10 Snowboard Tricks You Can Learn Quickly
If you're looking to pick up a few tricks on the snowboard, start with this quick and easy explainer from Snowboard Expert Justin Velasquez!
You’ve just started snowboarding and are having a blast with it! Riding along groomers and glades, laying deep carves, and going fast are all awesome parts of the sport. But there is more to snowboarding than just cruising and carving. Learning snowboard tricks is an awesome way to add some extra fun to groomer runs, and make your way into the park as a newer rider. In this guide, we will go over ten beginner snowboarding tricks you can learn quickly.
To start learning these easy snowboard tricks for beginners safely, I recommend that you be able to link your frontside and backside carves, stop on both your heel edge and toe edge consistently, and be comfortable riding both regular and switch—that is with your left foot or your right foot forward. Always practice new tricks in low-traffic areas on the mountain and watch out for other riders. Throwing on a helmet is never a bad idea either!
The ollie is a great first trick to learn because it is the basis for a lot of snowboard tricks. Once you learn to ollie, you can jump over obstacles, onto jibs, and start to flat ground spin.
To start, you will be riding at moderate speed in your regular stance. Once you are ready, bend your knees to crouch down and look straight ahead. After you crouch, lean back slightly. This will load your board up so it’s ready to pop off the ground! Soon after you lean back, spring off that back leg, and pull your front foot up to get your nose into the air. From there, suck your knees up to your chest by pulling your rear leg into the air. After sucking your knees up, level out your legs in the air so your rear foot is as high as your front foot. This will ensure that you have a nice flat landing.
Once you reach your peak height in the air, you can straighten your legs out a little to meet the ground. Once you make contact with the snow, bend your knees to absorb the impact and ride away with loads of steeze.
Congratulations, you just landed your first ollie! It’s important to remember, NEVER land without bending your knees. This is how injuries happen.
This trick is performed just like an ollie, but off the nose of your board! Therefore, the motions are reversed. This one is a little trickier, so you should start this one a little slower than an ollie. Load up your pop with the nose of the board by leaning forward a little—not too much. Then spring off the front leg and follow the same leveling out and landing process as the ollie. The key to this one is to really focus on pulling up on your back foot to get the most height possible before you eventually suck up your front knee to level it out.
All you need to do to butter is load up your tail or nose like you are going to ollie, and then lean back a little more so you are riding with the tip of the board off the ground. While you are leaning back your front leg should be straight, and your body should be in line with your rear knee. Butters are easier with a deck, bindings, and boots that are all on the more flexible side
These tricks are very easy to learn as all they require is balance and proper weight distribution! You can butter on your nose or tail. Butters can be done in various different ways to make awesome trick combinations. For example, you can take your newly learned ollie, pop over a little hill, land on your tail, and tail butter over the crest of the hill. Eventually, you can turn that butter sideways after your ollie for a little boardslide action!
Once you master butters in a straight line, you can start throwing 180 and 360 butters to do flat spins.
4. Taking Jumps
Aerial maneuvers on jumps may look intimidating, but if you start off small and master the fundamentals, they are easy to properly hit! The first few times you can just ride over the jump. Then move on to popping off of it, and finally ollie-ing or nollie-ing for maximum height!
When hitting jumps, always make sure the landing is clear! If there is a line, wait until you see the person before you ride away so you can drop in safely. Read this for more on terrain park etiquette.
To start, find the smallest jump in the terrain park and start at a point far enough from the jump to get a little speed. Ride straight at the jump with your hands at waist level over your tips. While it's ok to take a few heel side or toe side carves to control your speed, try to avoid slowing down at the very last second as this throws off your balance. Once you hit the lip, keep your stance centered over the board—don’t lean too far back or forward so you land nice and even. Once you land, absorb the impact with your knees and ride away! This is commonly referred to as a straight air!
Once you are comfortable riding over jumps, you can move on to popping and ollie-ing off! To pop off the jump, you will suck both your legs up while still keeping a centered stance for a little extra height. For ollies, use the process that you learned above right as you are about to hit the lip of the jump. This looks the coolest out of the three ways to hit jumps and will make it is much easier to learn other aerial tricks such as the indy grab, nose grab, melon grab, and mute grab!
5. Indy Grabs
Now that you can confidently get air off of jumps, you can learn this easy grab trick! To perform an indy grab, you jump off like you normally would, except this time your rear hand reaches down to grab the board between your legs. Release the grab at the peak height of your jump and bend your knees at the landing and ride away like a pro! Your leading hand (aka your front hand) should stay extended straight out so you keep your positioning centered in the air, and look straight ahead to spot your landing.
6. Frontside 180s
The 180 is a versatile trick that can be performed on snow without leaving the snow, off jumps, onto and off of boxes, etc…You should be comfortable riding switch because you will land your rotation switch.
First, you can practice this frontside spin on flat ground without a jump to get comfortable with the feeling of spinning to switch. Pick a low-traffic area that has a slight slope to it, nothing too crazy. The 180 motion involves a little rotation with your arms, and you should always turn your head to look where you want to land.
With that in mind, as you are riding along with a centered stance, dig your heelside edge in the snow like you are going to turn and you will feel the board slip. As you feel the board slipping, take your back arm and gently swing it around to your opposite side while turning your head to look over that opposite shoulder. This will keep you moving straight. If you look uphill or downhill while you try this, you will end up off-axis and fall in the way you are looking.
When you are ready to take this trick to the next level, you can 180 over little rollers or jumps to get some air! To make sure you complete the rotation before landing, you will need to wind up your arms and torso before takeoff since you won’t be able to in the air.
7. Butter Nose Rolls
Now that you can 180, we can start to combine that trick with butters! A butter nose roll is where you get into a nose butter, then combine that with a 180, so you are sliding sideways in the butter position while turning around to complete the 180. These can be done anywhere on the trail or over little hills!
8. 50/50 Grinds
50/50 grinds are the easiest way to get into the wonderful world of slides! You should learn these on wider boxes (often called butter boxes) in the park. They will have a mild slope to ride up to the box and aren’t too long.
Make sure the box you want to hit is clear, then ride up to it straight. The same principles as to when you hit a jump apply, no last-minute carving or your balance will be off. You will need to readjust your balance to be centered once you are on the box because there is a little ramp to ride onto the box with, and you can’t try to turn on the box or go on edge. If you try to turn on with your edge, you will definitely slam.
Once you get onto the box, keep yourself centered, look towards the end of the box, and ride off straight. Don’t forget to bend your knees to absorb the landing! Once you get comfortable with that, you can start popping and ollie-ing off for extra steeze points!
9. 50/50 Tail Press
This is a step up from the 50/50 and combines what you have learned with your tail butters earlier. You simply perform a tail butter as you ride across the box, and that’s it. This one looks super cool and is easy to do, but it can take some time to master. The trick is to really get all of your weight over the tail of the board to hold that tail press! Also, remember that while on the box, the base of your board has to remain flat on the feature or you will slip out.
You can start your tail press as soon as you get on the box, or do it late for an unexpected trick switch!
10. 50/50 Nose Press
This trick is done the same as the tail press, but with a nose butter across the box instead of a tail butter. These can be a bit trickier than tail presses and the key is to really get all your weight over the front of your board. One thing to note is that you will need to get yourself back to center as you drop off the box. Otherwise, you will land in a nose press still and be off balance.
While these ten snowboard tricks won't win you a gold medal in the next winter Olympics, they can be learned quickly and will add a little extra style to your riding! And if you are on the hunt for the right gear to unlock more playfulness to your riding, whether it be buttering or landing jumps, please don't hesitate to reach out to me or one of my fellow Snowboard Experts. We're happy to be a source of free advice and gear recommendations.
Now get out there and have some fun!!