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How to Take a Jump on a Snowboard

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How to Take a Jump on a Snowboard
snowboarder jumping

Me catching some air on opening day.

© Matt Gibson
One of the things that most people love about snowboarding is catching air. The feeling of flying through the air and landing comfortably and solidly on your feet is like nothing else you'll experience. Taking jumps is also dangerous for obvious reasons. You have to go fairly fast to catch air and you run the risk of falling and hurting yourself; the bigger the jump, the bigger the risk.
You should not attempt to take jumps until you are comfortable with the basics of snowboarding such as turning and stopping. It's also advisable to learn how to ollie well before taking jumps, because ollieing is the best way to control your take off when taking jumps.

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Time Required: Less than an hour to learn, the rest of your life to master.

Here's How:
  1. Inspect the jump before you hit it. Try out the runway to see if there are any bumps or surprises that may throw you off balance. Look at the landing to make sure there are no hidden obstacles. When it comes time to take the jump, if you can't see the landing, make sure somebody checks to make sure nobody is standing on it.

  2. As you approach the jump the keep your weight centred so that you have maximum balance in the air. Keep your knees bent to help maintain your balance. Make sure your snowboard is riding on one edge (not flat on the snow). Keeping your board on edge doesn't mean turning. It simply means making sure that it's not completely flat on the snow. Riding flat is the most common way to catch an edge, which throws you to the ground. Catching an edge while taking a jump is a recipe for disaster.

  3. Keep your knees bent moderately enter the transition of the jump. How much will depend on the feel of the jump and how high you want to go. If you want to absorb some of the jump with your legs and get less air, you'll want your legs a bit straighter as you approach and will bend them as you go through the transition. If you want to get more air, you'll want to squat down low so you can jump as you reach the lip.

  4. Depending on how you feel, you may want to ollie off the lip of the jump to give yourself a bit of control over your trajectory through the air. This is a decision made on personal comfort and preference usually made in the moments leading up to take off.

  5. While in the air spot your landing and try to stay level with your knees bent.

  6. Absorb the shock of landing as much as possible with your knees while staying centred on the board.

  7. Cruise away nonchalantly resisting the urge to bow for onlookers.

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