Everyone gets to the hill feeling energized and ready to go. Why not take all that energy and put it into learning something new? Riding down a hill? Meh. Styling down a hill? Now were talking. Try these 3 super simple tricks and start your style journey off right. Master these and you'll be moving onto the intermediate tricks in no time flat!
A pop is one of the easiest tricks you can do as a skier. The reason why? Put simply, a pop is a jump. It is as simple as bending your legs and jumping at the correct time. This may seem easy but when you're on skis your speed is faster so it can be more difficult to time. If you jump too early or too late you won't get the desired height. If you don't jump at all then the hill is controlling your jump instead of you. By jumping you take control of the takeoff.
Seeing as you're here you're probably a beginner so another thing to keep in mind is balance. If you are leaned too far forward or backward before takeoff, you might take trip or slip and take a tumble. If you're leaning to far forward or backwards off the jump you may end up doing a weird half backflip or front flip that may result in a headache and a bum shoulder.
Put simply. Work on staying balanced. Work on the timing. You'll be getting some crazy air soon enough. Start on a small jump and gradually increase your way to larger jumps.
Don't forget when landing, stay balanced and bend your knees. Bent legs bend, straight legs break.
2) Safety Grab
Now that you learned the pop and can get some good air off a jump, we can learn the next trick, the safety grab. To start you have to do a pop off a jump and get nice and high in the air. Once you're up, you just need to grab the side of your ski. Left side or right side, it's up to you. I find it easier to use whatever hand is your dominant hand.
Most people will try to reach down and grab their ski but that is incorrect. This can cause you to overextend your top half which can throw off your balance. This makes the landing... unpleasant. To avoid this focus on tucking your knees as close as you can to your chest. This reduces how much reaching you have to do and ensures full control from beginning to end.
3) 50 / 50
Last but not least, the 50 / 50. This is an interesting trick because it ranges from easy to hard difficulty. It all depends on what feature you're using for your 50 / 50. To start with we should be doing a 50/50 on a box. This makes learning on it easy due to its width. For a 50/50 you need to approach the box and when you get to the front of it, turn 90 degrees and ride the box in a perpendicular fashion. In order to get across the box, you need to have some speed. Too slow and you might stop on the box. Too fast and you may not have the time to turn perpendicular with the box and just shoot off parallel with it. Keep your legs about shoulder width apart when sliding. Put weight on your downhill ski and use your uphill ski to help you maintain balance. When nearing the end of the box bend your legs and jump. Rotate 90 degrees so you're facing downhill again and nail that landing.
If you would like to step things up a notch, try another more difficult feature like a rail. Remember the width of the feature is what changes the difficulty. If it is a wide feature, it will be easier. If its narrow, it'll be more difficult. Use this to gauge what feature you should try out next.
If you're a little nervous with the box to start, try going off it in a parallel fashion to start. This will help you practice your landings as well as make you more comfortable with the feature. Keep in mind, if you're a beginner you will probably fall a lot trying these. Thats okay! Just keep getting back up and having fun!
Bam! Now you know 3 beginner tricks. Go try them out on the hill and watch all the instructors swoon at your newly acquired skills. You're a snow god, a downhill demon, a powder prince, now go style like it!