How To ‘Manage’ Fear Of Big Jumps & Other Terrain Park Features

Today’s reader question:

I’ve been snowboarding for awhile, but hitting big jumps scares me still. I can do it, but I still get scared, does the fear ever go away completely?

Yes and no. The fear goes away as your technique gets better and as you start to hit big jumps more regularly, BUT it can comes back later.

Let me explain what I mean.

1) Yes it does get less scary

If you’ve never hit a big jump before, you’re going to be terrified when you drop into the jump. Everyone has to work their way up to bigger jumps by improving their technique slowly on smaller jumps – that’s totally normal progression.

Your first big jump is going to be scary. However, after the first time it’s immediately less scary, which I’m sure you’ve noticed. Every following attempt on that jump gradually makes it less scary and honestly by the 4th and 5th time off the jump it’s usually pretty routine.

The fear never completely goes away, but rather, it turns into a sort of respect for the jump. You know you need to be careful of getting the speed right and staying balanced, so your fear becomes more about being careful and respecting the dangers of bigger features.

2) That fear can come back

Here’s the kicker… the fear comes back if you don’t keep hitting those jumps.

For example, there’s a 75 foot jump in Whistler that I usually session once or twice each season. Every time I hit that jump for the first hit of the day it’s scary because it’s been so long since the last time I hit a jump that size.

I don’t regularly hit 75 foot jumps every day (I prefer the other jump line), so when I go back to a jump that size I do get scared again. It’s not as bad as hitting the jump for the first time ever because I know I’ve done it before, but you do get used to whatever sized jumps you hit regularly.

Your comfort levels will slowly drop down the longer you’ve been away from big park features.

What this means for you…

Firstly, perfect your technique on small jumps first and work your way up, that’s the smart way to progress. However, once you’re ready to hit big jumps and have done it a few times to build up your comfort level, try to do it regularly.

Try not to let that fear creep back in there. Even if it’s just straight airing without any trick, that’s good enough to keep you used to bigger park features.

This applies to small jumps as well as other freestyle features that scare you. If you’re scared of small jumps or boxes or hips or rails, whatever it is, once you’ve worked your way up to it, try to keep it as part of your routine to keep your comfort and confidence with the feature.

Remember, a big part of snowboarding is the mental side of things, and keeping your comfort and confidence level up with a variety of features and terrain is just as important as practicing your snowboard technique.

– Jed

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  1. Kevin D. says:

    That’s is a good piece of advice. Sometimes I also make the mistake of going back to smaller features when a big one scares me, even if I have hit it a lot of times before. Or working too long on the basics because I’m not confident enough to do a trick from a box or pipe up to a rail. Having a comfort zone is easy. Going beyond that zone and training until your comfort zone expands is hard.

    • Yep – expanding that comfort is definitely a challenge, although at the end of the day that’s half the fun of progressing and improving your snowboarding.

      So satisfying when you’ve worked hard to finally progress and can look back to see where you’ve come from and how you’ve conquered so many things that used to scare you.

      • And after landing a trick for the first time, it’s time to keep on training until you’re used to the feeling.

  2. Today I was scared for the 3 meter high jump that will push you 7 meter further.
    It was my first time on this kicker, but I took the advantage from last week airbag jumping that had almost the same height as this one.
    I scared my self and just give it a try. I didnt ride it out and landed on my butt, but I was happy what I did wrong and now I know what I have to do the next time.
    Still a little trilled when I was up for the 3rd time, but less scared at first.

  3. Nice work Pacheco 🙂 Keep it up!

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