The frontside 540 is a pretty advanced trick for most snowboarders, but broken down into composite parts it is achievable. If you’ve got frontside 360s down, and you’re happy to throw a frontside 180 off most bumps and jumps, then you’ve got the skills to land your first 540. The key points to remember are: aim to be halfway around the trick when you get to the top of your air, and keep looking around under your shoulder until you see the landing.
1. As with the backside 540, find a jump that you’re comfortable throwing frontside 360s and frontside 180s off.
2. Ride up to the kicker aiming to get as much purchase as you can from the lip. Most people feel happiest throwing a frontside 540 off their heels, but if the jump requires it – and you’re happier doing so – then get that toe edge dug in. Either way you should still be heading up the kicker in almost a straight line, NOT carving up it.
3. As mentioned earlier in the guide, all of your spin is initiated in the split second before you take off, so get that momentum by throwing your arms and popping off your back foot.
4. The aim is to get around 270 degrees on the way up to the apex of your air, and then spin the other 270 degrees on your way down to the landing. Practice this rotation without your board on, to get an idea of your body positioning. It sounds silly but getting your head around a trick before you try it is really important.
5. As you take off, bring your legs back up to your body and keep looking down at the snow under your leading arm (or back over your shoulder if you’ve taken off from your toes) – much the same as the frontside 360.
6. Reach down and grab indy – it’ll help you achieve the best body shape for this trick.
7. By the top of your air, you should have swung around to face the kicker, and you should basically be heading bum-first towards the landing.
8. As the landing comes back into view, focus on where you’re about to touch down. Unlike the backside 540, you get to see the landing from here on in, so things are a little easier.
9. If all has gone well, you’re heading back to the ground in a fairly upright position and can judge the angle at which your board is coming around. If you need more spin, pull your knees up. If you’re rotating too fast, open up your body.
10. Extend your legs, lowering your front leg a little further than the other so that the board lands nose first on the landing (remember you’re landing switch, so your nose has now become your tail). This way, if you’re a little out on getting the board to land in the exact direction you’re heading, it will right itself.
11. Absorb the compression if you need to, then ride switch down the run-off until you’re completely back in control. Note that your board might want to keep spinning on the landing. To stop this, get that heel edge dug in once you’re pointing straight downhill, then get ready to turn the board back around (or even better, throw a cab 180 off the next kicker).