Words by Henry Jackson
Do you remember back in the day... when the trick bag seemed to grow and grow?
I hope this isn't going to sound too much like an old man rant, but as a growing majority of us snowboarders have long since waved goodbye to puberty and now suffer from aching knees (and more!) I thought I’d open up a discussion around the 'one-in-one-out' policy that has recently become the bane of my ever-shrinking trick bag.
Do you remember back in the day? Those glorious, sunny, slushy park days? Up at first lift - slightly foggy from the night before but raring to go - few speed laps round the mountain to shake it off, then into the park. Hours spent feeding off your mates' energy - trying time and time again before finally landing that new trick, tweak or variation you'd been planning...
The next day - even with the weight of a few celebratory beers - you’d head back up the mountain, warm up and then pull out that newly learnt gem of a stunt almost to perfection... before riding away to start on the next one. Single tricks became pieces of your very own slopestyle run that you could pull out at will - staple parts of the “trick bag" that seemed to grow and grow.
Nowadays it seems like they're all abandoning ship together. Yes, age and less time in the park is to blame for this, but when I close my eyes and visualise, the rotation feels the same, the pop off the lip is there, everything feels good. Yet for whatever reason, in real life I end up flailing off the end of the jump like an electrocuted goat, or tacoing myself well and truly over the box (yes, box - rails are too scary these days!)
Anyhow - having mulled over this situation for a little while, I decided to put the question to a few of the world's top pros to see if they too suffer from the same affliction. Is it genetics, age or brains that keep them busting out their favourite tricks wherever and whenever they please?
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Andy Nudds - Yorkshire power house and probably the most stylish rider on the planet
"I wouldn't say I lose one trick if I learn another, but definitely lose a whole bunch of tricks if I concentrate on something specific for a while. Then I have to go back and re-learn the tricks I haven't been doing. Some stuff sticks and others I have to keep doing all the time or I lose them."
Jamie Nicholls - Olympian, Tea lover, can't divide 49 by 7
"I never forget an old trick once I learn a new one. I think once you learn it it's up there, stored in the brain box. I'm sure if you overthink it then it's possible, just best not to worry about it really and get on with what you're doing. Your body has already learnt it so there's no reason why it would lose it unless you stop snowboarding completely for a while."
Ethan Morgan - German/US hybrid, one of the most impressive riders to watch live, shouldn't be allowed to drink too much though (pot calling the kettle...?)
" I always forget old tricks. If I don't try a trick for a while then I forget how they go, it's super weird... But I feel like if you really get back into it then things can easily work themselves out. I don't think it's necessarily the one-in-one out system, I just feel like the more you practice, the easier it is to hold on to your tricks - you just have to repeat them as much as you can! Still, yeah, whatever happens - every fall I always have to relearn a few of mine."
"Tricks are not always things you remember how to do with technique, but often things you learn by how they feel. So it practically never happens that you really forget how to do a trick. Also, if you keep doing all your tricks, all the time, you keep remembering the feeling of those tricks, so you don't forget them in the first place."
Well, so there you have it. Apart from Ethan it seems that these guys are pre-ordained to be able to remember almost their whole trick-book. I guess it's a question of insane natural talent plus the dedication to drill everything they learn directly into their muscle memory. What a bunch of wankers...