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Freestyle Skiboarding Tutorial - Beginners

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  • Freestyle Skiboarding Tutorial - Beginners

    This is the first post in a series that is going to be about the fundamentals of park riding. If you have been itching to get into the park, read this, then give it a shot!

    Audience: This tutorial is designed for those who have never ventured into a terrain park and are looking to get their first taste of freestyle skiboarding. This is good advice for people of any age, no matter how old, looking to try riding park on skiboards.

    Goals: The goals of someone venturing into the park for the first time should be the following:

    1. Learn to properly hit small (approx. 5-15' take-off to landing) table top style jumps.
    2. Learn to slide boxes sideways properly and with confidence.

    Prerequisites: Before venturing into the terrain park, there are certain things that you should master on regular slopes first. You may have the temptation just to "give park a shot" before mastering these, but please do not. This is for not only your own safety, but also for the safety and respect of others. If you have the below mastered, then you will have no trouble taking your first steps into the park. You should be completely confident that you can:

    1. Ride forwards down groomed trails of any difficulty at any speed.
    2. Ride in control and able to stop if necessary at all times.
    3. Comfortably hit small jumps such as side-hits or drop-offs on regular trails, getting about 1-2' off the ground and landing in control.
    4. Switch between riding backwards and forwards at the "cruising speed" of a beginner trail (green circle).
    5. Pop a 180 from forwards to backwards, on flat ground and off of very small jumps or drops, landing in control.
    6. Have the mental focus to commit 100% to trying something new (and fun!)

    Note: You do not need other advanced skills such as riding moguls, fakie carving, riding trees and powder, etc. If you can do the above, you can take on the parks!

    Hitting Jumps

    Find a Proper Jump - The hardest part about learning jumps for many people will be finding a proper jump to start on. Many resorts now have Beginner Skills Parks, and this will probably be the best place to look. Ideally, you are looking for a jump that is approximately 5-10' from takeoff to landing. It is essential that the jump has a takeoff, a flat section, then a downhill landing. If it is not built like this, you will not be able to develop your skills correctly. A slighly larger jump with a correct build is much safer than an incorrectly built small jump.

    Go For It! - Basic airs on skiboards are easy, but you have to be precise. Hit little jumps on the sides of the trails and stuff to make sure that you are comfortable adjusting to terrain before trying park jumps. When you hit park jumps, there is a take off and a landing, and you should only hit jumps where you can safely make it to the downhill landing. Landing on the flat part before the landing is dangerous, and it can result in injury.

    Once you are ready to take it to the park jumps, find the smallest real jump you can. Watch the speed that other riders approach it with before hitting it. Having the correct speed is crucial in jumps. Approach the jump straight with confidence and the same speed as other riders did that cleared the jump. Keep your body loose, knees bent a little, and your weight over the front of your boots. As you get to the top of the jump, give a little jump forward to pitch your body to adjust for the landing. When in the air, try to keep your body tight. It is often easier to keep yourself together by doing a little safety grab. As you come to the landing, extend your legs to absorb the shock. Make sure you can do this comfortably before trying real tricks. Being comfortable on the jump and able to hit the landing every time is crucial for learning tricks.

    Progression - Once you can clear the jump safely, the next place to start is with grabs. Just learn straight airs with different types of grabs. Safety, mute, stale, luikang, flyfish... getting all of these grabs down solid will get your body use to recovering from different positions, and they'll give all your other tricks some style. Start slowly hitting bigger jumps as you become comfortable, and try different grabs every time.

    Sliding Boxes

    Find a Proper Box - For your first box, you are looking for the widest, lowest to the ground box you can find. Ideally, it will be built in a style known as "ride on", where you can literally just ride straight onto the box without needing to jump. It is ok if the box has a slight drop at the end, as you should be comfortable with small drops before trying a box.

    Slide It Forward - This may seem simple, but it is a big confidence boost once you can do this. For this first step, you will literally ride straight at the box, slide across it forward, then ride away. Before attempting this, understand the following:

    Plastic topped boxes found in terrain parks slide extremely easily. The physics at play are like being on a frictionless surface, somewhat similar to being on ice. Any momentum you carry into the box will continue while you are on it. Because they are "frictionless", you CANNOT turn in any way once on the box. Trying to turn in any way while on a box will cause you to fall, so please don't try to turn! Once you are on the box, you are essentially just there for the ride until you reach the end or slide off the side.

    As long as that is understood, you are now ready to slide your first box! Watch where other riders approach the box from to judge your speed. You want to start at a point where you can aim straight at the box without having to make any turns to check your speed before hand. Match the speed of everyone else, and don't worry about it being too fast. The same physics apply to them as will to you, so you will be fine.

    Once you are ready, commit 100% mentally, aim completely staight at the box, and go. From this point on, DO NOT under any circumstances make any turns until you are off of the box. Assuming you aimed straight at it and didn't turn, you will be on and off of the box before you even know it. Once on the box, reamin centered and balanced, just like normal riding and do not turn or edge your boards.

    If you find yourself sliding off the side of the box this is ok, but DO NOT try to fight it. If you fight it, you will fall. Just remain centered and balanced, and let yourself slide off of the side naturally. This just means that you either went too slow, or you did not approach it completely straight on.

    Now that you have slid your first box, do it again and again until you are ready to try doing it properly - sideways.

    Slide It Sideways - As in the prerequisites, it is essential that you can ride backwards and do 180s before attempting to slide a box sideways. If done correctly, you will land backwards, so this should not be an issue for you before attempting.

    Sliding a box is super easy, once you know how. The biggest thing is that you have to put full 100% trust in physics. However you approach the box is exactly how you are going to slide. Use a box that you are confident in sliding forward. Approach it with moderate speed, and aim straight at it, just like sliding forward. When you get to the lip, jump (don't turn!) exactly 90 degrees, and land flat on the box with both feet, equally balanced. DO NOT carve coming up to it, and DO NOT lean like you are stopping. If you do either of these, you will fall! Being on a box is like being on an extreme sheet of ice. Your edges have virtually no control, and you are going to continue with whatever momentum you had approaching the box.

    Assuming you did the above, as you continue across the box, your body will slowly continue to spin. This is normal, and physics will force you to come out of the box backwards. This is why learning 180s is essential. If you try to land forwards, you will be fighting physics, increasing your chances of falling. Once you come off the end, let your body land backwards and ride away!

    As before, if you drift off the side, this is ok. Try approaching the box straighter or with a little bit more speed.

    If you fall onto the box, you are leaning too much uphill and aren't completely balanced. Practice jumping 90 degrees on flat ground to get confident. Some people say to put your weight forward, but really you just need to be centered with your bases flat.

    Progression - After learning to slide a simple box sideways, try it on different boxes and eventually rails. The mechanics are exactly the same on bigger boxes and rails, so just work progressively and build up your confidence doing basic grinds across everything you see!

  • #2
    This is my new bible
    If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.

    Independent Beachbody Coach

    SBOLTeam III Rider

    '11 Revolt "Trees"
    '07 BWP's
    2011 Spruce Pro Lite's
    Head Edge+ 8.5 One Boots


    • #3
      This is a great idea K. Kinda offset Jjue a bit
      Crossbow (go to dream board)
      Most everything else over time.
      Go Android


      • #4
        Awesome thread idea! Just what I was looking for!

        This just got me pumped again for next season

        Thanks Kirk!


        • #5
          great thread

          this videos helped me a lot at the beginning. The basics of freestyle skiing are the same


          • #6
            Simply awesome!


            • #7
              I can't believe I haven't marked this as a favorite yet. Great stuff. Just getting into playing with the new KTPs. Thanks Kirk!