With the popularity of snowboarding growing every season, more and more people are hitting the slopes with the latest gear for the very first time.
Whilst many will hit the pistes, not as many would be found riding the park and the terminology and technicalities of the latest tricks still remain a mystery to a number of snowboarders.
However, with the emergence of slopestyle and half pipe events in the Winter Olympics, let me fill you in with some of the basics.
Those wanting to learn even the most basics of tricks will first start with an Ollie. This originates (like many) from skateboarding, and was founded by an American skateboarder called Alan ‘Ollie’ Gelfard.
The aim of the Ollie is to get maximum elevation off the ground and often on the ‘take off’ for a jump. It is effectively shifting your weight onto your back foot whilst pulling your front foot in air, then using the flex of the board to pop your back foot into the air, gaining as much height or “Air” as possible. After successfully landing this trick, you can then move on to rotations.
The easiest rotation is a 180, this is effectively half a turn whilst in the air. A 360 is turning your board all the way around, landing in exactly the same direction as you set off (1 complete rotation). A 720 is two turns, 1080 is three turns and 1440 is four turns.
The first one to try is called a Frontside 180. This trick is basically combining what you’ve learnt so far, starting off by popping yourself into an Ollie, and whilst in the air, rotating your body so you are facing the landing as you rotate before completing half of a turn.
A Backside 180 is exactly the same except you rotate your body so you are facing away from the landing as you turn.
Whilst these may seem basic, they can score highly when performed with style.
Next step is to throw a grab in. Some of the basic grabs to master are Nose, Tail, Stalefish, Melon, Mute and Indy.
A nose grab is basically just grabbing the front of your board with your leading hand. A tail grab is the opposite, grabbing the tail of your board with your trailing hand.
A melon is grabbing the middle of your board behind you with your leading hand, and as you can imagine, a stalefish is the same except you use your trailing hand to grab your board.
A mute and indy grab is the opposite to a melon and stalefish. For this grab you grab the front of your board instead of the back. If you use your leading hand, it is a mute grab, use your trailing hand and it becomes an indy.
These grabs can become even more stylish by combining them with a rotation. The bigger the rotation, the more points they are worth! Combining grabs and “tweaking” the board will also improve the scores.
And there you have it! You’ve now learnt the basic tricks of snowboarding. There are more complex combinations involving front, back flips, corks etc and these will be explored further on the approach to the Olympics.