I’ve been teaching snowboarding for 10+ years and I always hear the same question, “How did you learn how to hit big jumps?” Learning how to jump can be intimidating but if you follow these simple rules you will master this fun skill in no time and add “catching air like a pro” to your winter resume.
1. KNOW YOUR SKILL LEVEL | You must be an intermediate – advanced rider and be confident on blue and diamond runs to start jumping small jumps.
2. SAFETY FIRST | Before you head for a jump, look up hill, and all around you to make sure no one is heading for the same jump as you.
3. START SMALL | Practice jumping off flat ground and off the side of other features first until you get comfortable enough to move to small jumps.
4. STANCE & SPEED ARE KEY | When approaching a jump maintain a swift controlled speed. Lean forward slightly over the nose of your board and keep your knees bent. This will help you stick the landing and absorb the shock if you fall short and “case” the jump.
5. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT | Practice going off small jumps until you are very comfortable with catching air and determining how much speed you need to clear each jump. Gradually build up to bigger and bigger jumps. You will see in the video below that I do not have quite enough speed on the first jump, but with more practice and more speed I land the second jump perfectly.
6. RIDE WITH ADVANCED BOARDERS | In most aspects of life it helps to hang out with people that are better or more successful than you so you get inspired to rise to their level. Snowboarding and skiing are no different. Ride with friends who snowboard or ski better than you. Ride along side of them as they hit jumps so you can watch how they gauge their speed. Watching them will give you the extra courage and encouragement you need.
7. PRETEND YOU’RE NOT SCARED | Everyone is scared when they first start jumping. And I am honestly still a little scared every time I approach a large jump but the key is to act like you’re not and just go for it!
8. REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN | Snowboarding and skiing are about having fun so don’t forget that is what this is all about. If you’re not having fun trying to jump just go free ride! If you’re not having fun free riding get off the mountain and go do something else. Life is too short to take yourself too seriously or keep doing something you don’t love.
9. WATCH VIDEOS | Watch ski and snowboard videos. They will help you visualize yourself going off and landing jumps. I spent my birthday at Squaw Valley Resort, in beautiful Lake Tahoe, this week, and filmed this little video for you…