So I got an interesting question after yesterday’s blog on ‘Using ‘safety’ snowboard tricks to avoid injuries‘:
Why do good snowboarders sometimes spin a 360 instead of a straight air for their warm up trick on jumps? Wouldn’t a straight air be safer and easier?
Alright, so a straight air is the standard first hit trick off a jumps, but there’s one main reason why you might see a good snowboarder skip the straight air and use a 360 instead.
360s can actually be more stable than straight airs
If you’ve done a straight air off a jump before, you know that there’s still things you need to think about when just airing off a jump. You still have to worry about controlling the pressure on your snowboard’s edges as you go up the launch ramp.
If you put too much toeside or heelside pressure as you pop off the ramp, you’ll throw yourself off balance in the air and that leads to waving your arms about and that dreadful feeling when you’re floating off balance while in the air.
Even a tiny bit of pressure too much one way can make you feel unbalanced in the air.
On the other hand, when you spin a 360, you can just carve up the takeoff on one edge. There’s no balancing the line between toeside and heelside.
You’d be surprised but I’d say I’m more likely to screw up a straight air and be slightly off balance than I am doing a backside 360.
When you’ve been spinning 360s for a long time, the basic spin technique is something that becomes as naturally as a just crusing down a blue run. This means spinning can actually be more predictable and stable because there’s honestly less to worry about.
If you’re spinning, you KNOW that you can be totally on one edge as you carve up the jump’s takeoff. There’s no juggling the balance between your edges. You carve up the jump on your edge, pop and throw that 360 with a nice stable grab.
In addition, because you’re spinning, the air time can seem less scary. You don’t tend to notice if you’re insanely high up during the spin because your head is focused on grabbing and spotting the landing.
When I pick a 360 instead of a straight air as my safety trick
I still prefer a straight air the majority of the time because it allows me to know exactly where I land on the landing. I’ll be able to tell if I was going a tiny bit too fast or too slow because I can spot the landing for the entire air time.
You won’t be able to tell as easily where you landed on the landing if you spin. It’s hard to tell while spinning unless you REALLY come up short or overshoot the landing.
So this mean I’ll tend to spin a 360 if I’m very confident that I know the right speed for the jump. This usually happens if it’s a jump I’ve hit before and maybe I’m just warming up or checking to make sure a jump hasn’t changed overnight.
All other times I’ll stick with a straight air because it lets me gauge the speed better.
So, there you go That’s why you’ll sometimes see snowboarders spin a 360 instead of a straight air for their first hit of the day. At least that’s how it works for me anyhow.
ps – I know if you’re still learning 360s that using them as your safety trick may seem crazy, but trust me, keep at it and one day you’ll be landing those 360s first try, every time.