Snowboarding is a lot of fun, even when it is just limited to cruising on groomers and carving. However, a couple of tricks take the fun to the next level and diversify your snowboarding. They also help you practice your overall technique and build confidence when out in the snow.
This guide will take you through the core beginner snowboarding tricks. They form the foundation of all other tricks and are the easiest to learn though you will need regular practice to master them. The tricks you will learn about are:
3. Tail and Nose Presses
4. Flat/Ground 360 spins
5. 50-50 grinds
6. Straight Air Off-Jump
Before you step out in the snow to try the new tricks, you need to learn a couple of things to increase your safety when training.
1. What kind of snowboarder are you?
There are two types of snowboarders, Regular and Goofy. It refers to which foot you use as your lead foot. You can determine this easily by having a friend push you from behind while standing. Whichever foot you step forward with is your lead foot. If your lead foot is the left foot, you are a “Regular,” and if it is your right foot, you are “Goofy.” You should set up your snowboard to have the right leg as the lead leg for a smooth and comfortable ride.
2. How to use the bindings on your board
By now, you already know the function of the binding on your snowboard and how to fasten them, whether they are speed entry bindings or strap bindings. While you should fasten your foot firmly and comfortably in position, you do not need to keep your rear foot in the binds. Instead, when moving around flat surfaces, climbing up the beginners’ slop, or getting on and off, use it to push yourself along, almost like one would do when snowboarding.
3. Learn to control your speed
Learning to control your speed is essentially the first trick you should master. It will add to your confidence every time you are on the snow and give you more board control. Part of this is having and maintaining the right posture. It allows you to keep even pressure on both feet. You should also sink into your knees. You can apply pressure on the snowboard’s edge to slow down as the act increases friction between the board and snow.
4. How to safely fall on snow
Practicing the various tricks will often result in falls before you master them. That in itself is not a problem unless you do not know how to fall safely on snow in a way that reduces the risk of injury. First, always try to fall uphill instead of downhill, which reduces the risk of injuring your coccyx or tailbone. When you feel the fall about to happen, lower your knees as it reduces the height you will fall from, lessening the risk for injury. Finally, try to relax and avoid stretching your arms out as it may injure your wrists.
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How to Do an Ollie
An ollie is an essential trick to learn as it forms the foundation of most other tricks and is easier to master. It involves using the snowboard’s tail to spring into the air. It is a skill that allows you to get air without performing an actual jump. You will use the same techniques when jumping obstacles and other advanced jumps. Ollies will also help you get used to being airborne but at a safe height as a beginner. It is also the perfect opportunity to work on your landing technique.
To do an ollie, follow these steps:
1. Use your back leg to scoot the board to the front while flexing the back leg.
2. In the same motion, pull the front leg up, making the board flex and pop springing from the rearfoot and tail. The back leg follows the front leg pulling the tail up.
3. In mid-air, flex/fold both legs to position the snowboard under your feet and parallel to the ground. This position also prepares you for landing.
4. Land with both feet while slightly crouching so that the knees can absorb the impact efficiently.
How to Do a Nollie
A nollie is like an ollie, but you do it from the board’s nose. It is thus an inverse of the ollie. While the main motions are simply reversed, the nollie is technically harder because you are working against the snowboard’s motion. It calls for better maneuvering, so you should move to it after landing an ollie eight times out of ten or better. To perform a nollie, follow these steps;
1. Use the front leg to push the board backward.
2. Flex and pull the back leg up and then the front leg making the board pop up in a spring-like motion.
3. Flex both legs mid-air to position the board appropriately in preparation for the landing and land with both feet while crouching slightly.
How to Do a Nose or Tail Press
Nose and tail presses are another essential trick that helps you master the fundamentals for other tricks, and you can easily incorporate them along with other movements. The other name for nose and tail presses is manuals or wheelies. Learning how to do a nose or tail press improves your ability to shift weight to the front or back of your board. It also improves your awareness of the edges and adds an element of play to your snowboarding. You start training manuals on flat ground, and once you are confident and proficient, you can switch to boxes and then rails.
Here is how to do a nose press:
1. Start the trick while you are stationary or on smooth terrain.
2. Move your body weight toward the tail end of the board. You achieve this by flexing your rear leg and extending the front one. You should not lean back; just move your hips to the rear leg, which becomes the center of your mass.
3. By shifting the mass to the tail end, the nose should start lifting.
4. Align your shoulders and arms with the board to keep them from opening, making it hard for you to balance and maintain the board in a flat position.
For a tail press, follow these instructions:
1. Using the same strategy of shifting weight, move it over to the nose end of the board while flexing your right leg.
2. By placing the center of mass over your front leg, the tail end of the snowboard will start lifting.
3. Have your arms in the right position to maintain your balance.
For all the manuals, start from a stationary place and then move to mellow terrain. Focus on finding a balance point to allow you to hold the press longer. Finally, set a start and endpoint for your presses to help practice your time for when you get on a box.
How to Do a 360 Flat Spin
The flat spin 360 is another of those beginner snowboarding tricks you can do on flat terrain and also helps your progress in other advanced tricks. The idea is to rotate the full circle while switching between toe and heel edges. How you do it depends on whether you’re a goofy or regular rider.
For regular riders (left foot is the lead foot), follow these steps:
1. When you finish a toe side turn, continue pointing the nose uphill so that you can turn clockwise.
2. Exert more pressure on the front foot while lifting the toes of your back foot to twist the board and keep it rotating.
3. With the nose still pointing uphill, shift weight to the right foot, the new leading foot, and switch to the heel edge. Since you are a regular rider, it will be your right foot heel edge.
4. Continue the clockwise spinning entering another toe side spin, and repeat the steps.
For goofy riders (where the right foot is the lead foot), the steps are similar, only that you will be turning counterclockwise. Also, when shifting to a new leading foot, it will be the left foot, and the heel edge will be the left heel edge. You can learn to do the spins on both sides, which adds versatility to your snowboarding.
How to Take a Straight Air Jump
Taking jumps can seem intimidating and a bit risky for a snowboard beginner, but it is easy to perfect your technique and execute safe jumps. You want to start with small jumps and gradually progress. Start by watching other riders hit the jump first. You should also scope out the jump first by riding on the side and even mimicking the speed you will be using.
To make a jump, do the following:
1. Determine the right speed you need to make the jump to avoid landing far or too short from the landing zone. You can watch other riders to determine the various speed checks they need and adjust your speed accordingly. You can also use clean turns towards the start of the jump.
2. When riding the takeoff maintain a straight and flat posture while putting very little pressure on your toes to avoid turning. This posture aids your balance and gives an athletic stance.
3. When in the air, let the feet float up to the upper body can check where you are landing
4. Align the hips and shoulders in the same place with the board as you land and land flat on the board. You then roll off on the toe edge and ride away.
The above beginner snowboarding tricks will take your snowboarding to the next level and help you perfect your fundamental techniques. You should be mindful of your safety, practice one trick first, and master it before moving to the next. You also want to start on flat ground first, and when the snow is still fresh, it makes for softer landings should you fall.
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