Today’s reader question:
I heard that you don’t pop off terrain park jumps, you simply ride off. Is this true?
In general, no, this is not true. I don’t want to say you should pop in every single situation, since there are always exceptions to every rule in snowboarding… but in almost every situation you want to pop off terrain park jumps.
However, that said, there is a short stage early in your progression when you sometimes don’t pop.
Let me explain.
1) You ‘coast’ off jumps at first
When you first learn to hit park jumps, you learn to just ‘coast’ off them. Coasting is basically just riding straight off the jump without popping or pushing off, it’s literally as if you were just riding in a straight line as if there were no jump.
You do this before you learn to pop because at this stage you’re just trying to get used to getting airtime and getting a feel of the jump. It’s pretty normal for snowboard instructors to teach people to coast off jumps before teaching them how to pop.
However, as soon as you’re comfortable coasting off jumps, you don’t generally want to coast off jumps anymore. That’s when you start learning to pop off every jump.
2) Almost always pop
Pop should be your default move once you’re past the basic ‘learning to hit my first jumps’ stage. Simply put, popping means you’ll be stable and balanced and it sets you up to stay in-control when you’re in the air.
Whether the jump has ‘kick’ (curve on the take-off that can throw you off balance) or you just want more stability, popping is basically tons of benefits with no real downside (besides having to learn to pop properly).
Pop allows you to make sure you’re entering the air on a nice strong, balance platform as you push off both feet evenly. That’s what gives you that stable air after you pop.
So basically… pop. When you’re hitting park jumps, you should be popping. Spin or no spin, trick or no trick, aim for a nice smooth pop.
If you need more tips on popping, I recommend checking out my blog on how to pop correctly off a jump. That will run you through the basics.
Hope that answers your question!
ps: Now as far as when you should pop OUTSIDE of terrain park jumps, there are cases where you might want to ollie instead, but that’s a whole different issue.