After you’ve mastered backside 360, the next step is to tag another 180 onto the end of the trick to turn it into a backside 540. It may seem a step too far – and yes, turning your back to the landing again when you’ve already completed a full rotation is a bit scary at first – but break it down into bite-sized chunks and it’s easier than you’d think.
1. Find a jump that you’re comfortable throwing backside 360s and backside 180s off. When you feel ready, head back to the top of the run-in and prepare yourself for your first backside 540. Mental commitment is essential – you don’t want to be less than 100% sure what trick you’re going for as you hit the kicker. We’re going to break this trick down into two parts: the bit up to the apex of the air, and the second part of the trick on the way down towards the landing. If we divide the 540 degrees into two, that’s 270 degrees on the way up, and 270 degrees on the way down. When you’re at the top of the air then, you’re aiming to have your board 270 degrees around.
2. For the first 270 degrees, head off the kicker much the same as you did with the 360s: drive your shoulder towards your back foot as you approach the lip of the jump, extend your legs to pop and spin off your toe edge. Keep turning your head and shoulders. Everything about this part of the trick is exactly the same as the 360 – all you’re doing is trying to spin that little bit faster, so put a bit more energy into your movements (i.e. pre-wind a little more and then throw yourself harder into the take-off). Imagine the jump is a little smaller than it actually is.
3. As soon as you’re airborne, bring your legs up and reach down for your grab (in this case, indy). The grab will help keep you tucked up and rotating, so hold on!
4. As you come around, you should catch a glimpse of the landing. Keep looking at it as you’re still going higher.
5. At the apex of your air, your board should be halfway through the spin. At this point, and unlike the 360, keep turning your head and shoulders – and hold onto that grab just a little longer. This is the moment of commitment that separates the back 3 from the back 5. Don’t worry though – if you’re happy throwing backside 180s off the kicker, you’ll be familiar with the feeling of landing ‘blind’ and the technique involved from here on in.
6. The second part of the air is the descent. Let go of the grab and start to open up your body, looking down at the snow between your bindings to gauge your height and angle of approach.
7. Extend your legs to meet the ground, and aim to put your nose down a fraction early, so if you’re not landing exactly straight the board will right itself. You should also set your toe edge down first; this will give you the necessary grip to kill the rotation (if you land on your heels you’re likely to wash out onto your arse).
8. As the board meets the snow, absorb any compression by bending low, then straighten up, and continue to ride out switch until you’re completely back in control.