Alright, so you get to the ski resort and check out the fancy terrain park and you’ve got a line of jumps, rails, boxes and all sorts of other fun snowboard park features in front of you.
How do you check out each feature and find the sweet spots? How do you go about ‘feeling’ out each park feature safely?
You do all of this by using a safety trick.
What’s a safety trick?
Among most freestyle snowboarders, there’s something we often refer to as our ‘safety’ trick. It’s basically the trick we use as our fallback when we need to hit that jump or box for the first time and figure out how it feels.
Your safety trick is simply your most basic and most comfortable trick on a certain type of feature.
For example, here’s a list of my safety tricks:
- Jumps: Straight air or Backside 360
- Rail: 50/50
- Hip: Straight air
These safety tricks are what I fall back to when I hit a feature that I haven’t ridden before. It functions as both my warm up trick and my trick to check out something new.
Your safety trick should be the trick you feel most comfortable doing on a feature. It could be a simple straight air or a 180 or a 360 or 50/50.
Whatever the simplest and most comfortable trick is for you on a particular feature is what your safety trick should be.
Why you need to use safety tricks:
There’s several reasons why you want to use a safety trick on your first hit of a park feature:
- Warm up
- Speed checking
Even if you’re an amazing snowboarder, you don’t go and spin 1080s on the first hit of the day on a brand new jump. That’s asking for injury. Remember that snowboarding is about risk management and taking smart risks.
A quick safety trick on your first hit allows you to warm up, judge the speed you need for a jump/rail/box and feel out the build of the park feature.
Your safety trick is simply your fastest way of testing out what you think is the best speed, entry line and technique for hitting a certain park feature.
A quick note on ‘feel’:
Some jumps feel more ‘poppy’ than others. Some jumps might put more pressure on your legs as you go up the launch ramp. Some rails have a little more kink than you expected. Some rails are sticky.
These are things you don’t know until you’ve hit a feature at least once. That’s why you need a safety trick to safely hit each feature your first time.
Think of it this way:
The SWAT team doesn’t answer a 911 call and just run in there guns blazing. They try to understand the situation they’re in, what could go wrong, what they should do etc. etc.
You’re doing the same for each park feature you want to hit.
You’re figuring out where things could go wrong, what your best line of entry is, where to drop in from, how the landing feels and much more.
Your safety trick is your intel. It’s your method of taking in all the possible risks and coming up with the best way to execute a harder snowboard trick without getting injured.