Learning how to land a jump on a snowboard can be a difficult concept to grasp as everyone is different. Everyone has their own style and preference when it comes to landing jumps. This can make the process more challenging than it needs to be because of trying to figure out what works best for you.
We will look at some ways to help you learn how to land a jump on a snowboard, whether it be learning how to ollie higher or just learning how to land with grace and style.
Step 1 – Bend your knees.
What’s the key to a good landing?
It all comes down to the way your body is positioned at the end of a jump. To have a perfect landing, you need to keep your knees bent and loose throughout the entirety of your flight. Never keep them completely locked or too straight. Bending from the knees, not from the waist, will help you absorb any impact without putting strain on other parts of your body—making for an overall smoother landing.
The best way to practice this is by doing some jumps on flat ground. Try jumping up and down with different amounts of bend in your knees so that you can feel what stiffness feels like compared to letting them bend almost all the way. Then when it comes time for you to try this on a slope, you’ll be able to feel out how much bend works best for you.
Step 2 – Stay centered.
As the jump approaches and you’re getting ready to take off, make sure you stay centered on your snowboard. Don’t lean too far forward or backward. If you lean too far forward, it will be harder to land with a clean landing. If you lean too far back, it will be harder to keep control as you leave the ground and in flight because of your center of gravity being in a different place.
As for staying centered after takeoff and in flight, this is where most injuries occur: when riders lean too much to one side or the other and end up with a twisted ankle or knee from not having their feet under them at the point of impact.
The better your skills, obviously, the more tricks and spins you can do safely after leaving the ground. But as a beginner, don’t get ahead of yourself attempting more advanced maneuvers (which would require leaning) until you have mastered staying centered before and during your landings.
Step 3 – Look down the jump.
Looking down the jump is one of the most important tips you can keep in mind while snowboarding. Just as your mom always told you, where you direct your gaze is where you go. When riding up to a jump, make sure your eyes are focused on where you want to land.
If it’s a small jump, look down at the landing pad or slope just beyond it (wherever it is you want to land). If it’s a big one, look about 15 feet past the landing. It may feel strange pointing yourself so far down the slope (you won’t automatically see what’s directly ahead of you), but this will become more natural with practice.
But of course, don’t just look down there and leave – take in everything that surrounds that spot and remember what it looks like right before takeoff. This way, when you’re up in the air, and your board is pointed toward wherever it is that spot was (and hopefully still will be), there will be nothing to worry about!
Step 4 – Make sure you’re pointed straight down the hill at takeoff.
- Make sure you’re pointed straight down the hill at takeoff. This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind when learning how to jump on a snowboard.
- A lot of beginner boarders make the mistake of launching themselves sideways off jumps, or even worse, off-axis with their board at an angle. This is a recipe for disaster if you’re not ready to rotate your board while in the air. It’s important that you take jumps straight on, so that you know your only task will be to absorb the impact of the jump and land straight down the hill.
Step 5 – Look where you want to go when landing.
If you want to land on the jump, you need to aim for it. This may seem obvious, but many riders look at the ground right before their board hits it. If you can’t get your eyes up and direct your board down the landing of a jump, then you should slow down or not hit that jump until you can.
You’ll be much more likely to keep your balance on the landing if you are looking ahead at where you want to go when hitting the snowboard. This is a fundamental rule of riding in general and it’s no less important with jumping.
When taking off, focus on where you’re going to land, whether this is just past the lip or at a point further down the landing. It’s good practice when learning how to do tricks because then all your attention will be focused on what is happening in front of your board rather than behind it as it takes off.
Step 6 – Land on both feet at the same time, then ride off with your head up.
Your feet should be together. You can land with one foot in front of the other, but you’ll lose speed and it’s not as stable.
If you’re landing on a slope and are worried about speed, carve in to slow down before you hit the jump (and make sure there’s not someone or something below).
Our Final Thoughts
Jumping feels like flying, but don’t let it fool you into thinking you’re flying. Angle your snowboard parallel to the landing as you get closer to the ground. This will aid in a smooth landing.
As you land, bend your knees to absorb the shock and then let momentum carry you forward. Turn to the side and slow down after you’ve been moving forward for a time.
Once you know how to land a jump on a snowboard, you should understand that many beginners attempt to spin and stop as soon as they touch down. This is where most people get stuck. Allow your board to do what it wants and relax and enjoy the ride.