Stop sniggering at the back. Trannies (aka transitions) aren’t just found in halfpipes – they’re everywhere. Whether it’s in a snowdome or on the mountain, there are always opportunities to fined sweet spots for take-offs and landings. The most godawful Frenchman’s-afterthought park can be a top-class playground if you do a little hunting, and before long you’ll be pulling fun lines seemingly out of nowhere. And as these photos show, even amongst the pristine features of the world-famous High Cascade at Mount Hood, there are offbeat lines for the taking. Will Smith, star of the Grindhouse and Postland Theory movies and toast of the UK rail scene, has found his fair share of trannies over the years – here he takes us through a few of the basics:

This first appeared in Whitelines issue 115

Rather than hitting this hip straight on, Will’s taken off from the transition at the side and cleared the run-in. While it’s a smaller gap there’s still plenty of airtime, and the trajectory makes this a very different beast to airing straight off the hip. Here’s how to adjust:

First thing’s first: work out the speed that you’re going to need. It depends on the gap, or the size of what you are wanting to tranny find. When coming into the take-off, make sure you are ready for the transition and on a flat base.

"The more you pop, the easier it is to get the angle of your nose steep enough to catch the tranny right"

As you reach the lip of the jump you should pop a good size ollie; I always like to pop as hard as I can because it just feels and looks way better! Also, the more you pop the easier it is to get the angle of your nose steep enough to catch the tranny right.

You can do anything you want in the air - just a straight ollie, grab or a spin if you want to! As you are at the top of your air you want to have spotted where you are landing, and begun to aim the nose of your board in that direction.To make sure you get maximum tranny find, point your nose into the top of the tranny. If you get it right it will probably look like your are going to not quite make it, but the majority of the time that’s when you get the best tranny finder.Push your board through the tranny and if you have caught it properly you should get a little wheelie on the landing for speeding up and whipping out of the transition. That’s pretty much all there is to it, and once you start doing them you’ll begin to see them in more and more places!

Wall-to-back-board

No two trannies are the same, and some aren’t even made of snow. Take this rail, for example: Will uses the curved part at the front as a transition to pop a ‘wallie’. These are slightly riskier, but one you’ve got them sussed it makes for interesting lines on an otherwise straightforward feature.

Make sure you’ve got your backside boardslides locked in before you try this, so you know how fast or sticky the rail is. Hit it a couple of times and even give it a couple of ollies and gaps to boardslide to gauge your speed for how far you want to go down the rail, as you will roughly go the same speed as when you gap to boardslide. You want to be coming in with a good amount of speed – but not too fast or you will end up getting bucked.

When you get to the front of the rail and your nose is about to come in contact, take your weight off your front foot but get the nose lifted up as it hits the rail.

For maximum pop out of the wallie, push through with your back foot and use your momentum and board flex to pop you up into the air. It’s best to think about just how you would pop a normal Ollie; do the same thing but instead of letting the board do the pop, use the rail. When you get more comfortable with them you will be able to pop off your back foot at the top of a wallie to get them higher.

When you’re coming off the wallie try keep your shoulder square with your board and the rail. Keep your eyes looking to where you are wanting to land on the rail. As you are getting up to your maximum height begin to turn you shoulders as you would with a normal backside boardslide and keep looking at the spot on the rail. Make sure you get a good tweak on your pop out of your wallie too.

If you have got your gap-to-back-boards down you should know roughly how much the impact will be, but if you’ve done your wallie correctly then you should be a bit higher than normal. Make sure you are ready for a bit more of an impact!

Try to land with the rail right between your feet and get a good flex out of the board as you can use this to make your pop back to your normal stance easier. By this point you want to be looking at the end of the rail.

"If you’ve done your wallie correctly then you should be a bit higher than normal. Make sure you are ready for a bit more of an impact!"

When you’re coming to the end of the rail bring your front shoulder back to being square with your knees and bring you legs back round to regular, and you should get a good bounce out of the rail.

By this point you can’t go wrong; all you’ve got to do is ride it out!! Once you have got these down you can start doing them to front board as well, which is also super fun!

wallie-to-Tranny-find

Why stick to one tranny when you can have two? They’re just as good to land on as they are to take off from, so be sure to look for lines that feature both. In this case both are on the one rail, but be sure to also look for lines that link two features together – or more!

You want to be coming in with enough speed to just about clear the rail (it may take a few times to get your speed how you want). Once you’ve figured out your speed on your approach you want to be a bit more ready for the impact of the wallie as you are going to be going faster.

"When your board touches down you want to start to push your weight through your back foot"

When you come into your wallie keep your feet light and as your nose gets to the rail get it up onto the rail and push it through with your back foot. Pop out of the top of your wallie to make sure you get good height.

As you are coming up to maximum height you want to be looking towards the end of the rail and tweaking your ollie and much as you can. If you feel comfortable you get a grab in the too. If you have got your pop right you will be coming down right at the end of the rail.

Point your nose into the end of the rail. When your board touches down you want to start to push your weight through your back foot. Try to keep it a bit on your back foot the whole way through to make sure your nose doesn’t get caught in the snow.

If you get a good tranny you will come out with more speed, so be ready for that and just ride it out.

Will-Smith-Portrait-©-Sam-McMahon-2014

Salomon Craft

The best board I have ever ridden – it’s super stable but you can still get good presses and amazing tranny finders on it! It’s pretty much indestructible as well!

Salomon Boss Bindings

These bindings are nice a soft but have a nice sturdy highback. I love them because I ride my boots super soft so I like to have my feet firmly in my bindings.

Vans Hi Standard Boots

These are perfect from day one. You can get them pretty tight and stiff but you can also have them as soft as you want. Either way you get a nice flex out of them, which makes tweaking a little bit easier for sure!

Vans Archer Jacket and Vans Wangle Pants

From being from the dome I find it really strange wearing jackets, but this one is awesome because it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a jacket – it’s perfect for everything! The pants are a nice fit and keep your legs warm in cold temperatures for sure! They did well even in -39oC this year in Minnesota.

Dragon APXS Goggles and Dragon Marquis sunglasses

These goggles are perfect for dome shredders because you have so much vision in them and they look badass too, haha. The sunnies are sick, and they can take a beating too!