and difficulty of the butters we are doing, but also has huge benfits for our body and edge awareness. This technique can also be adapted to boxes, rails and rollers.

Movement Build Up

The best way to get a feel for spinning in is to first practice without the Board, as this will get us used to pressurizing the correct leg at the correct time.

Frontside 180-In

  1. Begin in the Riding Position and wind up the arms to the “Tail” of the Board with bent knees.
  2. Throw the arms and jump with the legs to make a Frontside-180, with the aim to land ONLY on the switch Back Leg.
  3. Notice that if you keep the eyes focused in the riding direction, the rotation will stop here. If we look around the rotation, our body will continue to follow. THIS IS THE SAME WHEN SPINNING IN ON THE PISTES.

Backside 180-In

  1. Begin in the Riding Position and wind up the arms to the “Nose” of the Board with bent knees.
  2. Throw the arms and jump with the legs to make a Backside-180, with the aim to land ONLY on the switch Back Leg.
  3. If we want to stop the rotation, keep the eyes fixated on the point directly behind you.
  4. To continue the rotation, let the eyes keep looking around and back towards the riding direction.

TIP: When it comes to spinning in on the Snow, we need to always be aware of the edge. Essentially, never let the downhill-edge go in to the snow, because it will dig in and not feel great. Think back to the Helicopters!

What?

Spinning out of a Butter is basically the technique of making either a frontside or backside spin directly out of a Butter. Depending on the pressure between the board and snow, as well as the speed we are travelling, the “Out-Rotation” can be anything from a chilled 180, to a double-cork over a roller. Marcus Kleveland is THE BOY when it comes to big, technical butters – so chuck that name in to Youtube to get some extra inspiration.

In this Build-Up, we’ll be talking about spinning out of a SWITCH TAILPRESS wWITH A 180, BOTH FRONTSIDE AND BACKSIDE. In order to make this easier to learn, make sure to first be comfortable with the Spinning In Build Up.

Why?

Spinning out is the icing on the cake when it comes to butter-variations, so the way that we handle ourselves here is what develops our tricks to look more stylish and smooth. Also, popping out of butters is a great way to improve our rotational awareness for both park and natural kickers.

Movement Build Up

The best way to get a feel for “spinning out” is to first practice without the Board. Doing this is going to help us understand what it feels like to pop off of one leg in to a rotation.

Frontside 180-In

  1. Begin by adopting a normal Riding Position.
  2. Now make a “Backside 180 in” by using the technique from the “Spinning In” section. Finish this by landing in to a Switch Tailpress.
  3. From here, continue to look around the rotation, with the aim of facing back in the riding direction.
  4. WHILST DOING THIS, pop off of the leg that you are standing on and allow the whole body to follow the head, so that you land back in the normal riding position.

Backside 180-In

  1. Begin by adopting a normal Riding Position.
  2. Now make a “Frontside 180 in” by using the technique from the “Spinning In” section. Finish this by landing in to a Switch Tailpress.
  3. From here, continue to look around the rotation, with the aim to look behind you (up the slope).
  4. WHILST DOING THIS, pop off of the leg that you are standing on and allow the whole body to follow the head, so that you land back in the normal riding position with the head facing behind. 
  5. Once landed, then turn the head back around to face in to the riding direction. This will prevent over-rotating.

TIP: Spinning out requires a good amount of pressure between the Board and Snow, so don’t be afraid to really press hard. 

What?

This section will go through the simplest ways to grab our Board whilst airborn.

Grabs are a great and relatively simple way to make even small jumps look stylish and smooth. It’s a way to put our own personal flavour in to an otherwise generic motion, so it’s definitely worth learning ALL OF THESE so that you can decide for yourself which ones you prefer. A large grab-arsenal is a must when park-riding. 

Another added benefit to grabbing the board, is that it brings us in to a compact position in the air, which can improve our spin-technique and allow us to keep control of the arms, instead of letting the flail around.

The Indy (Back-Hand Grabbing between the Bindings on the Toe-Side)

Also known as a “Safety-grab” for both it’s use of making us compact in the air AND being one of the simplest grabs; The Indy is when we grab the board in between the bindings on the Toe-Side Edge with the Back-Hand.

The important thing to remember when grabbing an Indy is to bring the Board to you. Once in the air, simply bending the knees will draw the board up towards the body – meaning that we can have a minimal bend in the hips, which keeps us balanced.

The great thing about an Indy is that it can also be one of the most stylish grabs in the book when performed nicely, with a good tweak.

Don’t forget to straighten the legs out prior to landing! If we land with completely bent knees, there’s nothing to absorb the impact – which results in very sore knees!

The Mute (Front-Hand Grabbing between the Bindings on the Toe-Side)

Mutes are quite similar to the indy because of where we grab the board, but the difference is the hand that we grab with

Often combined with a shifty, the front-hand grabbing between the bindings on the Toe-Edge looks great over back-country kickers and is my personal “go-to-grab” for backside spins, because it just falls in to place when throwing the arms in to a backside rotation.

The Nose-Grab (Front-Hand Grabbing the Nose of the Board)

I think the Nose-Grab is surprisingly tricky on the first few attempts, because it requires us to use our legs differently. To best understand this, let’s break it down in to steps:

  1. Lie down on the floor, either with the board attached or without, with the feet placed as if the board is there.
  2. As with most grabs, we want to utilize the legs to bring the board to us – which makes grabbing it much easier and more stable.
  3. To do this, fully bend the front knee and completely straighten the back leg.
  4. Notice how close this brings the Board’s Nose to the front hand, making it much easier to grab.
  5. This is exactly what we do in the air in order to stay balanced whilst grabbing the Nose.

The Tail-Grab (Back-Hand Grabbing the Tail of the Board)

Even though this is easier than the Nose-Grab because there’s no risk of leaning too far forwards, the Tails-Grab requires a very similar movement, but with the legs the other way around:

  1. Lie down on the floor, either with the board attached or without, with the feet placed as if the board is there.
  2. As with most grabs, we want to utilize the legs to bring the board to us – which makes grabbing it much easier and more stable.
  3. To do this, fully bend the back knee and completely straighten the front leg.
  4. Notice how close this brings the Board’s Tail to the back hand, making it much easier to grab.
  5. This is exactly what we do in the air in order to stay balanced whilst grabbing the Tail.

The Melon (Front-Hand Grabbing between the Bindings on the Heel-Side)

Probably the trickiest of the grabs in this section, the Melon requires us to grab the backside edge of the board in between the bindings with our front-hand.

There are a few different ways to make this grab easier:

  • Once in the air, we can flick up the heels by bending both knees, which will bring the board within an easy grabbing-distance of the front-hand. This variation can be practiced by lying on our front in the snow and bending the knees to get the edge to the hand.
  • The slightly more difficult, but more stylish variant requires us to basically crouch down, bringing both knees up to the body in order to get the edge nice and close to the front hand. This variaton can be easily practiced whilst stood in a flat spot with the board on. Just crouch down withthe knees and reach for the edge whilst maintaining balance.

The TINDY (HOW NOT TO GRAB THE BOARD)

Although not officially a grab, the Tindy seems to be a popular way to make everyone cringe amongst budding snowboarders. The grab is a mix between a tail and indy grab – resulting in the back hand grabbing the toe-edge side of the tail. It looks baaaad guys, so avoid this at all costs!

What?

 A shifty is what we call it when we use Counter-Rotation or Body-Separation whilst airborne. This simply makes our upper and lower bodies turn against eachother, which looks BAD.ASS when doen properly and feels incredible.

Why?

Shifties are an essential for any Snowboard Freestyler’s “Bag O’ Tricks”. We can use them to make grabs look more stylish or perform them on their own. 

Improving our shifties has the added bonus of improving technique for Boardslides, rotational-pullbacks and Flatland Butters.

How?

Before even looking any further, we should already be very confident with what Counter-Rotation is and how to do it. If you aren’t yet ready, I would suggest CLICKING HERE to brush up on it. If you are already confident in your knowledge of Counter-Rotation, then by all means, please carry on reading.

  1. We begin the Shifty-Technique prior to leaving the ground (jumping). This is done by winding the arms up, either to the front of the Board for a Frontside-Shifty, or the Back of the Board for a Backside-Shifty.
  2. As soon as we’re in the air and feel stable, throw the arms to initiate a Counter-Rotation against the lower-body. AT THE SAME TIME, we bend the knees to create a more compact position.
  3. We will then reach the maximum counter-rotation, which can either be held or released – depending on how much air-time we have.
  4. If holding, we should be maintaining core-tension to keep ourselves stable and compact.
  5. If releasing, we should actively bring everything back to the normal riding-position, getting the legs ready and lined up to land and absorb the impact.

Where?

In order to practice shifties on our Board, we need to be airborne. Once we’ve learnt them, they can be done with as little as an Ollie, however we generally need a bit more air-time to learn them. I would recommend a small, properly shaped kicker with a nice landing.

Build-Up

  1. Begin by just riding and jumping over the kicker a few times without a shifty. This will get us used to the exact speed and pop needed to ride in and out smoothly. This can be done either with or without grabbing the board.
  2. Once happy with the way the kicker rides, it’s time to add the shifty.
  3. About 3 meters prior to jumping, wind up the arms so that we’re ready to rock.
  4. Jump at the top of the kicker and counter-rotate like never before (giving nothing less than 100%).
  5. Release the shifty and return to the riding-direction.
  6. Land with both feet, absorbing by bending the knees and ride away like the badass you are!

TIP: A Backside-Shifty is the perfect partner to a large array of grabs, so getting them clean and confident will add a lot of personality to your grab-bag!

What?

Although it may sound funny, boning and tweaking a grab is a huge-deal when it comes to making grabs in the air. The act of further manipulating our body whilst holding a grab enables to give even more of our own style.

Boning is generally when we completely straighten one or both of the legs whilst holding the board. A good example of a “boned-out” grab would be the Indy. Once we’ve gotten a hold of the board, we can simultanously make a shifty and bone-out our back leg. This makes the grab look nothing less than sexual to any onlookers.

Tweaking can also refer to the legs, but in my experience describes a motion not quite as big as a bone. A nice “tweaked” grab for me would be a melon. Once we’ve grabbed the board, we can make a slight shifty and slightly straighten out the front leg. 

Why?

Because it looks sick, that’s why! If you’re reading this and asking why anyone would want to do this, then I think this section perhaps isn’t yet for you. In that case, watch some professional snowboarding videos on Youtube to get more an idea.

How?

In a word, experimenting… There’s no real science to learning to bone/tweak the board, but I would heavily recommend to get confident with both backside and frontside Shifties first. 

We can practice boning out our legs whilst sat on the floor with the board on, which I find helps me to visualise exactly how I want the chosen grab to look in the air. 

The best Off-Snow practice for boning and tweaking would be, in my opinion, on a trampoline with either a tramp-board or a skateboard and a tire-innertube. This gives us the air-time needed to grab and play around.

For inspiration on boning and tweaking, I would heavily recommending every episode of “Peace Park”, which can easily be found on Youtube. The guys there are just incredible to watch and I always come away feeling pumped to send some s*** afterwards.

 

Method

My favourite grab of all time. Methods are a beautiful-looking way to grab the board, but require a strong-level of air-stability to do correctly, which is due to the heavy “Tweak” that we make.

A method is when we grab the board on the Backside Edge with our front hand. Once we’ve done this, we then use the back-arm to counter-rotate in the riding-direction. This movement is made so dynamically that we completely stretch out our body from Back Hand to Back Foot. The base of the Board should be pointing down the hill during the most stretched-out part of the grab.

It’s important to note that we should first focus on grabbing the board BEFORE making the counter-rotation.

TIP: To make the counter-rotation easier, I actively pull my back arm further towards the tail of the board prior to takeoff.

Stalefish

A stalefish is when we grab the board on the Backside Edge between the bindings with our back hand WHILST making a Frontside Shifty. The Shifty actually makes this grab easier, as we don’t have to reach so far for it.

I find that heavily pre-winding the front arm in preparation for the shifty makes a big difference in how easy a Stalefish can be, as this enables us to throw it across our body whilst going for the grab with the back hand.

Rocket Air

The Rocket Air is a great first double-handed grab to learn, thanks to the fact that we can relatively easily progress from a Nose Grab to the Rocket Air.

To make it, we grab the Nose of the Board with both hands. I like to give it an extra pull in to the body once the Nose is in both hands.

Note that just like the Nose Grab, we can make our lives a lot easier by bending the front knee and straightening out the back leg to bring the Nose of the Board closer to us.

Roast Beef

Not just a top Dinner on an English-Sunday, the Roast Beef is when we grab the Board on the Heel-Side Edge through our legs with the Back Hand. I guess we could say that it’s a step up from the Indy, as it requires us to reach a bit further to make.

As with a lot of grabs, this can be practiced whilst stood in a flat-spot of snow, to ensure that we have the flexibility to make it.

We can Bone out and add a Shift to a Roast Beef very similarly to the way do an Indy, which can be practiced on a Trampoline quite easily. I would say to first get the Indy’s dialled though to make it easier to learn.

Chicken Salad

Not to be confused with a healthy meal option, the Chicken Salad is when we grab the Heel-Side Edge of the Board through the legs with the Front Hand. 

In the same way that the Roast Beef is a step up from the Indy, the Chicken Salad is the same from the Mute Grab. we first need to feel stable grabbing with the Front Hand before we start chucking it between our legs guys…

We can practice the motion for this grab in a flat spot before heading to the Kicker, and we can also add a nice Shifty or Tweak to make it look that bit more stylish, which can be practiced on a Trampoline.

Seatbelt

Opposite to the Crail, the Seatbelt is when we grab the Tail of the Board with the Front Hand.

This can be practiced by standing on the Board in a flat spot and reaching for the grab like this. 

We can also make the grab easier by making a Frontside Shifty, which will bring the Tail closer to the Front Hand.

I would first recommend to get the Tail Grabs dialled in before moving on to this.

Crail

The Crail is when we grab the Tail of the Board with only the front hand. This requires a certain level of flexibility/core mobility, as well as a good setup to make the reach easier.

We can build up a feel for the range of motion needed by standing on the board in some flat snow and reaching for the nose with the back hand.

When going for this grab, I like to wind up the back arm prior to jumping. This allows me to create a slight counter-rotation in order to bring the board closer to the hand.

Another good way to practice this grab (if you’re comfortable in the air) is to go over a medium kicker, which gives us enough time to make a Rocket Air, then let go with the front hand which leaves us in a Crail for a split second before landing.

Tuck-Knee Indy

The Tuck-Knee is a more advanced variation of the basic Indy Grab. Requiring a good level of felxibility and air-stability, we grab the Toe-Edge between the Bindings with the back hand and then pull the Board to bring our hips through.

In the most boned-out position, our back leg should be heavily bent and the front leg relatively straight.

I would recommend to practice this grab on a trampoline before attempting on the Snow, because making the Bone movement can be quite tricky to begin with.

Japan Air

Similar to the Tuck-Knee, a Japan air is when we first make a basic Mute Grab and then pull the board to get our hips through the gap. 

This trick requires a very good level of Air-Stability, so I would definitely recommend to practice first on a Trampoline.

Cookie Monster

Although I find this grab incredibly unrealistic for the average rider to learn (I will never attempt this over a kicker), it’s definitely worth knowing that it exists and is possible to learn.

The grab begins by first making a solid Rocket Air. We then pull the board very heavily in to our bodies, which then brings it in to proximity of our mouth (if you’re flexible enough). We then finish by biting down on the Nose of the Board and holding it in our mouths (Whilst maintaining the double-handed grab). 

If anyone out there does this successfully over a kicker, please send me the video and you will have my life-long respect!

TIP: Don’t forget to release the board from your mouth before landing or that will not be fun.

Crystal Method

Not a commonly seen grab, a Crystal Method is the mirror of a regular Method. We ride over the kicker normally, and instead of grabbing the with the front hand, we do it with the back hand.

The counter-rotation means that we’re facing back up the hill towards the kicker we’ve just jumped off – meaning that we’re flying through the air blind to the landing.

I do enjoy this Grab, but it still doesn’t feel as nice as a regular Method.

If you want to learn this, I would first recommend to learn the Method, and perhaps even a Switch-Method.

Speed-Check

The speed that we take riding in to a jump makes a massive difference to how our time in the air and landing will go. Not every kicker requires the same speed on approach – even if they are the same size, so it’s always worth doing a speed-check or 2 when trying new jumps.

To make a speed check, I first like to watch other riders who already know the jump. Things to look out for include:

  • Drop-In Point (Where they start riding in from)
  • Turns on Approach (How many turns they make before the jump and the turn-size)
  • Speed-Scrubbing (Looking for any deliberate braking on approach)

This will already paint a good picture for the speed we want to be taking. We can now use this to make our own Speed-Check. I do this by riding in as if I were to do the jump, but then making a turn in the last second to go around it. If I feel like I had enough speed to make the landing, then I’ll go back up with the lift and go for it!

NOTE: When going for a Spin, I always take slightly more speed to compensate for what I lose with the Setup Turn, which you can learn about below…

Setup Turn

To make this simple, let’s first think about when we want to do a 360 on the piste. In order to make the rotation, we need to be on an edge to push off from, which means that we need to begin with a slight turn to get on to that edge. We use the same principle when rotating over a kicker.

Before learning how to make a Setup Turn for spinning over a kicker, I would always recommend to first learn the Basic Carving Technique. This has 3 benefits:

  1. It allows us to maintain our speed on approach to the jump.
  2. We can accurately aim ourselves straight over the kicker.
  3. It gives us a solid edge-hold in the snow, which we can use to push off from for our spin.

The Setup Turn is often mistakenly drifted in the last couple of meters before takeoff, which scrubs away speed, reduces how much pressure we can create to push off from and also send us diagonally in to the landing – which means that we have a further distance to clear the table.

To practice setup turns, I would recommend practicing carving in a relatively straight line – so creating a Snake Track in the snow behind, rather than big S-Turns.

What?

The 180 is generally the smallest rotation that we can make over a kicker. However, once we’re comfortable with the basic Frontside and Backside variations, there are a huge amount of others that we can progress towards.

Here’s a short list of 180 Variations:

  • Frontside (Normal Riding-Stance, spinning in to the Riding-Direction off the Heel-Edge)
  • Backside (Normal Riding-Stance, spinning away from the Riding-Direction off the Toe-Edge)
  • Switch Frontside (Switch Riding-Stance, spinning in to the Riding-Direction off the Heel-Edge)
  • Switch Backside (Switch Riding-Stance, spinning away from the Riding-Direction off the Toe-Edge)
  • Frontside Hardway (Normal Riding-Stance, spinning in to the Riding-Direction off the Toe-Edge)
  • Backside Hardway (Normal Riding-Stance, spinning away from the Riding-Direction off the Heel-Edge)
  • Switch Frontside Hardway (Switch Riding-Stance, spinning in to the Riding-Direction off the Toe-Edge)
  • Switch Backside Hardway (Switch Riding-Stance, spinning away from the Riding-Direction off the Heel-Edge)
  • Late Backside (Normal Riding-Stance, spinning away from the Riding-Direction from the Toe-Edge – however using counter-rotation to make the spin at the latest possible point in the air)

How?

Before we can learn all of these crazy variations, we need to get the fundimentals down first – so let’s begin with the Basic Frontside 180. Before delving in to this, I recommend to first learn how to do this trick on the Piste. The Build-Up for these can be found in the Basic Freestyle Section of this Guide.

Once you’re happy doing 180’s whilst riding, taking it to a Kicker isn’t technically much more challenging, however it does take confidence, so make sure to do this over a Kicker that you’ve ridden and jumped over before and are confident with the speed needed to get to the landing.

  1. Begin your approach to the kicker, maintaining a good speed, making whatever turns are necessary to line yourself up correctly.
  2. 5-7 meters before takeoff, rock slightly on to the Toe-Edge to enter a very slight carve. This is the first part of our Setup Turn.
  3. 3-5 meters before takeoff, rock over on to a slight Heel-Edge Carve, which will both steer us back in to a straight line over the jump and also give us the purchase to push off from.
  4. About 2-3 meters before takeoff, wind up the arms slightly to the Tail of the Board and bend both knees slightly. 
  5. WE ARE NOW READY TO ROTATE.
  6. At the takeoff point, jump with both legs at the same time (not bending at the hips) and throw the arms in to the Riding-Direction.
  7. During the air-time, the board will now rotate 180 degrees, bringing us in to Switch. Whilst this is happening, bring up the knees slightly to create a stable position.
  8. Land in Switch, absorbing the impact with both knees and ride out smoothly.

What?

A 360 is when we make one full rotation in the air, landing back in the same riding-direction we take off from

360’s are one of the most comfortable rotations to make over a smaller kicker, because we land in our normal riding-direction and don’t need to worry as much about timing as we do with a 180.

In this guide, we’ll go over the Frontside and Backside 360’s, but there is a wide array of variations to progress towards.

Here’s a short list of some of them:

  • Frontside 360 (Normal Riding-Stance, Spinning in to the Riding-Direction off the Heel-Edge AND Landing on the Toe-Edge to prevent over-rotation)
  • Backside 360 (Normal Riding-Stance, Spinning away from the Riding-Direction off the Toe-Edge AND Landing on the Heel-Edge to prevent over-rotation)
  • Switch Frontside 360 (Switch Riding-Stance, Spinning in to the Riding-Direction off the Heel-Edge AND Landing on the Toe-Edge to prevent overrotation)
  • Switch Backside 360 (Switch Riding-Stance, Spinning away from the Riding-Direction off the Toe-Edge AND Landing on the Heel-Edge to prevent overrotation)
  • Frontside Hardway 360 (Normal Riding-Stance, Spinning in to the Riding-Direction off the Toe-Edge AND Landing on the Toe-Edge to prevent over-rotation)
  • Backside Hardway 360 (Normal Riding-Stance, Spinning away from the Riding-Direction off the Heel-Edge AND Landing on the Heel-Edge to prevent over-rotation)

How?

Before getting in to 360’s over a kicker, we should first be happy with 360’s on the Piste,180’s over a kicker and the Basic Technique with spinning over a kicker, which can both also be found in this guide.

We need to get the fundimentals down first – so let’s begin with the Basic Frontside 360, and then we’ll later move on to the Backside 360.

In order to do a 360 over a kicker, we need a good setup-turn. For the Frontside-360, this will be a Heel-Edge Turn:

  1. Begin your approach to the kicker, maintaining a good speed, making whatever turns are necessary to line yourself up correctly.
  2. 5-7 meters before takeoff, rock slightly on to the Toe-Edge to enter a very slight carve. This is the first part of our Setup Turn.
  3. 3-5 meters before takeoff, rock over on to a slight Heel-Edge Carve, which will both steer us back in to a straight line over the jump and also give us the purchase to push off from.
  4. About 2-3 meters before takeoff, wind up the arms to the Tail of the Board and bend both knees slightly. 
  5. WE ARE NOW READY TO ROTATE.
  6. At the takeoff point, jump with both legs at the same time (not bending at the hips) and throw the arms dynamically in to the Riding-Direction.
  7. AS SOON AS WE THROW THE ARMS, we need to look around the rotation (letting our head lead the rest of the body). At the same time, bring up the knees to create a stable position in the air.
  8. We should be aiming to touch down with both feet at the same time on the Toe-Edge, in our Normal Riding-Position.
  9. Absorb the landing by bending the knees and ride away smoothly.

Backside 360

  1. Begin your approach to the kicker, maintaining a good speed, making whatever turns are necessary to line yourself up correctly.
  2. 5-7 meters before takeoff, rock slightly on to the Heel-Edge to enter a very slight carve. This is the first part of our Setup Turn.
  3. 3-5 meters before takeoff, rock over on to a slight Toe-Edge Carve, which will both steer us back in to a straight line over the jump and also give us the purchase to push off from.
  4. About 2-3 meters before takeoff, wind up the arms to the Nose of the Board and bend both knees slightly. 
  5. WE ARE NOW READY TO ROTATE.
  6. At the takeoff point, jump with both legs at the same time (not bending at the hips) and throw the arms dynamically away from the Riding-Direction.
  7. AS SOON AS WE THROW THE ARMS, we need to look around the rotation (letting our head lead the rest of the body). At the same time, bring up the knees to create a stable position in the air.
  8. We should be aiming to touch down with both feet at the same time on the Heel-Edge, in our Normal Riding-Position.
  9. Absorb the landing by bending the knees and ride away smoothly.

What?

A 540 is when we make one and a half full rotations in the air, landing with the opposite foot forward to the one we started with.

540’s are a great spin for medium sized kickers, as this allows for a nice rotation-speed. They can however also be quickly thrown over a small kicker or much slower over a huge booter!

In this guide, we’ll be talking about the Build-Up Method for 540’s, rather than a step-by-step breakdown. This is because much of the Trick is exactly the same as the 360, so I don’t want to confuse the situation by making a whole new Checklist. 

Here’s a short list of some 540 Variations:

  • Frontside 540 (Normal Riding-Stance, Spinning in to the Riding-Direction off the Heel-Edge AND Landing in Switch on the Heel-Edge to prevent over-rotation)
  • Backside 540 (Normal Riding-Stance, Spinning away from the Riding-Direction off the Toe-Edge AND Landing in Switch on the Tow-Edge to prevent over-rotation)
  • Switch Frontside 540 (Switch Riding-Stance, Spinning in to the Riding-Direction off the Heel-Edge AND Landing in the Normal Riding-Position on the Heel-Edge to prevent overrotation)
  • Switch Backside 540 (Switch Riding-Stance, Spinning away from the Riding-Direction off the Toe-Edge AND Landing in the Normal Riding-Position on the Toe-Edge to prevent overrotation)
  • Frontside Hardway 540 (Normal Riding-Stance, Spinning in to the Riding-Direction off the Toe-Edge AND Landing in Switch on the Heel-Edge to prevent over-rotation)
  • Corked Backside 540 (Normal Riding-Stance, Spinning off-axis, away from the Riding-Direction from the Toe-Edge AND Landing on the Toe-Edge to prevent over-rotation)

How?

If you want to start doing 540’s, my first advice would be to get really good at both 180’s AND 360’s, because this means we are both comfortable landing in switch and with doing a half a rotation away from our end-goal – The 540.

If you’re happy with both of these rotations, then the next step would be to head to a Fun-Park with a medium-sized kicker and warm up with some 360’s. As you get in to the swing and start feeling happy with how it’s going, try EXACTLY THE SAME THING, however add slightly more momentum to the arm-throw. This can be done simply by throwing them harder, or increasing the wind-up slightly. 

This should start to make you over-rotate our 360’s, which is a good thing!

Keep practicing and throwing harder and eventually it will feel less like an over-rotated 360, and more like an under-rotated 540. NOW WE’RE GETTING THERE!

All that’s left to do now is push slightly harder and keep in mind the following 2 points:

Arms: Generally, the harder we throw our arms, the more volitile they become. We want to be stable in the air, so waving the arms around like a lunatic will not increase our balance. Focus on keeping them down.

Eyes: One of the most common ways that riders block their rotation is with their heads. Never forget to actively search for the landing and also know what rotation your head is supposed to be making. This is one of the reasons why I love Backside 540’s. The board may be making one and a half spins, but my head only needs to make one.

What?

So now we’re stepping up in to larger Spins, so before we go any further, only head to the park with the intention to land a 720 if you are comfortable with medium-to-large Kickers and can already land a 540. 

The 720 is 2 full rotations of the Board, and requires good confidence in our spinning ability.

As with the 540’s, we’ll be talking about the Build-Up Method for the 720 instead of a step-by-step breakdown. If we can already do a 540 cleanly over a kicker, we’re already comfortable with most of the technique required.

How?

If you read the Build Up for the 540 in this guide, we’ll be moving up to the 720 in a very similar fashion. 

If not, we essentially want to purposely over-rotate our 540’s, so let’s head to the Park and get practicing. Keep doing whichever 540 it is that you prefer until it feels really comfortable. 

Now this time, either wind up the arms slightly more than normal OR throw them slightly harder than normal – NOT BOTH. This should lead to an over-rotation, which we can now increase by pushing harder and harder each time until it turns in to an under-rotated 720.

Once we’re at this point, we just need to push that little bit further and clean things up slightly.

Although I mentioned this in the 540-Build-Up, I’ll also place it here to remind everyone. As a general rule, the bigger the spin, the less room we have for losing control of the arms.

Arms: Generally, the harder we throw our arms, the more volitile they become. We want to be stable in the air, so waving the arms around like a lunatic will not increase our balance. Focus on keeping them down.

Eyes: One of the most common ways that riders block their rotation is with their heads. Never forget to actively search for the landing and also know what rotation your head is supposed to be making. This is one of the reasons why I love Backside 540’s. The board may be making one and a half spins, but my head only needs to make one.

What?

Corking our Snowboard is what we say when referring to an “Off-Axis” spin. We don’t quite go upside down like a flip, but the Board also doesn’t stay flat whilst rotating. Instead, we’re in-between the two.

We can cork pretty much any spin on a Snowboard. I used to think that 180’s were the only spin that couldn’t be corked, but “Fridge” Fridtjof Tischendorf, a professional Snowboarder proved that wrong in the 2017-XGames Wendy’s Knucklehuck with a corked Hand-Drag 180 over a huge roller. Click here to give it a watch!

Why?

Apart from looking incredible, corking a Snowboard is a great way to progress towards flipping. A lot of riders actually tend to attempt a flip before a cork, but if you’re worried about getting completely upside down, this is how we can build up some confidence first.

How?

We’ve got two different ways to cork our Board – Frontside and Backside and they both require different approaches with regards to how we enter the rotation.

Frontside Cork

Before learning this, we should at least be able to do a Frontside 360 over a kicker. We need to have this knowledge already in order to take it a step further.

  1. Begin by warming up with a few Front 360’s, focusing on getting a nice carve on the Setup Turn. This Edge-Hold becomes even more important when corking.
  2. Once warmed up, find a flat spot of snow where we can take off the Board to practice the corking rotation.
  3. Standing on the spot without the Board on, we’re going to make a 360 Rotation, pivoting on the Front Foot and kicking our Back Foot up so that it looks like a big spinning kick, trying to get the kicking leg as high as possible.
  4. The thing to pay attention to is how our shoulders move during this rotation. The front shoulder drop down as we rotate, but the back shoulder comes up as it opens to the front. This is very important for our cork.
  5. Now put the Board back on and head back to our kicker to try and cork a 360.
  6. This time, we will set ourselves up exactly the same way, carving up on the Heel-Edge, winding up the arms ready to throw, but this time when we jump, we’re going to actively try and recreate what happened with our spinning kick. The difference will be that when we’re in the air, we want to bend our knees, not straighten them out.

TIP 1: I like to make an Indy Grab when attempting Fontside Corks for two reasons. Firstly, it forces me to bend my knees in order to grab the board, which brings everything in to a compact position in the air. Secondly, the way that we throw the arms brings the Back Hand in to the perfect position to go for the Indy.

TIP 2: Don’t block the rotation. I say it all the time, but it’s very easy to prevent ourselves making a full-rotation because of where we’re looking. Try and spot the landing, which will force us to keep looking in to the direction that we’re rotating in to. This allows our body to follow.

Backside Cork

As with the Frontside variation, before we can learn a Backside Cork, we should first be confident in our Backside Rotations – and although I would recommend to be able to do at least a Backside 360, Backside 540’s are actually much more commonly seen. I think that this is due to the last 180 falling in to place when we spin Off-Axis Backside.

  1. Begin by warming up with a few Back 360’s, focusing on getting a nice Toe-Side Carve on the Setup Turn. This Edge-Hold becomes even more important when corking.
  2. Once warmed up, find a flat spot of snow where we can take off the Board to practice the corking rotation.
  3. Standing on the spot without the Board on, we’re going to make a Backside 360 Rotation, pivoting on the Front Foot and kicking our Back Foot up so that it looks like a high Roundhouse Kick.
  4. The thing to pay attention to is how our shoulders move during this rotation. The front shoulder drop down as we come to face being us, but the back shoulder comes up as our back faces in the riding direction. This is very important for our cork.
  5. Now let’s head back to our kicker.
  6. This time, we will set ourselves up exactly the same way, carving up on the Toe-Edge, winding up the arms ready to throw, but this time when we jump, we’re going to actively try and recreate what happened with our Roundhouse Kick. The difference will be that when we’re in the air, we want to bend our knees, not straighten them out.

TIP: I like to make a Mute Grab when attempting Backside Corks for two reasons. Firstly, it forces me to bend my knees in order to grab the board, which brings everything in to a compact position in the air. Secondly, the way that we throw the arms brings the Front Hand in to the perfect position to go for the Indy.

What?

A 50-50 is just a fancy way of saying “Riding-Straight” over a feature – “feature” in this case meaning a box, tube or rail. We will begin with a box, which you will generally only find in a Fun-Park, so make sure that before going in to this build-up that you’ve read the section on Fun-Parks in the Terrains-Section.

The difference between riding over a box and snow is that WE CANNOT USE OUR EDGE ON A BOX. I am very serious when I say that guys – if you try to use an edge, you WILL fall.

Why?

The Snowboarders who actually both want to AND have the confidence to become good riders on boxes, tubes and rails are in the minority – mainly becuase the park can be scary to new-comers.

Riding straight over a box-feature is the first step in to this area of snowboarding. Having the confidence and body-awareness to ride a box can also help our general-riding, as we sometimes hit icy-patches on the pistes, which feel similar due to the lack of grip.

Where?

Find the flattest, widest, simplest box that you can in your local Fun-Park. Also, I would recommend trying this when there aren’t so many riders around to avoid causing too much disruption in the Park.

How?

  1. A 50-50 is accomplished by first approaching the box at a controlled speed.
  2. One or two meters before the feature, our board should be perfectly flat and straightpointing towards the END of the box.
  3. Upon riding on to the box, we should already have a slight-bend in the knees, relaxed arms and a flat Board-Base.
  4. This position is now held for the entirety of the feature, right until we get to the end, where we simply ride off and continue to make turns.

Build-Up

In order to learn the 50-50, we should already be very confident in our ability to ride straight with a flat Board.

  1. Find the Box that we’ll be learning on.
  2. Firstly, we’re actually going to start by riding to the side of the Box and stopping. (as long as the park isn’t too busy. If it is, we can also do this step on a nice shallow blue).
  3. Next to the box, draw two lines in the snow, parallel to the box. (These will represent our Box, so try and make them the same width apart).
  4. Head back up to the start “Drop-In Point”. 
  5. Ride down as if we were approaching the Box, but instead aiming towards the Channel we’ve drawn.
  6. Set up so the Board is flat and try to ride through the Channel perfectly flat, with a slight bend in the Knees and relaxed arms.
  7. If this goes well, make the Channel thinner and thinner until it’s a Board-Width wide.
  8. If we can ride along this thin Channel without using our edges, it’s time to try the Box out.
  9. Approach the Box the exact same way and just ride over it.

Further Developement

We can develop our 50-50 even further by adding in an Ollie or Nollie on and off the Box. To learn this, we should first be confident in general Ollies/Nollies. Jumping on and off the Box can be built up with the exact same method as the one above, using a Channel in the snow to first build confidence in our technique.

What?

Pressing on the Nose or Tail on a Box (or a “5-0” as it’s also called), is essentially exactly the same as pressing the Nose or Tail on flat snow. The only difference in my opinion, is that we need to be slightly more balanced, and have slightly more condfidence. Other than that though, if we can press in the snow, we can probably already press on a box.

Why?

Pressing on Boxes, Tubes and Rails helps us build further confidence in our legs, better balance and can lead to learning more tricks in this area, such as Blunts and Slides.

Where?

Just like with the 50-50 Build-Up, I recommend to find a nice, wide, flat Box to learn on, and more than likely, it’ll be in the local Fun-Park.

How?

  1. We first ride up the to the Box with a controlled speed.
  2. About 2-3 Meters prior to the Box, we ensure that the Board is flat and aligned so that we’re riding in the direction of the END of the Box.
  3. Once we enter the Box, shift the weight steadily to the Front of the Board for a Nosepress, or the Back of the Board for a Tailpress.
  4. Once our weight is shifted, actively pull the unweighted leg slightly up to really nail the Press.
  5. Ensuring that the Base remains flat for the whole of the Press, when ready, we either lower down the unweighted leg to prepare to ride off, or we make a slight jump right at the end of the Box to exit the feature.
  6. Land on the snow with both feet at the same time and ride away smoothly.

Build-Up

Prior to learning this Trick, I would first receommend to be confident in our ability to do a Basic Nose/Tail Press, as well as the 50-50 on a Box.

  1. Find a wide, flat box that we can learn on and stop by the side of it. (If the Park is too busy, head to a shallow Blue Piste where we can also do this).
  2. Draw 2 lines in the snow, making a Channel to imitate the Box.
  3. Head back up to our start point.
  4. Ride down to the Channel as if it were the box and practice pressing through the Channel.
  5. Each time we get more confident, make the Channel thinner until it’s a Board’s-width or so.
  6. Now head back up and do the same method on the Box – ENSURING TO KEEP THAT BASE FLAT.

Further Development

We can improve how our Presses look by jumping in to and out of them. I would always say to first learn how to Ollie/Nollie in to a 50-50 before a Press, just to build up confidence and technique.

If we can already do that though, we can add an Ollie/Nollie to our Presses by using the same method that we learnt the basic Press – using a Channel in the Snow.

TIP: Generally (because of the way we unweight and land), we Nollie in to a Tailpress and our of a Nosepress; and Ollie in to a Nosepress and out of a Tailpress.

What?

A Boardslide is the name for sliding along a Box, Tube or Rail on the center of the Board (between the bindings) whilst perpendicular to the feature (the Board sideways).

The Backside variation of a Boardslide is when the front of our body is facing in the sliding-direction. This is also generally the easier variation in terms of balance and confidence.

Why?

Learning to Boardslide is a cool technique to learn and is usually the next step of progress after 50-50’s and Presses. 

Boardslides can open up new ways of pressing, spinning on and off boxes and generally increase body-awareness.

How?

  1. We firstly approach the Box with a controlled speed, keeping our eyes on the end of the feature.
  2. About 1-2 meters before the Box, we bend our knees and wind up the arms to the Nose of the Board, ready to counter-rotate.
  3. Just before the Box (roughly half a meter), we jump – either with both feet or with an Ollie and counter-rotate the upper and lower body in the air, bringing our legs 90-degrees in to the riding-direction.
  4. We then land facing the downhill-direction, with the center of the Board in the middle-most part of the Box, absorbing the impact with a light bend in the knees.
  5. We then stay in this compact position, avoiding lifting the Toes or Heels in order to keep the Board’s Base flat during the Boardslide. We should also be maintaining our arm-position in order to keep the Counter-Rotation for the entirety of the Box.
  6. When we get to the end of the Box, we jump lightly with both feet and undo the Counter-Rotation, returning us to the normal Riding-Position.
  7. Land with both feet at the same time, absorb the landing and ride away smoothly.

Where?

The box we choose to learn a Boardslide on can be personal-preference, however I would recommend a medium-wide Box, as this will allow more room for error and provide an easier platform to balance on. 

In any case, we’ll find this Feature in the Fun-Park.

Build-Up

Prior to learning a Boardslide, we should be comfortable with the following:

  • 50-50 on a Box
  • Counter-Rotation
  • Backside Shifty

If we’re happy with these techniques though, here’s a nice way to build up to the Backside Boardslide.

  1. Before heading to Box, find a nice shallow area on a Blue-Piste or even a Track somewhere.
  2. Begin riding straight with a flat Board and a comfortable amount of speed.
  3. Wind up the Arms to the front of the Board, ready to Counter-Rotate.
  4. Now, without jumping, make a 90-Degree Counter-Rotation, lifting up the Toe-Edge ever so slightly to avoid catching an Edge.
  5. Slide in this position for a few Meters, trying to maintain as much speed as possible.
  6. Pull everything back to the normal Riding-Position and ride away smoothly.

The main difference between what we’ve just done and a Boardslide, is that when on the Box, we shouldn’t be lifting up either of our Edges, and instead, we keep the base of the Board as flat as possible.

Once we’re confident with the fundimental movements, we can head to the Box that we want to learn on and go through a similar process.

  1. Approach the box and enter as though we’re doing a 50-50, with the one difference being that our arms are wound up and prepared to counter-rotate.
  2. Once on the Box, make the counter-rotation, KEEPING THE BOARD FLAT. 
  3. If the first attempt doesn’t get to 90 Degrees, don’t stress – we’re just building confidence here.
  4. Once we’re almost at the end of the Box, pull everything back in to our normal Riding-Position and ride off straight, absorbing any impact with both knees.

We can keep practicing this until we’re getting the full 90-Degree counter-rotation and it feels comfortable.

Further Development

The next step would be to begin jumping in to the Boardslide, so first be sure to be happy jumping in to a 50-50 so that we know how it feels to land and absorb on a Box.

Approach exactly the same way we have been, except this time, we want to approach slightly more from a Heel-Side Turn. Jumping in to a Backside-Boardslide from the Heel-Edge is generally the easiest way to enter the Trick because it sets us up nicely for the 90-Degree rotation.

Once we get comfortable with jumping in to a Boardslide, we want to begin jumping out as well. This is a relatively easy addition – AS LONG AS WE REMEMBER TO NOT LIFT AN EDGE AS WE JUMP. Keep this in your head and you’ll be smashing them! 

What?

Quite possibly one of the best looking Rail-Tricks in the book, the Frontside Boardslide is elegant, smooth, fun and SO SCARY!

As opposed to the Backside Boardslide where our Body is facing in the riding-direction, the Frontside variation requires us to slide backwards along the rail, with our body facing back up the hill but our eyes looking in the riding-direction.

Why?

As mentioned aboive, Front-Boards are a gangster looking Trick that deserve to be learnt. They also open up the possibility to begin doing more complicated Box/Tube/Rail Tricks, like Front-270’s and other slide-variations.

How?

  1. We firstly approach the Box with a controlled speed, keeping our eyes on the end of the feature.
  2. About 1-2 meters before the Box, we bend our knees and wind up the arms to the Tail of the Board, ready to counter-rotate.
  3. Just before the Box (roughly half a meter), we jump – either with both feet or with an Ollie and counter-rotate the upper and lower body in the air, bringing our legs 90-degrees away from the riding-direction.
  4. We then land on the feature with the middle-point of the Board
  5. At this point, our centre of gravity on to of the Board, with the feet planted flat and our eyes looking in the downhill-direction (generally at the end of the feature).
  6. We then stay in a compact position with our knees bent. We avoid lifting the Toe-Edge and Heel-Edge in order to keep the Board’s Base flat during the Boardslide. We should also be maintaining our arm-position in order to keep the Counter-Rotation for the entirety of the Box.
  7. When we get to the end of the Box, we jump lightly with both feet and undo the Counter-Rotation, returning us to the normal Riding-Position.
  8. Land with both feet at the same time, absorb the landing and ride away smoothly.

Where?

I recommend a medium-wide Box to learn our Front-Board, as this will allow more room for error and provide an easier platform to balance on. 

In any case, we’ll find this Feature in the Fun-Park.

Build-Up

Prior to learning a Front-Board, we should already be comfortable with our Back-Boards, because this gives us a good base-feeling for sliding on the Box.

EXTRA TIP: The Counter-Rotation used in a Front-Board is very similar to a Revert-Carve, so I found that already having this knowledge made everything easier to wrap my head around when learning.

  1. Before heading to Box, find a nice shallow area on a Blue-Piste or even a Track somewhere.
  2. Begin riding straight with a flat Board and a comfortable amount of speed.
  3. Wind up the Arms to the Tail of the Board, ready to Counter-Rotate.
  4. Now, without jumping, make a 90-Degree Counter-Rotation, lifting up the Heel-Edge ever so slightly to avoid catching it in the Snow.
  5. Try and keep looking in the riding-direction, although this may take a few attempts before it begins to feel more comfortable.
  6. Slide in this position for a few Meters, trying to maintain as much speed as possible.
  7. Pull everything back to the normal Riding-Position and ride away smoothly.

The main difference between what we’ve just done and the Front-Board, is that when on the Box, we shouldn’t be lifting up either of our Edges, and instead, we keep the base of the Board as flat as possible.

Once we’re confident with the fundimental movements, we can head to the Box that we want to learn on and go through a similar process.

  1. Approach the box and enter as though we’re doing a 50-50, with the one difference being that our arms are wound up and prepared to counter-rotate.
  2. Once on the Box, make the counter-rotation, KEEPING THE BOARD FLAT. 
  3. Try to keep looking either down the hill or at the end of the feature.
  4. If the first attempt doesn’t get to 90 Degrees, don’t stress – we’re just building confidence here.
  5. Once we’re almost at the end of the Box, pull everything back in to our normal Riding-Position and ride off straight, absorbing any impact with both knees.

We can keep practicing this until we’re getting the full 90-Degree counter-rotation and it feels comfortable.

Further Development

The next step would be to begin jumping in to the Front-Board, so first be sure to be happy jumping in to a 50-50 so that we know how it feels to land and absorb on a Box.

Approach exactly the same way we have been, except this time, we want to approach slightly more from a Toe-Side Turn. Jumping in to a Front-Board from the Toe-Edge is generally the easiest way to enter the Trick because it sets us up nicely for the 90-Degree Counter-rotation.

Once we get comfortable with jumping in to a Boardslide, we can begin to jump out as well. Just remember to keep that Board’s Base flat whilst on the feature to avoid slipping out.

What?

A Pretzel is what we call a 270-degree rotation out of a form of sliding, the opposite direction to the way that we entered the slide. 

For example, we could jump in to a Backside Boardslide with a 90-degree Frontside Rotation. The “Pretzel-out” would then be a 270-degree Backside rotation, landing us in the Switch riding-position. I will be using this example for our Build-Up.

Why?

This is now entering a very high-level of Snowboarding. Learning a Pretzel on the snow is one thing, but doing it on a rail when we can’t use our Edges is something different entirely. Learning this Trick confidently will be putting you in to the high-end of Park-Riders.

How?

  1. We ride to our chosen Box, Rail or Tube, approaching so that the Feature is slightly on our Heelside.
  2. About a meter prior to entering the Feature, we prepare to Counter-Rotate in to a Backside Boardslide, starting with the Arms pre-wound and a light bend in the Knees.
  3. Pop on to the feature with a Frontside 90 Counter-Rotation, but aim to have the Front-Foot more over the Feature than the Back Foot.
  4. Once on, we begin to add pressure on to the Front Foot during the Slide. At the same time, we can further increase how Counter-Rotated the Upper and Lower bodies are against eachother. Doning both of these will make the 270-Out much faster.
  5. When we reach the end of the feature, we use the built up pressure to pop off the Front Foot and whip the Arms in to the opposite direction.
  6. This releases the pressure and whips the Board in to the Pretzel.
  7. We then land on the Toe-Edge and ride out in Switch.

Where?

Either a Box, Rail or Tube that we’re already confident Boardsliding on. I would recommend a relatively thin Flatbox as the safest option, as it gives us a good amount of surface area to stay stable, but not so much that it blocks our press or rotation.

Build-Up

What?

Why?

How?

Where?

Build-Up

What?

Why?

How?

Where?

Build-Up

What?

A tamedog is fun little flip that’s great for doing over lips, drops and kickers. The rotation involved is essentially a Front-Flip over the Nose of the Board (like a cartwheel without hands).

Most of the time, we use the pop of the Board to assist with this rotation – so knowing our Nollies is definitely going to assist us in learning this.

Why?

Tamedogs are one of those All-Mountain tricks, with the only limit of where we can do it being how well we know the both the Trick and our Board. On top of this, it’s quite an easy Trick to learn compared to other Flip-Variations, so it’s a great way to take a first-step in to the world of “Upside-Down Snowboarding”.

How?

As mentioned above, I would heavily recommend being comfortable with both Nollies and basic straight-airs before attempting this Trick.

  1. We first need to find the lip, bump, kicker or drop that we want to do the Trick over and do a Speed-Check. This allows us to learn how much time in the air we’ll have for the rotation.
  2. We approach the feature at the Speed that we’ve calculated from our Speed-Check.
  3. 1-3 meters prior to the edge of the feature, our Board should have a flat base, as being on an Edge could easily throw us off balance, or off axis.
  4. Roughly 1 meter before the Edge, we wind up the Front-Arm as if we were going to do a Cartwheel. At the same time, we slightly unweight the Front-Leg with a slight weight-shift to the back of the Board. This can result in the Nose of the Board lifting slightly off the ground, but doesn’t have to.
  5. We then dynamically transfer all weight over the Front-Leg, on to the Nose of the Board and make a Nollie upwards and forwards.
  6. AT THE SAME TIME, our Front Hand is thrown in a downwards-rotation, where it finishes at the back of our Front Thigh. This ensures that our shoulders stay aligned to the riding-direction, which keeps our flip on the correct axis.
  7. Once the Board is Airborne, we bend both knees and grab hold of the backs of our thighs, which brings us in to a compact position and stops our arms from flailing around. 
  8. Once we spot the landing, we can judge when to let go with the arms and straighten the legs ready for landing.
  9. We then land with both legs at the same time, absorb the impact with a bend in the knees and ride away smoothly.

Where?

Hands-down, the best place to practice the On-Snow section of this Build-up is over a lip or small-drop in to fresh powder. The layer of new snow makes for a soft landing which boosts our confidence when attemping the trick.

Build-Up

In order to make and land a Tamedog correctly, a good starting-point would be to first learn the rotation that we need to be making and get comfortable with it. The easiest way to do this would be to practice a “Riding-Direction-Cartwheel” in the garden, or somewhere else out in the open. Do this until you can comfortably land back on your feet.

TIP: For those of you who find the cartwheel unchallenging, try getting confident doing them with just the Front Arm. This will help to better simulate the Tamedog-feeling and get us used to keeping the Back Arm down and controlled.

Once we’re comfortable with the Cartwheel (either one or two-handed), we can head to a flat area of snow to practice another movement.

  1. Without the Board being attached, practice a basic Nollie-movement a couple of times to refresh it in our minds.
  2. Now make the same motion, but begin by unweighting the Front Leg, which allows us to stomp it down and carry more momentum in to the Nollie. Practice this also a few times.
  3. When happy, add in the Wind-Up and Downwards-Rotation of the Front Arm, ensuring to grab the back of the thigh during the Nollie.
  4. Once we’re comfortable with all of this, we can add a sideways-roll. We do this by making all of the same motions (Unweighting the Front Leg, winding up the Front Arm and throwing it in to a Downward-Rotation), but this time, instead of making a Nollie, we’re going to drop down and roll sideways (in the Riding-Direction) over our shoulders and then stand back up to finish.
  5. Keep practicing this until the whole sequence is fluid and feels comfortable.

Now head out and find the spot you’ve chosen to do your first Tamedog. The key, as with every new Trick in Snowboarding, is to give 100% when attempting it properly. If we’re not feeling too confident and then give less than maximum effort, how can we expect to come out victorious..? Give it all and confidence will build guys!

  1. Once we’ve found our spot, give it a Speed-Check or two, just to learn the feature properly.
  2. Now drop in and about 3 meters prior to the edge, we should either already have, or be trying to get a Flat Base.
  3. 1 meter prior to the edge of Feature, wind up the Front Arm, unweight the Front Leg and then GO FOR IT!
  4. Don’t forget to grab the backs of your thighs in the air and bend the Knees.
  5. Absorb the landing and ride away like a BOSS.

Common Issues

Chances are, like most first Tamedog attempts, we’ll get around most of the rotation, but then land a bit Tail-Heavy. That’s absolutey fine, it just means we need one of the following:

  • More Speed: If we’re tucking correctly and popping nicely and still not making the full-rotation, we might just need a little bit of extra juice.
  • More Tuck: If our Legs aren’r retracting correctly in the air, or our Arms are all over the place, we could do with cleaning it up a bit – perhaps practicing the Flatland Build-Up a few more times to get those Arms down.
  • More Pop: The Nollie is a key-movement within this Trick. If we’re not projecting ourselves forwards and upwards, and instead simply rolling over the Nose of the Board, we’re losing a lot of Air-time. Practice those Nollies a bit more in this case.

Another likely Issue is an accidental Off-Axis Rotation, which can take us into and accidental Corked-Rotation and get very frustrating. If this is happening to you, it could be as a result of:

  • Being on an Edge: If we initiate our Nollie-Motion whilst even slightly on an Edge, the Board can rebound in to an Off-Axis Rotation. Ensure that the Board’s Base is COMPLETELY FLAT to avoid this.
  • Dropping the Front Shoulder: My biggest issue when learning the Tamedog was that I always came out in switch. Finally, I found out that I was accidentally dropping my Front Shoulder slightly inwards when throwing the Front Arm in to it’s rotation. Grabbing the backs of my Thighs helped with this a lot, so make sure to tuck properly to keep everything aligned.

What?

Although it’s called a Flip, this trick is actually more of a heavily corked Frontside 360, falling more on to the “Flip-Side” of the spectrum, but not quite getting fully upside down.

Something that makes this trick look so stylish is the Hand-Drag in the snow as we make the rotation. The go-to Grab for this trick is an Indy, because the way that we throw the rotation places the Back Hand perfectly for this.

Why?

At this level, we’re learning quite advanced stuff, so having this in your Trickbook is going to turn basic lips, rollers and other natural Features in to your personal Miller Flip Spots.

Also, this Trick is a great foundation for more difficult cork/flip variations and can really help to build confidence in getting inverted over bigger jumps.

How?

  1. We approach our Feature the same way as though we were going for a Frontside-360, making a nice Setup Turn on the Heel-Edge.
  2. A couple of meters before the Lip, our Arms should be wound up, with the Knees bent, ready for a very dynamic Jump.
  3. When we get to the Lip, the Back Arm is thrown in to riding-direction AND diagonally upwards, opening up the Back Shoulder.
  4. At the same time, we jump off the Heel-Edge Carve with BOTH FEET, allowing the opened-up Shoulder to guide us in to an Off-Axis, inverted Frontside 360.
  5. As soon as we are in the air, the Back Hand shoulder reach to grab an Indy, as this brings us in to a compact position that allows for a smoother rotation. The Front Hand should be stretched out, both guiding the rotation and draggin the Hand in the Snow.
  6. We follow the Front Arm with our eyes as a good point of reference for where to look.
  7. When the rotation is almost done, we let go of the Grab and begin to straighten out the legs, ready to land,
  8. Land with both feet and absorb the impact with a light bend in the Knees.

Where?

The important thing about the Feature we choose to learn this Trick on is that it has an upwards-slope to jump off and a downward-slope to land on. Generally, the flatter the terrain that we try this on, the more explosive our jump needs to be. 

With this in mind, a roller next to a kicker with a steep landing would be good, or a smallish kicker/feature.

Build-Up

Firstly, before we can even think about doing this Trick, we need to ensure that our Frontside-360’s are dialled in pretty much any circumstances – over kickers, on the flat, Off-Piste – basically, the more confident we are with Front 3’s, the easier this Trick will be to learn.

Let’s start our Build Up away from the Snow. 

  1. Standing in a Normal Riding-Stance without the Board on, squat down and place the Front Hand diagonally in front of the Front Foot (where the Backside-Edge would be).
  2. From here, we want to jump with both Feet over and around, keeping the Front Hand on the Floor and pivoting around it.
  3. Build this jump/pivot up until we can make a full 360-pivot around the Front Hand.
  4. Now begin to add more upwards-momentum in to the jump. We can do this by throwing the Back Arm more diagonally-upwards.
  5. Once we are essentially corking around the Front Hand, we can build up even more, trying to get slightly inverted through the rotation.
  6. Lastly, try the same technique, but make the jump slightly before placing the hand down, as this is more accurate to the On-Snow Trick.

On-Snow

Let’s find our chosen Feature first, making sure that it has a good down-slope to land on and preferably an up-slop to jump from.

  1. Ride the Feature a few times first to get a guage of the speed needed. I like to also do a couple of Speed-Checks with Frontside-360’s in order to get even more comfortable.
  2. When we’re happy and ready to try the Miller Flip, approach the Feature in the same way, except be ready to make a slightly more dynamic jump and to throw the Back Arm more upwards.
  3. Go for it, remembering to let the Front Arm guide both the rotation and the eyes. Because of the rotational-axis, the Front Hand should naturally be in a position where it can drag in the snow over the Feature whilst we’re rotating.
  4. Try and go for the Indy Grab with the Back Hand, but it may take a few attempts to make it without blocking the rotation.
  5. Land with both feet and absorb the impact with a bend in the Knees.

What?

A Wildcat is a type of Backflip, however the rotation that we make is actually a “Sideflip” over the Tail of the Board. Depending on the Rider, some people find Wildcats naturally very comfortable. Personally, I don’t though… 

Wildcats look amazing regardless of where they’re thrown, whether over a small lip in the Off-Piste or over a huge Kicker in the Park.

Why?

Wildcats are a rotation that open up a lot of doorways in to new kinds of Flips, such as Rodeos, Underflips and so on. Also, Wildcats look fantastic when laid out, so you’ll definitely turn some heads in the Park if you’re confidently throwing them out on the Medium-Line.

How?

  1. We approach the Jump (Kicker or Lip) with a comfortable speed that we know we get us to the Landing.
  2. About 2-4 meters prior to the Edge of the Feature, our Board should already have a flat Base.
  3. Roughly 1-2 meters before the edge, we bend both Knees – preparing the Jump. The shoulders should be in-line with the Nose and Tail of the Board.
  4. AT THE SAME TIME, we wind up the Arms so that they’re ready to be thrown.
  5. When at the Edge, we should have our weight more to the Tail of the Board and jump with both legs at the same time.
  6. When we jump, the Back Arm is thrown in a downwards-rotation and the Front Arm is lifted.
  7. Once in the Air, we retract the Knees in to a tucked-position and keep the Back Arm down.
  8. Our Front Forearm can be used as a guide for our eyes to follow throughout the Full-Rotation. 
  9. Once the Ground comes in to view, we can see how long to stay tucked for. When ready, we straighten the legs our and land slightly Tail-Heavy, as this lets the Board absorb some of the Impact, before our Feet touch down.

Where?

For first attempts, I would always recommend to use either a small/medium Kicker that you’re already very confident going over, or an Off-Piste Kicker in to some soft snow. This really depends on the overall confidence level.

Build-Up

The best way to understand and become comfortable with this rotation prior to actually doing a Wildcat, would be to practice on a Trampoline. Build up slowly, focusing on Body-Alignment (making sure we stay in a sideways spin) and tucking in the air (bringing the knees in to the body to feel how it affect the rotation).

When we get to our chosen Kicker, ride it a few times first in order to get a good feel for the takeoff and landing, taking note of how much air-time you’re getting.

How that we’re feeling comfortable, let’s have a go – but remember, FULL COMMITMENT!

  1. Approach the Kicker with a Flat Base.
  2. Bend the Knees, ready to jump with both at the same time.
  3. As we begin to jump, shift your weight slightly towards the Tail of the Board, with the shoulders matching the angle of the jump.
  4. Once airborne, tuck the Knees in to the Body and try to grab an Indy (Back Hand on the Toe-Edge between the Bindings). This is a great grab to keep us stable and well-aligned.
  5. Let the Front Arm guide where you are looking, waiting until you can see the floor.
  6. Release the grab and allow the legs to straighten back out, ready for landing.
  7. Extend the Back Foot out slightly more that the Front Foot to let the Board absorb some of the impact.
  8. Land with a flat base and ride away.

Further Progression

We can progress our Wildcats further by changing the grab to a more difficult variation, or by laying out the rotation (Tucking less to make the flip slower). I would heavily recommend to first get very comfortable with the basic Indy Grab before trying to slow them down – as we need to get confident in the timing of tucking and releasing.

What?

A Barrel Roll is basically the classic Backflip – just how we would do one on a trampoline or on the floor.

Although this rotation feels more natural for a lot of people, it can be slightly more awkward that a Wilcat. This is due to the angle of the takeoff being very different to that of the landing. This can cause Tail-Heavy landings and scrubbing out.

Why?

Barrel Rolls are a great way to build our confidence in being upside down in the air. Being a relatively simple rotation, it can lay a good foundation for progressing in to Backside Rodeos and other more complicated Inverted-Tricks.

How?

It’s important to know that this trick requires both confidence AND some technical-ability. We’ve all seen enough failed Backflips to realize that not everyone can just huck, pray and land successfully, so make sure that you are already confident in your ability to ride Kickers happily and do some basic Tricks/Grabs.

  1. We approach a Kicker or Lip that we’re already comfortable with.
  2. On approach to the Edge of the Feature, the Board should be flat to avoid being sent in to an accidental cork.
  3. About 1-2 meters prior to jumping, bend the knees ready for a dynamic jump and ensure that the shoulders are aligned with the Nose and Tail of the Board.
  4. When at the edge, jump explosively and throw the Arms in to an upwards rotation.
  5. Look up, maintaining good shoulder alignment and bring the Knees in to the Body to tuck and create a stable position.
  6. Once we see the ground, we being to untuck and straighten out the legs ready to land.
  7. Absorb the landing with a bend in both Knees and ride away.

Where?

A great place to try Flips like this is over an Off-Piste Kicker. This allows us a landing with fresh snow in case things don’t quite go to plan. 

Otherwise, I would recommend a small/medium Kicker that gives us enough air-time for a full flip. If you choose this option, amke sure you’ve ridden over it before and know how much air-time you get.

Build-Up

If you have access to a Trampoline, that really is an amazingly simple way to get used to the Barrel Roll movement. This also allows us to develop an understanding of air-time and how we can tuck and untuck to speed up/slow down our rotation.

If we don’t have a trampoline, there are other ways to develop the Muscle-memory, such as attempting the rotation off a platform on to a mattress/piled up grass/etc. If you are going down this route and haven’t attempted the rotation before, I would heavily recommend to have a spotter (partner to watch and help you), at least until you can make the rotation on your own.

On-Snow

When it comes to On-Snow training for this Trick, it really is one of those situations where we need to GO FOR IT!

  1. Once we’ve chosen a feature to use, whether a Park-Kicker or Off-Piste, ride it a few times to get used to the speed it takes to make it to the landing.
  2. Now that we’re ready, we want to approach our jump with a Flat Base.
  3. Bend the knees and align the shoulders with the Board about 1-2 meters prior to jumping.
  4. Explode upwards with both legs, throwing the Arms in an upwards-rotation and instantly begin to look up.
  5. Bring in the Knees and tuck. At this point either grab the backs of the thighs to keep the Arms stable, or try and grab an Indy.
  6. When the ground comes in to sight, untuck the legs and extend them out, ready to absorb the landing.
  7. Land with both feet and absorb the impact with the knees.

Further Developement

When we begin getting more comfortable with this rotation, start experimenting with:

  • Different kinds of Grabs (Melon is also a great grab for this Trick)
  • Larger Jumps

What?

When it comes to the next step, we need to begin combining Flips with Spins. This results in Tricks like Underflips, Rodeos, Mistys and so on.

These kinds of rotations require a great level of air and body-awareness, so we should only be attempting these kinds of Tricks once we’re already very confident with our Flipping and Flat-Spinning abilities.

Where?

To learn the various types of this trick, we should always head to the trampoline-park. Here, we can break down the full Tricks in to their various components and build them up safely.

Sorry…

I’m afraid that for now, this is as far as the Trick Build-Ups go. I fully intend on adding Build-Ups to more combinations of Spins and Flips in the future, however want to do it properly.

Why?

In order to get the maximum power out of our legs, we should have a good level of leg-strength prior to getting on the mountain. Seems obvious, right?

And yet, I would estimate about 95% of the World’s Snowboarders don’t do any strength training leading up to their holiday, and then they wonder why their legs hurt after 2 days of riding… I’ll be honest, this is one of the main things that motivated me to get in to this line of work.

So trust me when I say that a regular exercise routine that includes some leg-strengthening will benefit you hugely when it comes to stepping back on to snow.

Basic Exercises

Keeping in line with the Company Ethos “Get fit the Green Way”, I am going to only use Exercises that require Bodyweight and Resistance Bands, as these can all be done almost anywhere – which makes your lives easier.

Squat Variations

The Basic Squat: A good fundimental movement for Snowboarders, the Squat is about as basic as it gets when it comes to leg-exercises for building strength. There’s no such thing as the “Perfect Squat Technique” because everyone has a different body-composition, however here is the basic breakdown of how we do it.

  1. Begin with the feet about shoulder-width apart, with the toes pointing in a comfortable direction outwards.
  2. Keeping the Upper-Body relatively upright, bend the knees to around the 90 Degree Point, making sure to not let the knees fall inwards as they bend.
  3. Once we’re at 90 Degrees or so, push back to straighten out the legs and return to the start-position.
  4. Try and make the down-motion slow and controlled, and the up-motion more dynamic.

Deep Squat: This is a step further from the Basic Squat, as we move through a larger range of motion. This variation requires more work from the small muscles that stabilize our hips and helps to improve and maintain hip-mobility. 

Ask any Snowboarder who isn’t a complete helmet and they’ll tell you that riding straight on a narrow-track is one of the hardest things for a progressing rider to master.

Unless our body position is *Italian Accent – Pico-bello*, then our Board is going to feel like it has a mind of its own – so let’s sort that s*** out!

I find that the best way to teach this section is to use the Gas-Pedal Analogy. If you aren’t familiar with gas pedals, click on that link and all shall become clear.

Why do we need this..?

Let’s say that in front of us is a narrow track with a very low gradient. We have to ride relatively straight with maybe a couple of very narrow turns in order to even get down the piste because it’s so damned flat!

Let’s go through the straight-riding position first, as we should remember this from the one-footed snowboarding all that time ago.

Position:

  • 60-70% of our weight on the front leg, with a bent front knee.
  • Upper Body upright, not bent at the Hips.
  • Arms by our sides, nice and relaxed.
  • Looking in the riding direction.
  • The base of the Board should be completely flat.

If we adopt and hold this position, it doesn’t matter what we do, the Board will take the easiest, straightest path it can to get us down the hill (also known as following the fall-line) – which is great if our narrow piste is completely straight and doesn’t pull to one side… But what if it does? Keep scrolling to learn about Slight-Turns on narrow Terrain.

The reason I am using the word “Slight” is because the turns we make whilst navigating a Flat-Track aren’t generally the same S-Shape that they are on normal, wider Pistes. Instead, the tracks we leave in the snow should look more like a Snake-Track. I have made a diagram to show you the difference below:

Below, we can see a track from some full-turns, steering across the mountain to control excess-speed.

                         

This is how a track from slight-turns should look, staying predominantly in the fall-line to maintain speed.

                               

This kind of Track in Green is achieved by making very slight movements with our Gas-Pedals (Feet). There are 2 Key Points to keep in mind when attempting this:

  1. Ensure that the Front Gas-Pedal (Front-Foot) makes any movement first, regardless of anything else!
  2. Keep the weight on the Front Foot.

This technique can be applied anywhere in order to keep the board more in the fall-line, however as the pistes get steeper, we will obviously get faster and faster whilst doing this, so take care dudes!

Steeper terrain can be tackled by the High-Release Drift-Turn Technique, which you can check out by clicking the link.

In able to learn this technique, we must first have a good confidence in our abilities to make turns on all Blue and some Red Pistes guys – there’s no point learning to ride a steep piste when our current turn-technique isn’t up to scrtach on Blue’s.

Off-Piste – also known as powder riding, freeriding, pow-pow, or simply heaven!

Taking our riding away from the set pistes and enjoying the beauty of natural-terrain is the pinnacle of feeling free. There’s no interference, no noise… Just us, a plank of wood and some beautiful snow to ride.

Before venturing out in to the wilderness of “Off-Piste”, we first have to have a few things in order with regards to both ability and knowledge:

  1. Being able to confidently get down pretty any Red-Piste and some Blacks: Off-Piste has no colour and we can experience Blue, Red and Black-level gradients within a short distance out there, amongst bumps, drops, trees, rocks and ice.
  2. Technique: It’s always a good idea to first play around next to the pistes – building a feeling for the way that we ride powder. A bit further down, I talk about Body-Position and ways to make riding Off-Piste more manageable, but some things can only be felt, not read.
  3. Understand the dangers: Although fun as hell, Off-Piste riding can be dangerous, so make sure to first read up on avalanche-safety, as well as finding out any necessary information about the mountain that you’re riding on. What’s the Snow-Pack like? What level is the avalanche warning level? These questions can really save our asses guys!
  4. Take the right Equipment: There are a few things that we should always have to hand when going Off-Piste – all of which I have listed in the equipment-section. Be sure to check out what you need to be safe out there.
  5. NEVER GO OUT ALONE: It’s all well and good having the right equipment, but it ain’t worth s*** unless you’ve got a buddy with you. What happens if we get burried, or break a leg ect? I don’t mean to bring the mood down guys, but lives are lost every year due to people ignoring advice like this.

Off-Piste Technique Tips

Riding Off-Piste requires a slightly different technique to staying on prepared pistes. Imagine a surfer cruising through water and the way that their Board would look in order to do this. Riding on fresh powder works much the same way, as we need to keep our Board’s Nose out of the snow (unless we can to tomahawk our way down).

The largest deciding factor for our riding technique is in my opinion the kind of Board we’re riding, If we have a plank that’s designed for Off-Piste – with a scooping nose, tapered shape and a stiff construction, we can keep our weight in the middle of the board and the main difference would be to keep our knees ready to absorb bumps (much like shock-absorbers).

If we are riding a Twin-Tip snowboard with a medium flex, we’re going to need to change our position slightly to get the most out of Off-Piste. It’s worth noting that Off-Piste is generally much more work than On-Piste, but it is so worth it!

Position Tweaks for Off-Piste

Weight-Placement for Power-Riding: In order to keep our nose out of the snow, we need to actively hold it up – which is accomplished by essentially leaning more on the back leg. If the idea of this seems crazy though, I would recommend having a look at the Tail-Press Section of this guide to get a feel for riding whilst leaning back.

Keep the Knees Bent: I have already mentioned the shock-absorber analogy. We should really be able to absorb everything that comes our way, which is partially down to technique, but also down to our fitness-level

On that note – if you’re looking to improve your leg strength and fitness level for Snowboarding-Purposes, hit me up in the contact page and we can sort a plan out to meet your needs.

When ridden correctly, moguls can be a pleasant, even fun experience. If we don’t know how to navigate them correctly, they turn in to little bumps of death that most try to avoid!

Luckily, there is a great turn technique called the Deep-Release Drift Turn, which you can check out by clicking the link. I heavily recommend learning this technique, as it uses a method of instantly unweighting the snowboard to remove all pressure from underneath us – meaning we can just glide over moguls like they aren’t even there!

Personally, the Fun-Park is my favourite place to be on the mountain. Don’t tet me wrong, Power-Riding is a close second – but being able to look at a jump and psych myself drop in and send it gives me butterflies to think about.

Fun Parks are a great way to learn, practice and progress tricks – but there are a few things to cover before heading in. First, I’ll briefly talk about the types of festure that we can expect to find in most Fun-Parks:

  1. Kickers
  2. Boxes
  3. Rails

Now that we’re familiar with the features, let’s talk rules. There aren’t so many rules in the Fun-Park, but break one and we could cause serious, potentially fatal injury to ourselves and others:

  1. Don’t cut across: When riding in to a jump, there is nothing more off-putting that someone riding across the run-in in front of us. 
  2. Keep the Landing clear: Think about a 75Kg object with sharp edges flying through the air. Would you want that to hit you..? I’ve seen people get hit and it really isn’t pretty guys – so be careful where you stop.
  3. Don’t stop on top of a Feature: I’ve never understood the mentality when people do this. All it does is waste time and mean that the Park-Shaper has to reshape the rut you’ve just made.
  4. Check before dropping in: There generally isn’t a strict queueing system in Fun-Parks, but just check to make sure that you aren’t throwing someone off their groove when you decide to run in.
  5. Stay in your lane: Be sensible guys. If we haven’t gone over a jump before, maybe start with the smaller ones – not the 12m Table.