Now that you have learned to ride confidently and conquered the trails, you have decided you are ready to set your sights on the terrain park. You may have seen people throwing down big tricks as you’ve admired from up on the lift and now want to give it a try for yourself.
Every great park rider has started from the beginning asking the same questions about where and how to start. The best way to start hitting the park is to start off with a strong foundation of tricks to build confidence and comfort to prepare you for more advanced tricks. These moves may seem basic and remedial at first, however they are the bases of all tricks in the park and must be mastered to progress to more difficult maneuvers.
Top 5 Beginner Tricks to Learn For the Terrain Park
An Ollie is a controlled jump into the air to provide more height for the feature you are trying to hit. This will allow you to get over and on top of features with no issues. At first you will not need this to get onto beginner jibs but as you advance it will be necessary. You will use this when attempting almost any variation of a trick. Its a simple trick but is very important to having success on boxes, rails, and jumps.
To ride switch can mean different things to snowboarders and skiers. For snowboarders it simply means riding with your non-lead foot first down the hill. For skiers however it means going down the hill backwards. While they are both different they are still important to learn to add more tricks into your arsenal.
Learning to ride switch will give you more options and add more style to your tricks when you are ready. Hitting a feature switch is a lot easier and less scary if you have mastered it before attempting it in the park. That may go without saying but learning to do it before you get to into the park will greatly increase your confidence and lower your learning curve.
It will also allow you to land switch tricks off jumps and rails much easier, such as a 180 or 540 off a jump and a 270 off a rail. These will require you to land switch so the more comfortable you are the quicker you will be able to perfect them.
Sliding Boxes 50/50
Going 50/50 means just going straight onto a feature. This essentially means riding on a box or rail straight and coming off straight. Learning this trick will get you used to the feeling of being on a feature. It will let you gain your balance and feel the resistance of sliding rather than riding on snow
Boxes are a great beginner feature and will typically be wider and flatter than others. You can start with large ones that give you a big margin of error and work your way down to the more narrow ones. They will provide a nice platform to learn on and get used to the feel.
Hitting Small Jumps
Before you attempt any trick you want to make sure you can hit a jump without feeling scared and without flailing around. You also want to make sure you can hit a jump with the correct speed to land in the “sweet spot”. The sweet spot is just after the knuckle and will be the easiest and most comfortable area to land. Hitting this area consistently will be key for riding away clean.
The only way to get a good feeling is by repetition and more repetition. The more and more you go off jumps the better idea you will have of the speed you need to clear the knuckle and reach that sweet spot. With this will also come the feeling of comfort in the air. Establishing a comfort going off jumps is essential for you to learn in the terrain park.
Learning to perform grabs can also give somewhere to hold to help increase your sense of comfort and stability in the air. Grabs will be used to add flair and style to most of your jump tricks and spins when you become ready.
Basic Spin Off a Jump
Once you feel comfortable going off jumps and are landing successfully the next step is to attempt a spin. The first spin you can attempt off a jump would be a 180. This is a great starting point to grow from. Once you conquer and stomp a 180 you will feel comfortable spinning in the air. With that will come the ability to progress to tougher tricks such as 360s and 540s.
Some people suggest learning a 360 when first trying spinning tricks. They use the argument of not having to land switch and being less scary. However, if you use my advice from above you will already feel comfortable landing switch and can attempt a 180 with little to no fear.
I feel a 180 is a better starting point because of multiple reasons. One being that you don’t have to spin as much to land safely. With it being the first time off a jump spinning, I think this is a big benefit. Another perk is it is just easier to complete plain and simple. Spinning on skis can be difficult and I feel doing a more basic trick first will be more beneficial.
Stomping these tricks will give you a great starting place and a solid foundation for the terrain park. Once you feel comfortable with these you can move up to harder and more advanced tricks.
As always when attempting anything in the terrain park make sure you are staying within your abilities and progressing with your skills. Making sure you don’t attempt something before you are ready will decrease your chances of hurting yourself. Attempting tricks with confidence and control will greatly increase your ability to improve and move on to bigger and more difficult tricks.
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