Big airs are cool tricks that many snowboarders dream about. It’s as close to actually flying as many of us will ever get, and there’s nothing quite like jumping or soaring up over the snow. However, not every rider will get to the advanced level where they can bomb the big kickers in the park or fly off of cliffs without a second that.
No matter what your abilities currently are or where you want them to eventually end up, almost everyone wants to learn how to jump. From a small air to a giant maneuver, the basics of jumping are similar. In this article, we will break down how to jump on a snowboard by looking at the steps one by one.
Before you learn how to jump on a snowboard, you need to know the basics. You most likely aren’t going to be jumping on your first day, but there are some who get there quite quickly. Within your first season of riding, you should be comfortable enough to attempt jumps. First, you need to know how to stay in control as you turn, slow down, and stop. Once those boxes are checked, you can learn to jump.
You always want to be safe when you’re snowboarding. When you take to the air, you want to be extra cautious because leaving the ground amps up the danger. Always wear a helmet in the case of a bad fall. In addition, make sure your jump’s landing area is clear from any other people or obstacles that could affect your dismount.
How to Jump on a Snowboard
Step 1: Learn the Ollie
The first step in learning how to jump on a snowboard is to do just that: jump. However, before you attempt a jump at high speeds headed downhill, you should start by jumping up in the air while standing still. This is called an ollie. To do it, follow these steps:
- Strap into your board on a flat section of the mountain. The base area or strap in spots at the top of a lift are great for this.
- Stand up straight and put your weight evenly in both legs
- Bend at your knees and hips
- Jump up into the air by pushing your feet and board into the ground
- Lift your knees in the air
- Come back to the ground
The above steps will lead to a basic jump that will give you a good feel for the pop and push you’ll need when you go off of a bigger jump. It will also give you a sense of what it’s like to land. Practice ollies whenever you get a chance. It’s an easy and effective way to learn the basic jumping technique.
Step 2: Start Small in the Park or on the Mountain
Once you have a good feel for the ollie, it’s time to venture into the park or other spot on the mountain that has a nice little jump to practice on. I would recommend the park because the beginner jumps are designed to have a perfect takeoff and landing that will allow you to easily complete a jump. Natural features are great for learning too. Just be sure you pick one that’s small and has a nice landing.
Follow these steps to go off of your first jump in the park or other location on the mountain:
- You want to make sure you have a long enough approach to gain the proper speed to clear the jump. This won’t need to be much for a small jump but coming up short is bad.
- Start your approach by pointing your board downhill directly towards the jump. Limit your speed checks so you maintain enough speed.
- Stay evenly balanced on your board with a neutral stance so your knees and hips are bent slightly. You don’t want to bend too much, as that may cause you to fall back or forward in the air.
- As you near the top of the jump, use the same jumping technique in the ollie to get a little extra pop.
- You’re now airborne. Enjoy it!
- As you come back down, absorb the impact with your knees and hips. Keep your arms out wide for extra balance. Try to land flat so you don’t catch an edge.
You don’t have to pop off of the lip of the jump when you are just learning, especially on the small jumps at the park. These jumps are designed for you to easily take off and land with minimal effort. That is, as you have enough speed. The pop will give you a little extra air and should come naturally, but don’t force it if you’re struggling with this.
Step 3: Progress Slowly But Then Go Big
Once you feel comfortable with smaller jumps, you can begin to progress to bigger features. Take your time. Make sure that you’re sticking the landing on your small jumps every single time before going big.
Once you feel good, try the medium jumps in the park. If you master those, you can then start to tackle big airs. You only do those when you feel ready. I’ve seen many riders attempt the big features in the park before they were skilled enough and it always ends badly. An injury can end your season and even your life. It’s just not worth the risk. Progress slowly with your jumps.
Jumping can feel pretty natural once you get the hang of it. Just be sure to start small and take your time before you go off of anything too big. Once you learn how to jump straight, you can start throwing in tricks while you are in the air. As with all other skills, know your limits, focus on good technique, and you are sure to improve.
Do you remember going off of your first jump? How long did it take you to feel comfortable catching air on a snowboard? Let us know in the comments below!