A front side three is one of the best-feeling tricks you can ever do on a snowboard. Stomping it off a cliff makes this already smooth-looking trick look even smoother. This is a true classic that you’ll see the likes of Gigi, Nico Muller and Devun Walsh return to time and time again.
1) With this trick you’re approaching the cliff forward, but you still want to be crouched, as with the half-cab.
2) Remember to keep your weight evenly distributed on your front and back feet. It’s often tempting to lean back in powder, but beware of having too much weight on your back foot as this can throw your spin off.
3) You want to be slightly on your heel edge as you approach the lip, but don’t carve too much of a turn - you’ll need to keep your speed up to clear the cliff face, and anyway, 360 isn’t very far to spin.
In the air
4) As you leave the lip, pop hard and open your body up in the direction of the spin. As with the half-cab, the step-down nature of cliffs will mean that you probably need more pop than on a conventional kicker.
5) Look over your leading shoulder to get your body and your board spinning frontside.
6) Bring your knees up into your body as soon as you can, to avoid that over extension that’s so common on step-downs. Getting your grab in good and early, like Gigi here, helps. If you’re feeling comfortable enough bone out your nose at about 95 degrees for that classic frontside three steeze.
7) Keep the spin coming round by looking over your leading shoulder, but start to straighten up your shoulders as you go past the first 180 – it’s very easy to over-rotate a 360.
8) Spinning a 360 frontside means you’ll be landing ‘blind’ but this is much less difficult than you might think.
9) Keep bringing your board around, and get your shoulders lined up with it for the landing. You want to land with your board pointing straight down the hill. Powder is a lot less forgiving of sketchy sideways landings than park kickers.
10) Land with your weight slightly over your back leg to avoid nosing under and rag-rolling.
Because the lips of cliff drops are soft and powdery, spinning off them can be trickier than off park kickers, which have solid lips to take-off from. One way around this is to pat-down a bit of snow on top of the drop to provide a firmer take-off. If you’re shooting the cliff from below, your photos probably won’t show that the cliff has been ‘pre-prepared’ like this, so it will still look natural. If you want to keep it totally natural, or you’re hitting the cliff on the fly, you can compensate for the softer take-off by opening your body slightly more than you would usually as you approach, and popping harder. Be careful not to huck your spin round though – front threes are all about spinning smoothly.