A few tips for intermediate snowboarders on how to do a simple straight jump.
The difference between a beginner and intermediate level jump rider is the size and angle of the jumps they are comfortable with and how many grab tricks that they are able to perform.
The bigger the jump, the more time you will spend in the air. While in the air, balance control becomes more complicated as you start to do different tricks.
Here, we are not going to focus on learning tricks. Instead, I am going to introduce ideas on how to strengthen fundamental performance and control.
First, let's look at a few examples of some common mistakes.
As the jump gets bigger, speed also increases. In proportion to this, landing risk also increases.
If speed is reduced, takeoff and maintaining control in the air becomes easier, but there is a possibility of not being able to reach the landing and thus having a potentially dangerous crash.
If speed is increased, takeoff and control in the air become more difficult, but there is no need to worry about not being able to reach the landing.
However, there is also the risk of overshooting...
Before you hit the jump yourself, you should watch someone else to get an understanding of the proper speed.
The shape of the jump can also make balance more difficult. The steepness or angle of the jump will force you to adjust your body angle from riding downhill to riding uphill across the takeoff of the jump.
In the transition from downhill into the uphill take off, the rider will feel G force or force of gravity increase heavily.
The rider will have to work against the pressures of the jump in order to maintain balance.
Keep in mind that when you have bad balance in your approach, takeoff and air control balance increase in difficulty.
I often see people using the ledge to jump off at takeoff, but this throws the body off its axis and makes balance difficult.
While it's good to intentionally practice balance, if possible, it's best to stay flat to the slope when jumping.
You have a strong base of support up until takeoff which will help to stabilize your balance, but at the same time your body will be required to adjust its angle to the angle of the jump that makes keeping your balance that much more difficult.
Even if your board is flat to the slope, a bent and twisted posture creates bad balance and makes for a difficult takeoff.
At the intermediate level, there are people who can't do a pop. If you're going to do a trick in the air, you should be able to pro-actively initiate separation from the surface of the snow yourself.
Please note that continuing to snowboard without being able to do a pop will bring your progression as a snowboarder to a halt.
3. In The Air
This is actually the main point of this section in this tutorial.
Speaking of straight jumps, I often see intermediate level snowboarders lose their balance. Because of this, most of these snowboarders have fewer grab tricks. To start, a well balanced approach and take off are good prerequisites, but how can you control yourself in the air? Let's think about it for a second...
People who fail lose their balance immediately at takeoff.
The main reason for this is found in their mentality. “I want to be able to do grab tricks right now! I want to show off some style!”
Extended arms, body twists, and extended legs...
In the air with no footing, this kind of posture easily changes your balance.
A steep Jump will feel much different on takeoff and in the air. The trajectory will send the rider higher into the air and then into a steeper decent that feels more like falling.
The pressures of riding up a steep takeoff can also make the rider lose footing as soon as their snowboard leaves the lip.
This in turn will force you to re-adjust to maintain your balance.
After leaving the lip the rider must pull their feet up in order to attain a stable body position but doing this can throw off your balance
So, you can see why more balance is lost when putting style into this kind of situation before one is ready…
Since advanced snowboarders maintain balance from takeoff, they still keep good balance just after jumping off the lip. Throwing in a grab at the beginning makes no difference. They still do not lose balance.
This is another reason why advanced snowboarders can throw in a pop at takeoff.
At the intermediate level, approach and takeoff balance are still unstable. Even in the air, you need time to adjust your balance.
You guessed it, intermediate snowboarders should allow for time to adjust their balance in the air!
So, where should you adjust?
From takeoff to the peak of your jump.
From takeoff to landing, the trajectory of a straight jump is an arch and the highest point in that arch is the peak.
All the way to the peak, you focus on adjusting your balance and at the peak of your jump is when you grab your board. From the peak to landing, expand your legs, twist your body, and show off some style!
So, don't forget to always focus on approach and takeoff balance. If your balance is good, you can throw in a pop at takeoff and in the air, you won't need to make adjustments.