Freestyle Snowboarding - You only need to learn 4 tricks

When you first get into freestyle snowboarding you can be overwhelmed by the vast array of tricks to learn. The pros are working on triples and quads and world of freestyle snowboarding can feel like the Everest of extreme sports. Yet when you drill down to the essence of snowboarding and you’ve heard what other riders and pros talk about in terms of the tricks they love to do and what tricks always look timeless then there are only four worth working on.

For the photos — The Method

A method in Landgraaf, Holland

A method in Landgraaf, Holland

If you have a Method, your photo album will be brimming with style and you’ll feel like a pro. Every pro has their own version on lock and in every powder run you will see this move being thrown down. For normal riders it can feel great and separates you from the pack. 

The key is you’ll need to twist the board around. Just lifting your legs up behind you and tapping the board with your hand is not going to cut it. I refer to that as the ‘Tourist Method’. I see it all too often. Your aim is the get the board flat and facing down the slope as much as you can.

For the feeling — Backside 180

Floating a backside 180 in Les Deux Alpes, France

Floating a backside 180 in Les Deux Alpes, France

When you get a solid backside 180 it just floats and feels effortless. On a big jump time almost stands still and you do next to nothing to achieve the rotation. For a UK rider they can also feel great even on small jumps. Well worth spending some time to get them floaty with some extra tweaks or grabs to stamp your own personality on it. It will also move you out of the frontside 180 crew and into the big leagues. Pro’s often talk about this being one of their favourite tricks. Work on your switch riding and try to avoid the classic separation in the air that kills the rotation. You’ll find some extra tips on backside 180’s here

For the riders — Frontside Boardslide 

The rare occasion I dial this one — Les Deux Alpes

The rare occasion I dial this one — Les Deux Alpes

For some this trick comes naturally, but for many this is one of the toughest rail tricks to get on lock. Whereas a backside board or noseslide your posture and level of tweak can make it look a bit wack I find almost any posture works for this trick. It just flows. So all you need to do is get the trick. 

If you can bust out one of these on a decent side hit rail, you’ll be in with the locals as they’ll know how tough this trick was to master. Your street cred will be cemented even if you have nothing else in the bank. Here are some extra tips to help dial in those Front Boards.  

For the people — Backflip

OK, hear me out on this one. As a coach you could do with something a bit showy. As a rider you’ll want something to impress your mates. In essence a backflip is not a technical move. You just grow some balls and throw yourself into it. I’ve seen guys who can hardly hit a rail, yet can throw down flips. For me, I need the landing percentage to be high if I decide to throw down a backflip. There is too much on the line for just having a go. Thats why it’s something I’m still working towards through a combination of airbag training with parkour/gymnastics. It’s not something I necessarily need in my game, but even a guy as old as me needs some goals!

If you want to work toward these without risking your neck you should check out a local gymnastics centre. I work with a coach in a parkour gym to train for backflips, so my awareness in the air is on point and my body is strong enough to handle the flip. That way I stand a better chance of surviving and landing the trick. 

So there you have it. De-clutter the mind and just focus on these four tricks, and actually you’ll end up learning loads of other cool stuff on the way. Plus if you want to learn any of these tricks with some support, why not contact me for some private coaching or join a freestyle day course at a local snow centre and I’ll start you on the road to stardom.