UncategorizedFreestyle for Beginners

Freestyle for Beginners

How cool do those freestyle dudes look in the park? Do you ever wonder if you could land one of their tricks or get anywhere near to their level? Well, the answer is YES!

When people think of freestyle, the first names that spring to mind are usually the likes of Shaun White or Candide Thovex and rightly so, they are basically the pioneers of the freestyle world and have changed the game completely.

Don’t be fooled though. They didn’t pop out of their mother’s womb, land in a pair of ski’s and throw a double back flip into their cot. They have worked tirelessly to get to the level they are at today and with their fair share of stacks. I’m sure you may have heard of Candide’s infamous fall, if not take a look and see how it changed his world!

I know, I know, enough of the chit chat, you’re itching to learn a new trick so that you can show off in front of your friends! But first… yes there is a but. Before we go on, learning freestyle requires a lot of patience. Mark my words you will not just land a DJ Flip your first go – if you do, please make sure your buddy films it as no one will believe you!

SAFETY

A lot of people just go full speed into the park and hit the first thing they see without any consideration of others. Even writing that line made my blood boil!!

It’s awesome being able to land a trick and look steezy as hell, but it’s also cool to be respectful and bare in mind that there are more than likely other people in the park wanting to hit the same features you are.

We would always suggest having a warm-up run before anything else. This gives you the opportunity to scope out which features you aim to be hitting and their landing. It avoids any little surprises!

DO NOT push yourself too hard. Everyone thinks that if you don’t send it then what is the point. But for newbies, please don’t have the mindset of “right, I don’t need to practice on the small kickers, where’s the big one” – you will probably stack it and go home in a cast. Just take a look at all of the jerry videos circling online!

Finally, as you’ve already guessed, let people know when you are starting your run! All it takes is a raise of the hand, simple. Otherwise, you will end up colliding with someone, getting your ski’s crossed and then hitting the box at the same time. Yes, I have witnessed this first hand and no, it doesn’t end well.

ONTO THE FEATURES!

It’s worth knowing the different type of features before entering the park. You may also wish to print off a piste map so you don’t waste your first morning just trying to find the park itself!

Rollers

You can probably guess what a roller is and no girls, it is not what you use to curl your hair. It is an undulation in the snow, also described as looking like waves in the snow.

Rollers tend to be dotted around the mountain but are also located next to a kicker. They are ideal for beginners looking to progress onto kickers themselves. If you time your jump right, you will get enough air to perform a trick.

Kickers

Everyone knows what a kicker is. It’s that big mound of snow where people with no brains throw themselves off.

Luckily, for you novices out there, they range in size and difficulty. At the majority of snow parks they should be signposted on their difficulty level, so be sure to keep your eye out before going full steam ahead! It’s also worth noting that the landing zone is lower than the take-off.

One word of advice, do not over cook it. I would recommend having a watch of other athletes, or failing that having a practice run past the kicker, just so that you can gain a better understanding of how much speed you will need.

Boxes

A box is a circular shaped object. What, no I’m kidding, obviously it is box shaped.

You can either slide or jump over this feature and they can vary in shape with my favourite being rainbow boxes. It is worth noting that all parks have different features out, so do not look forward to hitting a certain one as you may end up disappointed.

Table Tops

Now imagine a kicker, but the ramp leads you to the top of a table which you can jump over to reach the landing zone. You don’t have to treat a table top as a kicker however, you can choose to slide the top like a box. Just play a round and see what new and bizarre tricks you can land!

Pipes and Gassers

Pipes and gassers are… pipes and gassers.

They are usually straight and gassers are particularly girthy. Fingers crossed the person shaping the park has a bit of imagination and can link multiple pipes together, usually as a drop down. Although this makes it more challenging, the buzz you get when making it to the end is awesome!

Rails

Just the word rail can put someone off from entering the snow park, but don’t be afraid. Once you have mastered sliding 90 degrees on a box or pipe, I have every belief that you will be capable of hitting a rail on your next holiday!

Rails do vary in shape quite a lot, from your everyday straight flat, s-shaped and rainbows to kinked. You will either grow to love or hate a kink, but do not let it become the better of you. They also vary in their construction, from a single barrel, flat bar to a double or tripled barrel.

Half Pipe

Even if you have no interest in the snowsports world, you will know what a half pipe is. They allow the athlete to maintain momentum whilst performing a series of tricks.

Super Pipe

They are just a bigger, sendier half pipe, what else can I say?

Quarter Pipe

If you are new to the piping world we would suggest starting with a quarter pipe. It is a mix between a kicker and a half pipe. In other words, the walls are shorter and do not curve all the way up to make them vertical to the slope like a half pipe.

Walls

Why would I want to ski into a wall? I don’t know, but sounds like it would hurt!

A wall is similar to a half pipe, but the lip (top part of the ramp) is constructed from materials like wood, metal or plastic. This enables you to stall, slide on the material, or throw a steezy hand plant. Whatever floats your boat.

TRICKS FOR YOU

So, what trick should you try first we hear you ask. Personally, we would recommend starting on the rollers and boxes, but read on below for a few tricks and riding styles.

Switch

Especially for skiers, riding switch or backwards is one way of standing out. It doesn’t just look cool, it also enables you to approach features in switch and widen your range of tricks!

Straight Air

Get used to flying! 

Once you are used to hitting the kickers you can throw in a couple of grabs here and there, maybe even try a…

180

A 180, what and land backwards?!

I promise you, it is NOT as hard as you may think. You should have by now already nailed riding in switch!

Practice on a flat bit of snow whilst standing still. All you have to do is rotate your body so you are facing the other way. Too make the movement easier, you should look behind you, or the way you will end up facing, and your body and feet will follow.

Once you have got used to the jumping motion, don’t be frightened to try it on a roller or kicker!

360

Doesn’t matter where you throw a 360, on a kicker, a side hit or in the pow, they always look rad and turn heads!

It’s the same technique as a 180 but you want to “throw it” a bit more, so spin faster. You also want to be moving so we would recommend trying one on a roller or gentle kicker to start.

To help you spin faster and jump higher, you want to crouch slightly before springing up and spinning. Look up and over your shoulder throughout the spin until you set your eyes on the landing. One word of advice, do not lean back or forwards, try and keep your body central over your ski’s throughout the jump.

Shifty

One of the most common tricks in the freestyle dictionary.

For skiers and boarders the principle is the same. You must hit the jump as if you are going for a straight air. Once in the air, you want to rotate your ski’s or board so they are pointing across your body. To control the trick, you want to bend your knees and bring them up slightly, as if you are going to grab your ski’s or board, this is known as “tucking”.

After a bit of practice, you will be able to throw this trick every time you get a bit of air.

Safety Grab (SKIERS)

Everyone loves a grab – they are what style out any spin or flip.

One of the easiest to learn is a safety grab. For skiers, you want to tuck your knees up and grab the outside of the left ski, just past the front of your boot, and that’s that – you’ve performed a safety.

Indy Grab (BOARDERS)

If you can snowboard, you are probably already aware of what an indy grab is. For those that do not, when hitting the jump for a straight air, you want to let your back hand fall between your knees and grab the board between your feet.

Like all grabs, you may only briefly touch the board your first couple of goes but don’t give up – you will soon be securing that grab!

If you can nail an indy grab, why not also try adding the following to your list of tricks:

  • Mute grab 
  • Melon grab
  • Stalefish

Box Slide

To start you want to ride at the box straight and simply slide to the end.

Once you have got a feel for the box and how slippy they feel, you can try all sorts of tricks; 360 spin, 90 degree slide, 180 on, back slide for you skiers? The list is endless, there is so much fun you can have on a box!

I hope this blog was helpful and I would love to hear about your ventures through the snow park and what tricks you have managed to land.

Make sure you tag @helvetiiclothing on your Instagram post or send us a picture via direct message to be featured on our page!

Stay shredding and ski ya later! 

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