Snowboarding has many different aspects and there are many types of snowboarders. They can take on all sorts of terrain from moguls to glades to steeps. The sport is best known for the professional freestyle competitions – people love to watch the best snowboarders do tricks! The Winter X-games and the Winter Olympics are the top events for these athletes, and the snowboarding freestyle and half-pipe competitions attract thousands of spectators. Although most of the tricks performed by the professionals take years of practice, many ski mountains have terrain parks where snowboarders can learn the basics. Successfully going off ski jumps is a blast but can be dangerous if you don’t know the proper technique. If you want to go off jumps, you need to know how to approach the jump, balance in the air and stick the landing. Once you get the basics down, you can start to learn cool tricks.
Approaching The Jump: As you approach the jump, you should know how much speed you need to clear the gap and land safely. Although it sounds counter intuitive, a lot of people get injured going off jumps too slowly. It’s a good idea to do speed checks for each jump before you go off them. A check shows you how much speed you need to safely go off the jump. To perform a speed check, gain speed like you are going to go off the jump but stop and go to the side instead of actually jumping. The next time around you can go for air.
Once you know how much speed you want for each jump, you need to prepare to go off of them. The approach depends on what the snowboarder wants to perform off the jump; someone trying to do a spin will approach the jump differently than someone trying to do a grab. The basic approach should include checking your speed until you get the right pace, then distributing your weight equally when you get close to the lip (tip of the jump). When your first foot hits the jump, push off equally with both feet like you’re trying to jump out of your boots. The jump itself will give you some air but the combination of your pushing and the lip will give you big air.
Balancing in The Air: Keeping your balance in the air gets harder as your tricks become more complicated. When performing a simple ollie, you only have to worry about keeping your body straight and preparing for the landing. Spinning creates a whole new set of complications because your weight shifts while you rotate. Snowboarders need to be able to find a spinning axis to be sure that their board will be back in a position to land at the right time. This skill takes a lot of practice, so starting with basic ollies and grabs is the best way to prepare yourself. When going off jumps, make sure that you keep your head up, your board underneath your body and be ready to land.
Sticking The Landing: You need to see the landing before you can make it happen. Be prepared to hit the snow and try to land with equal weight on both feet. As your board hits the slope bend your knees to cushion the impact. Bending your knees will keep you from injuring your joints and will help you regain balance. If you land with more weight on one of your feet, you are much more likely to fall. Far too often snowboarders look like they will land, but they end up landing unevenly, catch an edge, and fall. Being able to comfortably go off jumps is all about experience. If you want to make sure you can stick landings, start going off smaller jumps and rollers before stepping up to the big stuff.
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