Summer Snowboard Practice: the Trampoline

By: Lou G

I may be starting to sound redundant always talking about trampoline but that's because the trampoline is the greatest tool a snowboarder could own! With the exception of slides and presses, which require some sort of obstacle to execute, any trick you ever attempt in snowboarding should first be mastered on the trampoline. Just jumping and spinning on a trampoline won't help you in snowboarding though.

This next statement might confuse some of you, but learning a trick on a trampoline is way different from taking it to a snowboard. So how can a trampoline help you get better at snowboarding then? Here are some tricks and techniques to use on your trampoline that will benefit you when you take them to the snowboard slope.

Springs Only!

We all know that those springs can snap and come flying. What you didn't know is I guess somebody sued and now they make these really lame trampolines with elastic wraps instead of metal springs. The result: an almost unusable trampoline. It doesn't bounce right, it doesn't bounce high, and it's a huge waste of money and time.

So in using the tips on this article, I am talking about a metal spring trampoline. The originals. You can usually get them super cheap just by looking in your penny saver or the classifieds. Trampolines are big cumbersome objects that people like to get off of their lawns once the kids grow up (I never grew up though... sorry mom). I found mine for a whopping $40 and it's lasted going on two years.


JUMP! The first thing to do with your trampoline is jump as high in the air as you can. A couple things to concentrate are how you are timing the jump and your body's orientation in the air.

Once your body leaves the ground all sorts of core muscles (inner muscles that you can't see, not even if you workout all the time) will kick in and try to keep you level and stable in the air. If you are flailing your arms about in the air going every which way then this is where the trampoline will help you.

Jumping straight up and down will get you use to being in the air. If you want to add more authenticity you can strap you snowboard on (just remember to tape the edges so you don't tear your trampoline). Now you are ready to practice some grabs.

Grab every spot on the board you can (between bidings only!) and just start playing around with it. Adding your own little tweaks to grabs on the trampoline will set you apart and develop your style for the snowboard slopes. For nose and tail grabs make sure you are grabbing the very tips of the board every time!


This is where a trampoline can come in really handy. Now, spinning/flipping on a trampoline is entirely different from executing the trick on your snowboard... there is no edge work, no transition, and no speed involved in the equation, but...

You can't just throw a 540 without knowing what it feels like to rotate a spin and a half. That's where the trampoline comes in.

When spinning/flipping on a trampoline there are several things to take into consideration:

1. Your orientation: are your legs tucked, are you relatively flat based in the air.
2. The windup: Concentrate on how you are initiating the spin. This will help you gauge how much force you need to bring the rotation around on the slopes.
3. Head position: Where are you looking as you do the spin? Think about doing the trick on your snowboard. Where do you need to be looking to bring the trick around completely? At what point during the spin do you spot your landing zone?
4. The landing: Are you landing a nice full rotation? Think about your edgework. The nice thing about snowboarding is that if you under rotate a spin you can kind of recover by sliding it through after the landing... but you need to make sure you are landing on the edge that's going to give not just dig into the snow and scorpion you down the landing.

In any rotation trick in snowboarding you can expect to be flying blindly through the air at some point. Practicing those in-air aspects on the trampoline eliminates a lot of that guesswork leaving only your approach up the transition to figure out.

Especially with inverts, you want to be landing on your back on a trampoline not hard-pack snow. Inverts put your head and neck in a good bit of danger, it's good to be sure you are going to land on your feet to some extent before you try it on hill, and that's where a trampoline comes in.

Once you start understanding these tricks more strap on a snowboard and start throwing in some grabs. Certain grabs aid certain rotations... you will have to play with it and find out what works best for you.


How can you practice a snowboard rail on a trampoline? Well you aren't going to practicing the slide that's for sure. First you are going to spray-paint or lay down a line of tape straight down the center of your trampoline. This line represents the box or rail.

See where I am going with this? Now you choose frontside, backside, switch, or regular and jump. This is practice mainly for 270s and above. It is a really good way to get used to staying on target while spinning.

As you do this you are gong to want to pay attention to several important on hill aspects: Make sure you are keeping a good bead on where the line is underneath you, it will help you so much later when you can land dead center on a rail every time.
Also keep in mind that if it were a rail or box you would be sliding after the fact... so take into account how you would angle your bodyweight to land flat based and slide.

Make sure you get comfortable with executing spins on hill before you go try 270s and whatnot because even though you will know how to complete the rotation and adjust to the slide angle, you will need to be comfortable spinning off a transition and getting your snowboard to go where you want.

This is pretty obvious but you should know and be pretty comfortable with all the slides and presses on all the kinds of jibs before you start going after 270s.

That's my trampoline snowboard practice guide. I cannot stress enough that these are only a means to an ends and you will still have to do a bit of tweaking to make it work on hill with your snowboard. I hope it helps or at least kills some of your summer downtime waiting for those local mountains to be white-capped once again.

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