In this blog: The riding mistake that everyone makes when they first learn to hit jumps (and how to fix it).
When I watch people first learn to hit jumps, there’s always one mistake that every single one of them makes. Their run-in approach as they ride towards the jump is messy, un-organized and all over the place.
What exactly is a messy run-in technique & how do I know if I’m doing it?
Ever watch someone drop into the run-in of a jump, and do a whole bunch of random speed checks (another name for braking) and skid all over the place before squaring their body up and riding towards the jump?
Eg: They drop in and do a small speed check on their toe edge, ride half a meter, do another small speed check on their heels, ride another meter and skid left and right on their edges for a couple meters, then just as they get close to the take-off of the jump they balance themselves and ride straight.
That’s messy for me just trying to type it out, much less doing it on the snow as you approach a jump.
Why is this bad?
This is bad because not only are you not stable or focused as you approach the jump, but you’re making it really hard to learn the right speed for the jump.
For example, if you do 5 random speed checks and randomly carve from side to side and randomly swap edges as you approach the jump, and somehow manage to get the right speed for the jump, can you easily duplicate that same speed again?
The scariest thing about hitting most jumps is getting the speed right, so why make this harder than it needs to be? Not to mention you also have to worry about ‘popping’ correctly and being balanced during all of this.
So how should you approach a jump?
You want a calm, smooth run-in as you approach a jump. You don’t want to be doing 50 speedchecks and constantly having to adjust your line and speed.
A good jump run-in approach is calculated and smooth and easily repeatable.
You want 1-2 speedchecks at most (or none if you found the perfect drop in spot) and you want to do them in smooth, precise movements just after you drop in, rather than doing 50 random little speed checks and edge changes just before you hit the take-off.
For example, this is one of the jumps in Whistler’s jump line:
My standard approach for this jump is to drop in, do a small toe edge speed check, roll over to my heels and do a small heel edge speed check, then ride straight towards the jump (or carve up from the side if I’m spinning).
So in my head I’ve already pictured my run-in approach like this:
All my speed checks for this jump are calculated ahead of time and I’ve got my ideal speed set long before I even reach the take-off ramp for the jump.
If I want to hit the jump again, I can easily repeat the exact same approach and I’ll know that my speed should be the same.
This is what you want to aim for with every jump you hit. You want to approach a jump and know things like:
- This is where I drop in from
- This is where I roll onto my heel edge and do a short speed check
- This is where I start carving (or going straight if you aren’t spinning off the jump)
- This is where I start pushing my feet to pop
- etc etc
You need an approach plan for every jump you hit and you want to know when and where you need to do things BEFORE you drop-in.
Every jump is going to be slightly different and you’ll need to alter how hard you speed check (or if you speed check at all), depending on the run-in, but that’s part of the challenge that every snowboarder learning to hit jumps has to overcome.
The bottom line:
To get consistent results in the park, you need consistent technique and this includes having a planned, consistent run-in approach that you can duplicate every time you hit a jump.