First snowboard jump
In this episode we discuss how to master teeny jumps in the terrain park. We’ll cover the basics of popping, approach and landing your first small feature. If it’s your first time in the terrain park, be sure to check out Smart Style and always start small.
Although “Jump” means “acting to put ones self in the air,” many assume the feature will make them air-born without any extra work. While you will probably go in the air, you’ll have more control, style and height if you add a little pop. It’s a little like jumping on the bed. Just because the bed is bouncy, doesn’t mean that you will automatically fly in the air.
Step 1: Practice the pop standing still
A pop is a jump with equal weight on both feet. Try in on the flats. Get nice and low, like you are squatting, and quickly spring up. Both feet should come up off the snow at the same time. Add more height by bringing your knees to your chest in the air. Keep your arms quiet to prevent getting all scrambled up in the air.
Step 2: Practice the pop while riding
On a green run, go straight for a second, get nice and low, then spring up off a flat base. Try popping off your toe and heel edge. You don’t need very much edge…think of playing basketball, you don’t jump flat footed, you jump off the balls of your feet. By doing this, you may find you prefer one edge more than the other.
Step 3: Pop or ollie over stuff
Pop over stuff: piles of snow, sticks, pop off rollers—whatever you can find. Not only will you improve your popping, but you are practicing landing as well. If you’re this good at getting in the air without a jump, it’ll be that much easier when you’ve got a jump to help you.
Step 4: Find a small jump and inspect the park
Head to the beginner park and look for a jump with a take-off that is 6-18 inches high with little or no gap to the landing. Have a look at it, just to make sure the landing isn’t too icy.
Step 5: Learn the speed
Watch a few people hit the jump to get an idea of how fast you need to go. You want enough speed to make it to the landing; but not so much that you shoot over it. Take a run to gauge speed. Go the right speed but don’t hit the jump, turn off to the side instead. Once you know the right speed, go for it.
Step 6: Hit the jump
Crouch lower as you go up the take-off; keep your shoulders parallel to your board and your arms quiet.
Pop as your front foot reaches the lip of the jump to put yourself in the air.
Bring your knees up to your chest mid-air to add more height and style.
When you land, your board and body should be at the same angle as the landing. Touch down with the whole length of your board.
Get stable before you try to turn.
Often new riders get nervous approaching the jump and default to a heelside turn mid-way up the take-off. If you find yourself turning to face downhill in the air, or landing on your heel side edge, try taking off on your toe edge instead. This will help you stay balanced and calm.
I hope we’ve shown you the thrill of jumping, and that you don’t need massive jumps or professional parks to get air born. Like anything else, start small and work your way up.
Next step: Introduction to the Halfpipe, Snowboard Grab (coming soon)