Watching footage of folk going upside down has inspired many a rider to take up snowboarding - on a sheer crowd-pleasing level, nothing comes close. So once you've got the basic spins under your belt, you may be tempted to go for one of the true classics of trickdom.
Most riders who can do them will tell you that they’re actually fairly straightforward to get to grips with, and that something like a much frontside 360, while far less scary, is actually more of a challenge. If you can muster up the courage to give these a try on a powder day, you may just surprise yourself.
One snowboarder who's definitely got them dialled is Katie Ormerod. During her pre-season mission with the GB Park & Pipe team to Stubai in the Austrian Tirol, we trained our super-slow-motion camera on her as she floated a few round.
How To Backflip
The backflip is one of those timeless tricks that everyone should have in their arsenal but many are too scared to try. This trick is totally in the mind - there is not a huge amount to learn in the way of technique, it is literally a ‘throw and see’ move. The best backflip jumps have a steep take off, and ideally you want a nice steep landing too.
On the run up, stay low as always, and the most important thing here is to relax. As you approach the kicker, imagine yourself simply leaning back and throwing your arms and head back, aiming to look back and over to where the tail of your board should be.
The single most important thing to remember when learning any kind of flip is that your body will follow where your eyes are looking, so a sudden change of heart at any moment will get you into big trouble. So, at the lip of the kicker you need to really commit to it – extending your legs to pop, throwing up your arms and leaning back. Keep looking over! Don’t turn your head left or right, just keep looking that way. You’ll be much safer if you continue through the rotation, so go with it.
As you start to take off you want to square your shoulders up to the jump. This means that your flip will be straight up and over – if you look to the side or dip either of your shoulders then you will rotate slightly off axis.
The hardest part is done. You’ve committed to the flip and, just like a backside 360, you will be able to spot your landing from halfway round. This allows you the luxury of controlling the rotation speed: if you are over rotating then you can straighten your body out to slow yourself down, and if you are under rotating then you can tuck up and speed the rotation, simple as that.
Now set down the landing gear. If you’ve naturally squared your shoulders to the jump like this version, then you also need to re-align your board so it’s pointing straight downhill. Absorb the impact with your knees and keep riding straight until you’re back in control.
Phew! You’ve just stomped your first backflip, and the crowd are going wild…
It's highly recommended to try this off a powder kicker first, not the iciest jump in the park, Also, if you throw yourself too early then you will end up losing all the kick of the jump and doing a much smaller air than you had planned (which could be disastrous!) so time your spring with the end of the jump.
Finally, the more you can do to get used to the feeling of being upside down, the easier this will be. Try a few on a trampoline, or off a diving board at a swimming pool, and your confidence and comfort for backflips on snow will get a massive boost.