10 Easy Ski Tricks to Learn in a DayPublished on 05/30/2023 · 5 min readSki Expert Aidan Campbell lists 10 easy ski tricks for you to try during your next day on the slopes, plus some photos and videos of how they're done!
Photo by Camron Zavell
Learning new tricks on skis can help you reach a new level of skiing and progress your skills on-hill. The tricks explained below are the first fundamental tricks to learn on skis. Once you get comfortable with these tricks, more advanced tricks will come easily.
A solid pop is necessary for most all other ski tricks in freestyle skiing. It is a fundamental skill that you will use all over the mountain. To have a strong pop, you will slightly flex your hips, knees, and ankles into an athletic position. It is important not to crouch but to flex forward with a slight knee bend. You will jump up with your weight forward over your shins from this position. You can practice this technique in ski boots before clicking into your skis. It is important to pop every time you hit a jump or jib feature.
An ollie is similar to a pop but can get you a bit higher in the air. To perform an ollie, you will shift your weight to the back of the skis in a “wheelie” position, then pop off the tails of the skis and shift your weight back forward.
A shifty is when a skier turns their skis in the air and brings them back before landing. This trick involves using counter-rotation to turn the skis and bring them back. You will turn your upper body opposite your lower body and return to land. It helps to bend your knees in the air. A shifty is a fundamental skill for air control and will help you look stylish on the slopes.
4. Switch Skiing
Skiing switch is simply skiing backward. It is helpful to have center-mounted, twin-tip skis for this. To ski switch, you will stagger your feet and look over the shoulder of the foot that is further back. Doing this will allow you to open your shoulders down the hill to see where you are going. You will keep your feet closer together as you get more experienced with switch skiing.
A 180° turn is the easiest spinning trick to learn. First, you will approach a jump or lip in an athletic stance and pop on the take-off. From here, you will turn whichever way is more comfortable and land switch. You can keep your head facing the same way for the entire trick. Once you get comfortable with small 180s, work your way up to bigger 180s at higher speeds.
6. 50-50 on a Box
A 50-50 on a box is the first thing to learn when starting boxes and rails. This fundamental skill will get you comfortable with how these features slide. To do a 50-50 on a box, you will approach in an athletic stance just like the other tricks and pop onto the box. The box will be very slippery, so keeping your bases flat the whole time is important. You will slip out if you try to edge or turn on the box. At the end of the box, pop back onto the snow.
7. Box Slide
A box slide is a sideways slide across a box. This trick will help you get familiar with the feeling of sliding sideways before hitting the rails. You will approach the box with an athletic stance and pop like before. This time you will turn a full 90° after you pop and land sideways on the box. It is important to keep your weight over your front ski to prevent slipping out onto your side. Keep your feet in a wide stance for better balance. You will continue to spin on the box and land switch on the snow.
A 360° can be scary at first because you have to turn your head around. You will approach the take-off at a moderate speed, in an athletic stance, and wind up your shoulders a little. This is called your “set.” You will turn your arms and shoulders in the opposite direction of where you will be spinning and turn them back in the direction you are spinning as you pop. Doing so will start your rotation, and you will need to continue looking in the direction you want to spin. To avoid a backseat landing, it is important to pop off the kicker with good posture and keep pressure against the front of your boots.
9. Safety Grab
To do a safety grab, you will need a decent size jump to have enough air time. After you pop on the lip of the jump, you will lift your legs and grab one ski under your boot or binding. (Your right hand will grab your right ski, or your left hand will grab your left ski). You will release the grab and land on the snow when you start falling back toward the ground.
10. Rail Slide
Once you are comfortable with box slides, you can attempt rail slides. Some rails have a ride-on style lip, and some are set up in urban style. Find a rail with a lip that goes right up to the surface of the rail. Approach the rail with an athletic stance and pop onto it the same way as the box slide. Once again, keeping your body weight over your front foot is very important to prevent falling backward. Keeping your front hand by your front knee will help with this.
A common mistake is turning onto the rail instead of popping a 90° turn and landing on the rail. It will be easiest to land the rail switch your first few times. Then, after you get the hang of it, you can come off the rail forwards by pressing your front heel into the rail. This technique is called “scissoring.”
These 10 fundamental ski tricks are the basics for learning all other tricks on skis. The tricks on this list will help you look steezy on the mountain and add a fun, new aspect to the sport. Once these initial tricks are mastered, many additional tricks will come easily.
For help getting comfortable as you learn these new tricks, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated. We’d be happy to share advice and fine-tune your quiver to set you up for success.