How To Frontside 180 to Fakie Nosepress to Switch Backside 180
Bigger isn’t necessarily better, and some of the best-feeling tricks you can do on a snowboard happen right down on the ground. Piste tricks are a great way to take your first steps in freestyle, but by no means are they just for beginners; being able to casually chuck some flair into a descent is the mark of a confident rider. They’re also relatively low-impact, so even if things go wrong you’ll most likely be able to dust yourself off and have another go. Given that piste tricks are all about having fun, who better to walk us through some classics than the perennially-stoked Sparrow Knox?
This first appeared in Whitelines issue 117
That name is a mouthful, but the trick itself is actually very simple. Don’t let the mention of switch put you off either; this really doesn’t take much to get right. When you nail it, though, it looks and feels freakin’ cool. Any kind of board will do, but you’ll fare better with a soft-flexing twin model than a stiff directional charger.
This is a great trick to do anywhere on a mountain and in any state; tired or fresh, it still feels amazing! On approach, give your shoulders time to gather some swing. By swinging your arms it helps to commit for both the fakie nosepress as well as the switch backside 180 out.
Pop off your heel edge, swinging your upper bodyweight into the frontside 180
Pop off your heel edge, swinging your upper bodyweight into the frontside 180. As with a lot of tricks in snowboarding, you will be surprised how much your legs are forced to follow your shoulder alignment.
As soon as your nose of your board hits the ground, commit to the press by distributing your weight to the trailing end of the snowboard. Keep your balance by extending your arms as much as you feel necessary.
Once locked in to the press, I feel it helps to go to your toe edge slightly to anticipate the next step. Keep your weight over the trailing end of the board though, keeping it pressed.
For me, the final 180 out is the best part – get it right and you will have enough stoke to last a lifetime! Keep the press going as long as possible, and keep an eye on the ground. When you pop, the 180 comes around really naturally, putting you to your feet easier that you'd think. Digging a little bit of edge into the snow afterwards helps prevent any unnecessary reverts.
How To Tripod
Often discovered accidentally by first-timers, the tripod can be appreciated by riders of all levels – remember Sage Kotsenburg’s one off the cannon in his Olympic run? This can also be done frontside or as part of a full 360-degree rotation, but here Sparrow has opted to spin backside and then reverse the rotation to return to his normal stance.
This is an incredibly fun one for goofing around, no matter the situation. Start by riding along the piste and popping off the toes, as if you’re doing a backside 180.
Push all your weight back up the hill and extend your hands down to the ground
Once you start the rotation, push all your weight back up the hill and extend your hands down to the ground to stop the fall.
Let your hands work like bike stabilisers, keeping you balanced. It really does feel amazing, and once you experiment a little you will notice that you can hold it for as long as you like.
Once you are in this position, try and extend your body. It may feel natural to do this anyway once you’re locked in.
For the switch backside 180 out, you’ll find that the rotation will come naturally as you’re already slightly twisted. Use the spring from your board to get some pop off the end of the board that’s pressed.
Bring your head back up and look forward as you ride away – and try not to hit any skiers.
How To Nollie Backside 360
Our last piste trick is a deceptively simple spin that you can master in an afternoon. Soft and slushy conditions will be best for learning this, but once you’ve got it dialed take it to firmer snow where can get more edge bite in the setup. Sparrow says he likes to chuck his when traversing across the hill, or “at the end of a mint euro-carve.
You might be thinking that it’s tough to do a nollie and 360 all in one go, but it’s really just one simple motion that will put you back on your feet like Catwoman. Set yourself up on a toeside turn; speed is not essential for this one, it’s all about timing.
The nollie doesn’t have to be huge, just big enough to give you time for the spin
Once you have found a spot that you feel comfortable trying this on, approach it as though you will be doing a normal backside spin. It might help to wait until you’re going slightly uphill.
At the point of pop, shift your head and shoulders back towards your tail while popping off your nose. The nollie doesn’t have to be huge, just big enough to give you time for the spin.
You won’t be able to see your landing for a second, but don't worry. It’s actually a good idea to try and visualise your landing before take-off, so that you feel more comfortable in the air.
Lead with the upper body and the rest will follow. You will spot your landing once your head twists all the way around. If you get the nollie right, the rest really flows around. Trust your judgement on how much time you have to spin and land.
When you land, get back on your toe edge one more to help stay on your feet. Then ride away feeling wonderful good!
Sparrow Knox's Set Up
This board is the shit! It’s got great pop and flex, is fast and sturdy, and has been a good friend to have. She always treats me well so I treat her good in return. Incredible for kickers, and the bomb for rails!
Vans V66 Boots
Light and comfy, with a really supportive inner. I ride these boots all the time; kickers, pow or jibbing around, these do the trick for me. Go try 'em for yourself.
This is Eiki Helgason’s pro model combo with a few switch-ups. The lack of screws makes it real easy to adjust the shape and size of your binding on and off the hill, without the need for a screwdriver. Simplicity works!
Vans Wangle Pants
These have a built-in lace, so when you forget your belt they can still stay above your crack, haha. There are vents on either side and a comfy inner lining. I prefer slightly larger snowboard pants for the baggy feel!
Vans Mr Gramps Sweater
Perfect for an under-layer in the winter or a top layer in the summer. Extremely light and great fit. This is pretty much the only thing I rode when summer shredding!