When I started riding, it wasn’t long after I could stay up on my board and link turns together that I wanted to start learning how to do some beginner snowboarding tricks.
I always found myself gravitating towards little bumps and jumps on the hill in an attempt get air born for a second and feel like I was floating, but I found I wanted to add some style and progression to it.
I had watched enough snowboard videos and competitions on t.v. to know that tricks are a natural part of progressing as a snowboarder.
So naturally I looked up how to do some tricks just as you are now and started practicing them on the ground without my board as well as on the hill with my board.
Don’t get me wrong. When you start trying tricks, you will fall….a lot. (which is why I got myself some wrist guards to protect my hands. (that is for another post at another time) but time on task over time and you will start to get better at them.
And the feeling that happens when you land a trick you’ve been trying for a while is….well its freaking amazing!
The real trick is to start small and work your way up to bigger moves with bigger air. So I’ll go over some basic tricks below for beginners and how you can practice them at home and on the mountain.
One of the first decisions you need to make when starting to snowboard is what way you will be riding on the board. Meaning which foot will be in the front of the other when facing down the hill.
A way to determine this is stand with your feet together and have a friend push you from behind (gently). Which ever foot you step forward with to catch your balance is most likely your dominant leg that you will want to put first on the board.
(not always the case, but this is a good way to test out which leg goes in front)
If you’re left foot is forward, you prefer to ride what’s called regular. If you’re right foot is forward, then you prefer to ride what is called goofy. (I’m not making that name up:)
Once you determine which way you want to ride, one of the first tricks you can learn (and it doesn’t require your board to leave the ground at all) is Switch riding.
Switch riding is when you switch it up and are actually riding with your opposite leg in front and your other leg in back.
Example is if you ride regular with your left forward in front, you would switch it up and ride with your right foot in front.
And if you usually ride goofy with your right foot in front, you would switch it up and ride with your left foot in front on your board.
The term 180 shouldn’t be new to you, bust just in case I will explain what it is here.
Doing a 180 is when you make a 180 degree turn in the air after hitting a jump or bump on your board. You will, in essence end up riding switch as I described above once you land from your 180 jump. Going from having your left foot forward (riding regular) to having your right foot forward (riding switch) after your landing is what you are going for.
You can either do this as a front side 180 or backside 180 to complete the trick. Doing a trick front side is when you are initiating the trick towards the front of your feet or toes. Back side is when you initiate the trick towards your heels.
Front and backside can be used for any amount of spinning trick (or any trick for that matter) you do.
How to learn 180’s
In my opinion, the best way to learn how to do 180’s is to do them
without your board in your home or gym. (you can even put your snowboard
boots on to add extra weight that you will have when actually
Start with your feet shoulder width apart and then jump,
twist and land facing the other direction.
Keep doing this to get comfortable with the movements and to build up your air awareness and strength. This will help translate the movements more easily to the mountain.
When on the mountain, the best way to get comfortable doing 180’s is to start slowly, actually practicing them without having your board leave the ground at all.
Start by riding down on a relatively flat part of the run. To do a front side 180 without jumping, lean back on your back edge (towards your heels) while twisting your hips forward. This will glide the board forward while rotating it until you are riding in the switch position.
To do a backside 180 without jumping, lean forward on your front edge (towards your toes) and twist your hips backwards. Again, this will glide your board while rotating it until you are riding in the switch position.
You will also need to throw your head around the same direction as the board for backside tricks to look for and spot your landings since you are turning towards your back. (note – you won’t have to throw your head around for front side tricks)
Once you are comfortable doing these on the hill with no air under your board, try to do them with a little pop (or ollie) on your board to get off the ground a little bit.
After this, the next step is to try them off of a small jump, and then medium-sized jump, followed by a large jump as you get more and more comfortable!
Make sure you are completely comfortable though before moving up in jump size to avoid injuries.
There are a multitude of grabs you can do on your snowboard when hitting jumps, and I will go over a few of the basic ones here for you to practice as you are doing your beginner snowboarding tricks.
First, there is the indie grab. (shown below left) This is where you grab the middle of your board with the opposite hand of whichever foot is forward. So when riding regular with your left foot forward, you’d grab with your right hand. And the opposite if you are riding goofy.
Next, we have the mute grab. (shown below right) This grab is where you hit a jump and grab the back of the board with your left hand if you are a regular rider and your right hand if you are a goofy rider. This picture shows a mute grab with a twist, but a straight mute grab is done with no twist.
Third is a nose grab. (shown below). Pretty simple, but its easier said than done. I myself worked on getting the movement down for a long time before I was able to actually grab the nose of the board.
This move is where you pull your knees-up and reach out in front and grab the front of your board after hitting a jump.
The picture here is a more “tweaked out” version than when you first start doing them. Usually you end up jumping and extending more out than up like this rider is doing.
Lastly, we have the tail grab. Also, self-explanatory. It where you hit a jump and grab the tail of the board. The picture at the bottom of all my posts is actually me doing a variation of a tail grab off of a box in the park.
All of these grabs can also be done with spins included and adding in a spin of any amount will up the style points significantly.
Now get out there and take some falls 🙂
There you have it. Some basic tricks that will keep you busy on and off the mountain practicing them to perfection. Go into practicing them knowing that you probably will…actually most definitely…will fall when trying new moves.
And that’s OK!
That is what snowboarding is all about! Progressing by trying new moves and learning new tricks. Learning new tricks will up your enjoyment of riding and keep you coming back for more and more runs down the mountain.
As always, hit me up in the comments below with any questions or thoughts. Otherwise, I’ll see ya out on the hill!
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