Ollies were invented in 1975 when an American skateboarder named Alan ‘Ollie’ Gelfand kicked his skateboard off the vert section of a halfpipe and caught it with his feet in mid air. While this fundamental trick has since become a rite of passage for skaters – and a tricky bit of co-ordination to master – for snowboarders it’s a piece of piss: we’re attached the board after all. However, there’s an art to doing them well, and getting your ollie right will help you master harder tricks further down the road. Here’s how you do ‘em…
1. Ride along at a speed you’re comfortable with (around jogging pace) with your weight evenly spread out over the board.
2. Crouch down, bending both your knees, and lower your hands to near the ground.
3. Here’s the tricky bit: shift your weight to your back leg so that you’re effectively ‘spring loading’ the flexible tail of your board, and immediately spring upwards with as much energy as you can muster, throwing your hands up first.
4. You should be pushing primarily off your rear foot, while at the same time pulling up your front leg so that the nose of the board lifts off first.
5. You might notice that there’s a lot of pressure being applied to the tail of your board. This is good as you’re aiming to use this flex to gain even more height.
6. As you and the board leave the ground, pull your back leg up to level the board out. For extra height, keep sucking up your knees towards your chest (if you’re trying to jump over a fence for example).
7. Now you’re in the air. Try and relax, and if you’re keen to start learning grabs, this is the time to do it.
8. Now you should be at the top of your air. This is the best part. Relax your arms and prepare for the descent.
9. To make sure you ride away without falling over, keep the board pointing straight in the direction you’re travelling. Push down gently with both feet at the same time. If anything, try to land fractionally on your back foot first, but both together is best.
10. Landing time! Your board is about to make contact with the snow again. Extend your legs to meet the ground. This will help you absorb the landing with your knees.
11. Keep your body weight central over the board, compressing your whole body into the landing if necessary.
12. Now you’re back on the ground, stand back up in your regular riding position and continue down the fall line for a while before attempting to turn again. Congratulations, you’ve just done an ollie!