The holidays have come and gone. This means less time shopping for gifts and a whole lot more time for tearing up the slopes with snowboard tricks. Assuming you’re a novice trickster and need some guidance on how to safely and efficiently start showing your stuff, we’ve compiled a list of some top-tier starter moves for you to try. With a little practice, you’ll be a terrain park mainstay. (If you’re a skier, check out our ski-themed beginner trick guide here.) Be careful and, most importantly, enjoy the ride.
Here are six beginner snowboard tricks.
The Stationary Ollie
Okay, so it’s not the most exciting trick in the world, but the stationary ollie (sometimes referred to as a “pop”) is the cornerstone of all boarding tricks. In order to master moves bigger and better, you first need to feel comfortable with catching a little bit of air. The objective when doing a stationary ollie is to get as much air as you can from a standing position. Putting about 70 percent of your weight on your back leg, squat low and spring up as quickly as you can. Bring your knees to your chest for more height. Keep your arms relatively still, your lower body should be doing the work here. In a successful ollie, both ends of the board should get off the ground. A word of advice: You’ll pop much more successfully if you spring off the balls of your feet. Just like jumping in any other sport, don’t go flat-footed.
The Moving Ollie
Once you feel comfortable with stationary jumps, try to ollie while riding. Be sure to pick an easier trail (you definitely don’t want to be testing new moves on anything too steep or icy). The moving ollie mechanics are exactly the same as the stationary ollie. Spring using the balls of your feet, put a little more weight on your back leg and bring your knees to your chest. Keep arm movement to a minimum. Ensure your knees remain bent for landing to maintain balance. Most importantly, look around at others on the slope to make sure they’ve noticed your official entry into the ranks of upper-echelon boarders. The successful ollie is your gateway to a world of stunting wonder.
It may seem hard to believe, but lifting one end of your board off the ground is harder than lifting two. That’s to say popping a wheelie is a little tougher than popping an ollie because your center of gravity is split between a grounded and airborne state. Like the ollie, the wheelie is a building block trick best used to strengthen your balance. As is the case with most snowboarding tricks, it’s best achieved by lowering into a crouched position. With knees bent, put more weight on your back foot than your front and lift the nose of your board off the ground. At first, you’ll probably only be able to hold this position for a second or two. By the time you’re grabbing wheelies for more prolonged periods, it’s time to move on to our next trick.
The Nose and Tail Roll
Though it requires a bit more coordination than previous tricks, the nose and tail roll is still roundly within a beginning trickster’s wheel house and it’s as practical as it is cool. Very simply, this move involves 180′ing your board–reversing nose and tail positions–while riding. Sounds super easy, right? It’s actually a little tougher than it sounds. Beginning boarders have a propensity to get their board edges caught while pulling the reverse, usually resulting in a tumble. As with all tricks mentioned, the best place to try this one is on a green slope or bunny hill. Once you’ve got it perfected, you can bump up to tougher terrain.
The shifty is the first trick on our list that straddles the line between beginner and intermediate. Though you’re not in 360 nose grab territory with this one, it’s certainly a cut above lower stakes maneuvers. To accomplish it successfully, you’ll need to be comfortable grabbing significant air and adjusting your board’s orientation while doing so. Mechanically speaking, the shifty is an ollie accompanied by a 90-degree board movement to one side or the other, followed by a 90-degree switch back to starting position before landing. It’s not rocket science, but it’s the first trick that requires compound movements and that’s why it’s a bit further down our list.
Up until now, all the tricks we’ve highlighted have been achievable without any board park accouterments. The 50/50 changes that. Best achieved using a box or rail (a box is better because it’s wider and easier to balance on top of), the successful 50/50 is achieved by riding your board on top of a flat park obstacle oriented at a slight slope. You’ll want to maintain a moderate rate of speed leading up to the box or rail–too fast and you’ll wipe out, too slow and you won’t have the momentum needed to coast over the object in your path. In properly groomed parks, there should be no need to jump onto or off of a box or rail, because the trail snow should be nearly level with mount and dismount points. Once you get comfortable with the new terrain, it looks pretty awesome to cap your 50/50 ride with a quick shifty. Combinations become more important the higher you go on the tricking ladder.
Cover Photo Credit: globalite – flickr.com