Jumping a snowboard (or skis) is something that EVERY snow user aspires to, yet very few can do it well. Or rather, it may look good when done well, but if not done well, then you look an idiot and everyone laughs at you. Or worse still you end up in the fracture clinic with a big bill!
In order to succeed, then there are three golden rules when learning: 1. Try to pick a jump (which is a jump) and not a “skier-created” whoop off the side of a piste with no landing. 2. Start small and KNOW YOUR LIMITS 3. The catalyst to a good jump is ALWAYS in the take-off.
Find a Jump First, find a jump or build a jump with a powdery landing. A good place to start is at the snow park, there are always small jumps with proper landings. Don’t start on an icy morning, instead wait until the snow has softened.
Run up Approach the Jump at good (moderate) speed. Enough to make it up the transition and into the landing area. Moderate speed is your friend. Too slow and you hang up on the flat bit, (the table top). Too fast and you get the wobbles or over shoot the landing which makes it hard on impact. Tip: Don’t just go into a jump all pumped and full of agro! Stand back (wait your turn) and watch others for tips on where to start the run up from, and how much speed you need. Look at who runs up form where and who succeeds, and who fails. Follow those that succeed!
Body position Keep your weight absolutely central over the board with knees bent and ride up to the jump with slight pressure on your toe edge. Remember, the catalyst is in the take-off. If your weight is not central you will inevitably keel over mid-flight, or nose dive or gawd knows what else! In the air When you are in the air, focus on keeping your body nice and straight, still keens bent, and aim to float over the jump, letting the jump do the work. Just focus on body weight distribution (keeping it central) and the jump will take you nicely onto the landing area. Remember: Keep your knees bent in the air, and always spot the landing, because you will go where your head (and your eyes) are looking.
The landing If you have followed the above and have started with the right speed, and your body is centrally positioned over the board, knees bent and your are spotting the landing – then the landing will happen naturally and without heavy impact. You aim is to land on a down slope, this washes away the speed. Flat landings can hurt – so try to avoid these! Keep your knees bent and absorb the impact as best you can.
Advanced: To get any height or set up for a trick then all of the above is relevant, yet you will want to pop an Ollie right at the last minute (as you leave the lip). Ollie’s can be practised in your living room. Ollie’s gain the rider useful height and set up the body for certain tricks. Other tips are to use your legs to extend up the transition to gain more speed and height.