Shredding The Halfpipe
Airs in the halfpipe are always cool because you have an audience-everyone is hikin’ the pipe. So if you’re into showin’ off your sweet moves, a smooth backside air is the trick for you.
The first thing you need to learn is carving well on your heelside edge. Being able to hold an edge up the wall is the most important aspect of learning backside airs in the U-ditch. Take a couple free runs just carving-pretend you’re a racer, and perfect holding that heelside edge.
1. After you get done carving it up, cruise over to the halfpipe-dialing some forward lean into your highbacks works wonders, too. Drop in and bend your knees across the flatbottom. Bending your knees will help you in every aspect of snowboarding. That’s all a snowboard coach really ever needs to say: “Bend your knees.” Don’t tell the USSA though, ’cause those coaches get paid bank.
2. Head up the backside wall with your knees bent, holding a solid line on your heels. Keep your eyes locked on the top of the lip where you want to take off from-try to take off at that very point. You don’t need to jump-the vert section of the halfpipe should send you straight up into the air.
3. Get stoked! You’re airborne floating backside-this is the main goal when riding halfpipe. It’s way harder than learning frontside airs.
4. Grab that board backside pretty quickly. As you approach the apex of your air-that moment of weightlessness-tweak it out and extend your back leg.
5. Take a look down at the lip to see where you’re going to land while you style out the backside. It’s like landing on a hip-if you land on the deck or flatbottom, it’ll hurt. Try to land right back in the transition.
6. Touch back down on the vert section at the top of the halfpipe, balanced over your shred stick and flatbased. Now transfer back to your toe edge and pump the transition toward the frontside wall. And remember to always bend your knees.
“Dialing some forward lean into your highbacks works wonders.”-Chad Otterstrom