Learn Backside 180s


The 180 is a super-stylish trick and a great starter-spin. In this episode, we’ll cover how to do a backside 180.

For a 180, you’ll pop and spin half a rotation, landing switch. You can either spin front-side or back-side – and most riders have a preference.

Idea 1: Find Your Spin Direction

Strap in and practice a few spins on the flats to see which direction you find most comfortable. If you’re learning to spin for the first time, it’s easiest to begin spinning your natural direction.

Spin direction can be very confusing; imagine spinning around a pole. If you’re facing the pole, that’s a back-side spin. If you spin with your back to the pole, that’s front-side. Frontside and backside have different meanings in half-pipe and rails, but that’s another episode.

Idea 2: Surface 180s

Head to an intermediate run and practice w-spins. These are 180s that you’ll do without leaving the snow by turning uphill. From a toe traverse, add pressure to your toes and turn uphill. When you come to a stop, transfer to your heel edge and ride away switch.

When these are easy, do it again—but this time add a hop. When you stop, pop and land on your heel edge. You want to get the feeling of popping off your toe edge, landing on your heels and riding away switch.

Idea 3: Practice Spins Without Your Snowboard

At the bottom, try spinning backside 180s in your boots. Notice that you dig in slightly with your toes when you take off? You don’t need to spin that hard to complete the rotation. Just pop and turn your hips the direction you want to spin. Unlike bigger spins, you don’t need to turn your head. Keep your head in one spot and spin your lower half around. You’ll finish the spin looking behind you.

Now try it with your snowboard. Bend your knees to get low, dig your edge in and pop and spin. You want to power-up your edge, pop and turn your hips all at once. The pop and spin need to be simultaneous or you won’t be smooth. Think about swiveling your snowboard around.

Idea 4: 180s From a Traverse

Head to a beginner run and try backside 180s from a traverse. From a toe traverse, get low, dig in your toes and pop while turning your snowboard, and hips. Land on your heel edge and ride away switch with your head looking behind you. Slowly turn your head downhill once you’re riding smooth to prevent revert. Revert means you continue to spin after landing.

You will have more power and control if you jump off your toes. With snowboard spins, you can take off on either edge, but toeside is usually easier for backside spins. 

Idea 5: Spin 180s Riding Straight

Now try spinning 180s going straight. Get low, pop off your toes and spin. You’ll notice these may be more difficult than from a traverse because you’re not already on edge.

Idea 6: Spin 180s off Jump with a Side Approach

As you get more comfortable, try spinning 180s off a jump with a side approach. This could be the side of a jump, the bottom of a small half-pipe, or a natural feature. The “jump” will help you get used to spinning off a lip and the incline will make spinning much easier because you’re already on your toe edge. Just ride off the lip, pop and turn your head.

Idea 7: 180s off a Small Jump

When you’re confident with all these steps, try one off a small jump. Do some straight airs to get warmed up. As you go up the take-off, get low and tip onto your toe edge. When your front foot reaches the top of the lip, pop and turn your hips—pulling the snowboard around beneath you.

You’ll land going switch and your head will be looking uphill. Get stable and ride away smooth before turning your head back downhill. This keeps you smooth, ensures you don’t over-rotate and prevents revert.

The backside 180 never gets old. It’s one of the few tricks a freestyle beginner can master while still looking good when a pro does it for a magazine cover.