Where does this sequence start? Does it go this way? Is he regular-foot or goofy? Is that a 900? Or a 720 because he’s in the halfpipe? Are double grabs cool? Is that hard? Do you go off on your heeledge or flatbase? Is my haircut gay? What’s the difference between a 90 roll and a rodeo flip? Is that a fakie-to-fakie or a switch three? If questions like these come to mind when you’re studying sequences, and you actually care to find out the answers, you need to introduce yourself to modern day snowboarding. Figuring out sequences can be hard if the trick is confusing or you’re a rollerblader. You need to know what clues to look for that can help you piece together the puzzle and properly name the manuveye.
With a few handy reference points, anyone can decipher the worst fifteen frame, poorly lit, out of focus, night shot, and be the first one to shout it out. (If you want to be an industry geek, yell out the location and photographer of the sequence as well!) Here’s a few hints to get you started.
Step One-Check the stance of the rider to determine whether they are going regular or switch. If you don’t know a person’s direction, pull out some back issues and find their “Check Out.” This will show which stance any snowboarder uses. Another hint that usually works is to examine which binding has more angle-that should be the front foot. If they never got a Check Out, or you can’t see their feet, call their sponsor and ask if the rider is goofy or regular.
Step Two-Once you’ve established regular or switch, the next thing to do is determine whether the trick is frontside or backside. If you don’t understand this, there is no hope and you should be reading Snowboard Life, because in that mag it’s either a heelside carve or toeside slash.
Step Three-Determine the amount of rotations completed. Look closely, because every degree of spin in snowboarding is an extra claim. Count from the take-off and end when the rider touches down. Do not count pre-spins as an extra 90 degrees, and don’t add the 180 that got slid around when the rider bounced off his back and came up backward twenty feet down the hill.
Step Four-Is the easiest. What kind of grab is it? The most common are method, mute, tail, stalefish, and Indy. Remember there is no such thing as a frontside Indy-this is just a frontside air. Indy applies only when it’s backside and between the feet. A key part to identifying any sequence is the accuracy of the grab definition, so get it right.
Step Five-Finally, the key to reading any good sequence is identifying premium sticker placement. Get a 100-power or better loop and study the rider’s top sheet. Are main sponsors’ stickers dominant? Is there a creative arrangement of boot, eyewear, and clothing sponsors on the board? Is there the token, “Oh look, I skate, too,” sticker? Sticker placement is the most underrated element in snowboarding, kids, but its impact is felt all over the scene.
Piece all these clues together and you can be the first one in your circle to shout out the trick. “No way, that’s not a rodeo! That’s a switch frontside 540 mute. He pre-spun just a bit and slapped his hand down on the landing, but the sticker ribbon around his board and custom stomp-pad make up for that.”
# When Todd Richards is 80 years old he can look back and feel proud that he got to name a trick-the wet cat. It’s like a double McTwist. Snowboarding still isn’t nearly as cool as skateboarding, but Todd is tryin’ his best. Photos: Jeff Curtes
# The way Peter Line spins switch threes it’s hard to tell that he’s not regular-footed. He leaves the lip off his back foot, grabs tail, and rides away clean. I mean switch. Mt. Seymour. Photo’s Scott Serfas
# If this were 1988 and Jesse Fulton were on the Michelob Light Bump and Boogie Tour, the guy on the mic would have called this an insane crippler-to-fakie. I think Dave Dowd told me the kids today are callin’ it a frontside 540 rodeoo. It’s all the same. Photo’s Derek Kettela
# Sluggo’s one of the only people who can say he learns his tricks on a skateboard first then tries them on snow-what a ruler. 90 roll in Vancouver. Photo’s Jody Morris
# How much Mike could a Michalchuk chuck if a Michalchuk could chuck Mike? Mike’s goofy-footed, spinning backside, and was towed in behind a sled at 40-plus mph to hit this house of a kicker-you name it. Mammoth, California. Photo’s Torey Piro
# All the kickers at Snow Summit are technologically enhanced to propel you into perfect heelside rodeos with landing stabilizers built in that yield a 75-percent stomp rate. Jeremy Jones learned this trick in the more challenging backcountry powder landings of Utah, and with the sliding stomp scale he’s guaranteed to make nine of ten in So Cal! Photo’s Jeff Curtes