Jumping a Snowboard

So, you’re ready to start jumping a snowboard?

I can understand your excitement. For me, jumping on a snowboard, doing tricks on jumps and in the halfpipe have included some of the most fulfilling, exhilarating and passionate moments of my life. Logically, if you hope to learn to fly through the air to do soulful grabs spins or flips, before safely returning to the snow, jumping a snowboard is the first step.

Go to -- Snowboard Addicition -- to check out the whole online program they offer. For some people this kind of video program can be just the ticket to really spark the explosion or skills.

Jumping a Snowboard – Skills and Exercises

Hop and Land – This is the first real step to your jumping skills base. At this point you should have been on the board long enough to ride down the hill, turn left and right, and be able to stop.

  1. First, practice on the ground, either at home, in the base lodge or even on the hill before you strap in. Stand in your neutral snowboarding position and crouch down to load your leg muscles, while keeping your chest up and shoulders back. Okay jump straight up. Now land with a smooth shock absorber like catch with the legs that will rebound and return to the neutral riding position where you started. Good. Try that over and over and find balance and rhythm in the movement.
  2. Imagine your actually jumping a snowboard with the ground moving underneath you while you hop up in the air and then gracefully land and ride away with out panicking or freaking out once you get into the air. Imagine the flow you will feel when it all goes right, and imagine the sense of fun and joy you will feel when you get into the air, land, then ride away.
  3. Excellent, now, goto a nice mellow groomed run, where you will be comfortable to ride without fear or distraction. Get strapped in and ready to hop.
  4. Go ahead an start riding down the hill and when you get comfortable on the board, allow your line to fall in line with the fall-line allowing the base to go flat on the ground, crouch down into the loaded position and Hop up into the air, Land, and Ride Away.
  5. Nice job. Your jumping a snowboard. Fun right. Practice, practice……
  6. Practice doing the Hop and Land on flat ground as well as off of each edge. Same rules apply. Just get your balance over the edge you intend to hop off of and go for it. Jump straight up, or in a direction the will set you up for the location and direction of your landing direction.
  7. Develop your comfort level and get ready to learn how to Ollie.

Ollie Practice, without the Snowboard

Jumping a Snowboard - The Ollie – The ollie is a basic snowboarding skill that shares its ancestry very closely with Skateboarding. It involves an aggressive and precisely timed sequence of movement that leads to the rider springing off of the tail of the board and into the air with more energy and height than is possible by merely hoping straight up like we practiced above. Ready to learn how to ollie? Lets do it!

  • First, practice without your board. Again, get into your neutral position with your feet stance width apart and crouch down into a loaded position with your chest up, eyes and head relaxed and looking in the direction forward travel once you’re on the hill. Your arms should be in their neutral position, relaxed and actively ready for their role in the ollie when the time comes. While in this position shift forward and backwards, moving weight in line with the board on the nose, then over the tail, back and forth, with no rotation between your upper body and lower. Okay, this rocking fore and aft, tip to tail movement is the fundamental move to begin the ollie.
  • Still standing in this ready position without your board start tall in your range and get ready to practice the sequence.
    1. while slightly shifting weight towards the front foot, crouch into a loaded position with your arms and body relaxed, loaded and ready to pop.
    2. Following a circular motion move from the front foot flexion that you started with towards the tail of the board. Your now in a flexed position and shifting towards the tail.
    3. While shifting back towards tail, simultaneously rock towards the tail while pulling on the front leg to lift the nose of the board off the ground and load body weight over the flexed back leg and now flexing tail of the board which is now the only part of the board still on the ground. The tail of the board will act like a spring and help to shoot you up off of the ground.
    4. Time to pop and call on the arms to fill there duty. Your arms will start low. Your lead arm low and over the nose of the board, while your trailing arm is low and over the toes of your back foot. Now, in rhythm with the circular motion of the ollie, explode off of the ground using the spring in the tail, power in your legs and lead the explosion with a powerful upward motion with your arms. One thing that can help the ollie motion is to imagine jumping from the loaded over the tail position over something downhill from you leading the ollie with your front foot and lead shoulder and arm.
    5. Boo Yah, your in the air. From the finish of the pop, where your hand and arms are high, your arms will move towards the ground, as your feet and lower body move up and into the air. Now you must use your core muscles to pull your feet up under you and regain a stable position in the air. From this position you will spot your landing and put your feet down to ride away clean.
    6. Like above positive thinking is essential. Stay aggressive all the way through jumping a snowboard. From the pop, to the mid air control, through the landing and stomp that ollie. Nice job.
    7. Practice, practice…….
Bashor Hip

Before taking your new ollie skills to the snow, lets practice a couple other things to help you transition your ollie practicing to the snow and get you jumping a snowboard as well and as safely as possible.

Absorbing Practice – Before taking your ollie to the snow, practice absorbing jumps and rollers. It is the opposite motion of an ollie and will help you to stay on the ground and take energy away from your momentum down the hill. It is important to practice this so that on attempts to ollie when your timing is off or things just don’t feel right you can use an absorbing movement to regain control.

No Movement (Coasting) Takeoff – Another good skill to practice on the hill while working on jumping a snowboard and your ollie progression is the “no movement takeoff”. Here you will basically just carry the same speed you want to Ollie with, but just roll off of the bump or drop that you want to ollie from. You can also do a bit of a hop and land, which will also be less risky that going straight for the ollie, but at least give you the feeling of jumping a snowboard, and a little more air to warm up with. This can be useful as you develop your ollie pop timing and is a good warm up and confidence builder as you move towards popping your ollie.

Take your new jumping a snowboard skills to the snow!

Flat-ground / Roller / Jump
- It is time. I think it is all in place. Now you must just start practicing. Start with practicing ollies on Flat-ground. Then, move to a roller, then eventually when your ready move to a small jump. Then a bigger jump, and so on. Expect some falls and be ready to get up and try again. Use the progression steps above to keep it safe and be aggressive all the way through.

  1. Find your spot to ollie.
  2. Carry a little speed at it.
  3. As you approach the spot start the circular ollie motion.
  4. Crouch over front foot, with eyes up and commit to the ollie motion.
  5. Shift towards tail with arms and body low and ready to pop.
  6. Pull up on front leg and load the tail with flex and power in your back leg.
  7. Explode up off of tail flex, back leg and aggressively swing arms in an upward direction to complete the upward explosion off of the snow.
  8. Pull your feet up under you and regain a stable position in the air.
  9. Spot your landing, extend your feet towards the landing, and without fully straightening your legs, touch down and softly catch your momentum like the landing gear of an Air Bus Jetliner. If you reach with straight legs, you can hurt yourself, so try and practice staying in a flex legged position as you reach for the landing. Dang that’s fun.
  10. Now, go, go ,go. Have fun learning to ollie higher and higher.

Go to -- Snowboard Addicition -- to check out the whole online program they offer. For some people this kind of video program can be just the ticket to really spark the explosion or skills.

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