The Truth About Big Snowboard Spins

I came across a video today on a snowboard site and there was a question asked next to the video:

“It’s been 3 years since this video, but why aren’t more people doing big spins like this 1620?”

The video in question (Ulrik Badertscher’s 1620):

There are a few simple reasons why you don’t see big spins like this as often as double corks, triple corks and whatever other top level trick the best competition riders are doing:

1) Bigger spins require bigger jumps to look smooth

Most competition jumps are usually 50-80 feet. To spin a 1620 on a jump that size requires a huge amount of rotation, which means you’re basically hucking insanely hard off the jump and the spin becomes very rushed.

Most riders simply don’t want to spin a rushed looking spin in competition because you get marked down points for style (and who wants to be known as the unstylish snowboarder).

If you had more air time you could technically slow down the rotation and style it out more, but that would have to be a HUGE jump to do that… bigger than you’ll find at most contests.

Don’t forget that jumps used to increase in size every year, but we haven’t seen real increases in competition sized jumps since X-Games jumps started hitting 75-80 feet. You get the odd 100+ footer in random contests, but it’s not exactly a normal occurrence.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to spin a 1620 with decent style (it’s doable and Ulrik Badertscher has done it before), but it’s simply a really rushed trick that’s tricky to style on most competition jumps.

2) Double/triple corks are easier to get rotation + marked higher

This is probably the biggest reason you don’t see competition riders doing 1620s. Double and triple corks tend to get marked just as well, if not higher than a flat 1620 spin.

For example, Ulrik spun a smooth 1620 with a stomped landing at the Dew Tour and he got outscored by riders throwing triple corks.

Not to mention, corking a trick typically makes it easier to get the rotation then trying to spin it flat like in the video above. Why do a rushed flat 1620 spin that’s insanely hard to style and huck when you can do a corked trick that tends to get scored better and is easier to rotate.

Competition riders learn what gets them the most points and corked tricks are just where it’s been since they took over from flat spin 1080s and 1260s.

3) Big spins aren’t that fun

Here’s something X-Games doesn’t tell you: Big spins aren’t as fun as a super slow, tweaked out spins.

When you’re going off a huge jump, spinning like a ballerina just isn’t that fun. Rather, it’s those slow, tweaked out spins that are insanely fun to do as you float in the air.

I may not be doing 1620s, but I have done a few 1080s and I can honestly say they weren’t as fun as doing a slow rotated, corked out 540 over a big jump. Slowly drifting in the air as you hold a huge tweaked out grab is one of the greatest feelings ever.

Sure big spins are fun to learn because it’s a challenge and something to cross off your list, but at the end of the day most riders capable of big spins will tell you that a slow tweaked out 540 is way more fun to do and learn then hucking off a jump and rushing to spin in a circle 4 and a half times.

– Jed

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  1. Ufotofu9 says:

    Maybe it’s because the vid is in slow motion, but he seems to have enough height to be enjoying those four and a half spins. He didn’t seem out of control or anything. He didn’t stomp it though. His knees damn near hit the ground. This was still incredible though.

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