6 Snowboard Tricks to Learn Right Now with Kelly Clark
One of the most fun aspects of snowboarding is learning new tricks, but with so many things to learn, where should a beginner start? Right here. This guide outlines six of Burton’s favorite beginner snowboard tricks that will provide a solid foundation to build upon as you advance your riding.
Pro tip: Familiarize yourself with these tricks and then do them over and over again. Ollie over bumps and rollers, press and butter on the trail, and take a few switch turns in the middle of a park lap—this will build muscle memory and make it easier to learn more difficult snowboard tricks in the future.
An ollie is a specific way of “jumping” off of the ground vertically while snowboarding. In general, we recommend learning how to ollie first, as it is a critical step towards learning other snowboard tricks. Once the ollie is mastered, it can be used for flatland tricks, rail tricks, and jump tricks.
How to Ollie on a Snowboard
1) Start standing upright and centered over your snowboard.
2) Shift your weight to your back foot; think of this like loading up a spring.
3) Keeping your torso upright, power off your back leg and pull up on your front foot first, lifting your front leg off of the snow and following with your rear leg, using the flex of the board for pop.
4) Follow the natural arc of your upward momentum. Both feet should be parallel to the snow at the top of your ollie in order to maintain stability in the air.
5) Land with both feet at the same time so your board is parallel to the snow—landing either too heavily on the nose or tail will throw off your balance—and compress your knees again (like a spring) to absorb the landing.
Pressing your snowboard is the act of leaning your weight over either the nose (nosepress) or tail (tailpress) of the board in such a way that the opposite end of the board is off the snow. This trick is super fun and can be done anywhere on the mountain, from boxes and rails to the middle of a cruiser run.
Variation: When you rotate your press slightly, so the board is not pointing directly downhill, it is called “buttering,” because it resembles the motion a knife takes when it is buttering a muffin.
How to Press on a Snowboard
1) For a tailpress, shift your weight directly over your back leg and keep your torso upright and your weight directly over your rear binding.
2) Now, slowly release any weight you have on your front leg and the nose of your board will naturally raise off of the snow.
3) Butter like it’s a Saturday morning pancake breakfast.
4) Shift your weight back to center so your board is no longer off the snow.
A 50-50 is when you ride over a box or rail (sometimes called a “jib”) with your snowboard parallel to the feature. The 50-50 snowboard trick is a great way to ease into park riding, test out new features, and get warmed up for the day. We’ll break down the steps for hitting a box, but this advice also applies to rails, tubes, mailboxes, and most other jibs.
How to 50-50 a Box on a Snowboard
1) Start by riding towards the box. Take a few speed checks, if needed, to adjust your speed. It may take a few tries before you know exactly how much speed you need, but a general rule is to go a little faster than you think you should.
2) Once you’re about ten feet (three meters) away from the box, point your board straight towards the box and stay flat on your base.
3) You’re about to be on the box so focus where you’re going and as the nose of your snowboard crosses the lip of the takeoff (the top edge of the jump), ollie to get onto the box.
4) Land with your base flat on the box, keeping your knees bent and your torso upright and parallel to the box. Look towards the end of the box and try to maintain balance.
5) As you reach the end of the box, anticipate your landing by keeping your knees bent in order to absorb the landing.
6) Take a few turns as you ride away.
A tripod is a fun, flatground snowboard trick that seems complicated, but can be learned pretty quickly. Doing a tripod is about distributing some of your weight to your upper body and arms while balancing on the nose or tail of your snowboard—which side of your board you pick is personal preference, but we’re going to explain it over the nose of your snowboard.
How To Do a Tripod on a Snowboard
1) Lean your torso and bodyweight over the nose of your snowboard until both of your hands are on the snow about shoulder-width apart in a handstand-like position. The majority of your weight should be supported by your hands and arms and not on your snowboard.
2) As you bend to reach your hands to the snow, your snowboard will naturally slide away from your torso. Let your rear foot rise off of the ground, bringing your snowboard with it so the tail of your board is pointing toward the sky.
3) Make sure to keep the base that is touching the snow flat against the ground and avoid going up on either edge; this will keep you balanced.
4) To get out of a tripod, push off the ground with your hands and bring your torso upright as you shift your bodyweight back over your legs, naturally bringing your rear foot and tail of your snowboard back to the ground.
5) Straight Air
Similar to 50-50ing a box or rail, hitting a jump relies on a few of the same principles: setting your line into the take-off, keeping your base flat as you approach the feature, and using an ollie as your snowboard leaves the lip of the jump. Keeping your base flat, your knees bent, and your torso upright are all key to staying balanced when hitting a jump.
How to Straight Air a Jump on a Snowboard
1) Start by riding toward the jump. Take a few speed checks, if needed, to adjust your speed. Pro tip: Watch other riders hit the jump to get an idea of how fast you should go.
2) Once you are about ten feet (three meters) away from the jump, point your board straight, keep your base flat, and bend your knees while keeping your torso upright.
3) As the nose of your snowboard starts to leave the lip of the jump, ollie and bring your knees up toward your chest; this will help keep you stable in the air.
4) Spot your landing and land with your base flat, keeping your knees bent to absorb the landing.
5) Ride away stoked!
6) Ride Switch
While riding switch isn’t necessarily a true snowboard trick, it is a fundamental component of many other tricks and one that is definitely worth learning. Riding switch is simply snowboarding downhill in the opposite stance that you usually ride: if you normally ride regular (left foot forward), then riding switch would mean heading downhill goofy (right foot forward). If you have solid control while riding your board switch, you will be comfortable when approaching jumps and rails or landing off of them switch as well.
How to Ride Switch on a Snowboard
1) Start facing uphill on your toe edge. Remember when you were learning to snowboard and heelside turns were easier to learn? Let’s start with a switch heelside turn first.
2) Get a little momentum and start moving switch stance across the trail (the goal is to make a very wide turn so you don’t pick up too much speed).
3) Keep your knees lightly bent, your torso upright, and your body positioned squarely over the center of your board as you initiate a switch turn, rolling from your toe edge to your heel edge.
4) As you get to your heel edge and are facing downhill, come to a complete stop; that’s your first switch stance turn. Stopping between turns initially will help you to slow down your speed and stay in control. As you feel more comfortable making switch turns, you can start linking the turns together.
If you can imagine it and are willing put in the practice, there really isn’t any snowboard trick out of reach. So, grab the crew and drop in. Remember, it’s okay to fall. You’ll probably bruise your body (and your ego) but someday soon you’ll be throwing down with the pros on the big jump line in the park.
Got an awesome photo or video of you stomping a new trick? Share the inspiration by posting to Instagram and tagging @Burton; we love to see your progression.