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Performing Snowboard Tricks

If you've ever watched snowboarding videos or read snowboarding magazines, you've probably been inundated with images of freestyle riders performing
exciting and spectacular snowboarding tricks, jumps and spins. So after watching all of those terror-death moves, your adrenaline starts to race and you can't wait to catch some big bad air.

However, before you rush out to the halfpipes or terrain parks you should at least be proficient in linking turns in intermediate blue runs as described in Your First Turns. You'll then be ready to work on the maneuvers below.

Fakie

Riding fakie refers to riding in a backward direction on your board i.e. with your rear foot leading. This will be one of the most fundamental skills in freestyle snowboarding which, apart from making you a more complete and versatile rider, will allow you to perform various spin moves in the air or on the snow.

To develop competence in riding fakie, practice key maneuvers such as traversing, stopping and turning but instead of leading with your front foot, lead with your rear foot instead. Persist with developing confidence and control and practice in various terrains, conditions and trails until you are comfortable with riding backward.

Tip Rolls

A tip roll involves flipping or rolling your board over 180 degrees to change from forward to fakie while the board's tip remains on the snow. To execute this maneuver, move your weight far forward and lift up your rear foot so that the tail of your board rises off the ground.

Start with a small lift first before gradually increasing the height. With the tip of your board still on the ground, practice swinging the tail until you can swing it all the way around to the other edge and ride fakie.

Once you are comfortable performing the tip roll from forward to fakie, practice swinging the board over with the same technique from fakie back to forward. As always, practice with both edges.

Catching Air

Now it's time to catch your first air. If you have access to a terrain park, look for structures designed for beginners. Otherwise, find an area with a few bumps or small berms to jump off from.

Move toward the jump at a low to moderate speed while looking ahead with your hands in front of you. At the top of the jump, remain balanced over your board and look straight ahead at all times while you are in flight. Do not look down! This has a tendency to badly affect your balance causing you to crash to the ground.

As you prepare to land, keep looking ahead and bend your legs to absorb the impact of your landing before riding out to search for your next jump.

You can also get some air on a flat ground by performing a maneuver called the ollie. Shift all of your weight toward the tail of the
Snowboarding
board until the tip of your board begins to rise and allow your board to pop into the air.

Grabs

As you gain in confidence when jumping, you can grab your board while in mid-air. Grabbing your board will provide extra stability in the air while also helping you to perform spins and inversions more effectively. Plus it just looks so cool!

Make sure you bend your legs to bring the board up to your hand rather than bending downward to grab your board which can put you off-balance. Experiment with grabbing various sections of your board with either hand whether it be the tip, tail, toe edge or heel edge of your board.

Spins

Being able to spin in the air will serve as the basis for which other more advanced freestyle tricks can be performed. Mastering the technique, however, will take plenty of practice and persistence.

Start by practicing 180 degree spins while on a gentle slope. While traversing on your toe edge, bend down low and wind your body up in a direction opposite to your intended direction of spinning.

Jump straight up and uncoil your body to begin your spin while using your arms to maintain balance. While spinning, look in direction you will be spinning and then in the direction you will land. Bend your knees and absorb the impact while landing on your heel edge and continue to ride fakie.

As always, practice on both edges and when you can jump and spin from forward to fakie, practice going from fakie to forward again. When you've mastered a 180 degree spin, practice doing a full 360 degree spin using the same principles except you'll be moving in the same direction on the same edge when you land.

Combining Moves

As you gain in confidence, gradually increase the size of your jumps and spins. When you're ready (after much hard work), you'll be ready to try out your tricks in the park or pipe using various combinations of jumps, spins and board grabs.

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