Slo Mo Trick Tips – Frontside 540

GB Park & Pipe's Katie Ormerod on the lesser-spotted front 5

Whilst you see backside and cab 540s – even switch back fives, of which Jamie Anderson is the master – it’s rare to catch sight of a frontside 540 in video parts or competitions these days.

Maybe it’s because although it’s a 540, you only go blind once and therefore it’s been deemed too easy, or perhaps frontside 360s just look and feel sooooo damn good no one wants to go the extra 180. Who knows, either way we’re gonna bring it back: viva la frontside 540!

One snowboarder who’s definitely got them dialled is Katie Ormerod. During our 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.

Photo: Ed Blomfield


How To Frontside 540

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.

As with the backside 540, find a jump that you’re comfortable throwing frontside 360s and frontside 180s off. 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.

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. 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.

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. Reach down and grab indy – it’ll help you achieve the best body shape for this trick.

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. 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.

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. 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.

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).

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