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Tutorial: 5 Cool Snowboard Tricks for Beginners

You just got back from your first ever snowboarding trip, and you’re hooked! Or you have one coming up, and you want to be able to impress your friends. Either way, adding some snowboarding tricks to your arsenal is a great way to make your next snowboarding trip even more exhilarating than before.

Here are 5 cool snowboard tricks for beginners:

  1. Ollie
  2. Indy grab
  3. 50-50
  4. Tail press
  5. Frontside 180

In this article, I’ll go over the beginner snowboard tricks you need in your toolbox. I’ll also teach you how to progress your skills from beginner to intermediate and on to the world’s most insane tricks.

1. Ollie

An ollie is one of the first tricks that most people will try when they get on a board, and it should be the first trick you learn. Originally taken from skateboarding, an ollie requires good timing and some balance.

Image source: Snowboard Addiction

To do an ollie, you want to start by leaning back and putting most of your weight on your back leg. The power in this jump will be coming from that back leg while your front leg will be guiding the board. Next, you should lift your front leg, creating a bend in the board.

Finally, jump off of your back leg to propel yourself off of the ground. Remember to commit and really “pop” that back leg up. You can use your arms just as if you were jumping on solid ground! Once you’re in the air, you can bring your knees to your chest to maximize your air time. 

Now that you’re in the air, you need to land safely. To land, you need to ensure that you level out the board with the surface. Let yourself land softly and naturally with your weight in the center of the board. 

It’s best to learn an ollie on a flat surface, but you can quickly progress to doing it on a slope with more momentum. Once you get comfortable, you can do an ollie off of a jump to increase air time. 

This video gives a great demonstration of how to perform and progress your ollies:

The ollie can be turned into a different trick by reversing the instruction given above. If you load the weight on your front leg and kick up your back leg, you have now performed a nollie.

The ollie is used most frequently in freestyle snowboarding and it used to give you more time in the air to perform the more advanced tricks to be covered later. 

2. Indy Grab

An Indy grab is the easiest of the grabs and will feel the most natural and smooth compared to the melon or nose grabs.

To perform the indy grab, you need to start with getting a large amount of air. This is why we learned the ollie first; you will need a jump and do a well-performed ollie. Once in the air, you will reach in front of you with your backhand to grab the board in between your legs.

The way you are riding will determine which hand is grabbing the board. If you ride “regular” with the left foot forward, you will be performing the grab with your right hand, but if you ride “goofy” with your right foot forward, you will reach your left hand.

Landing after performing an indy grab is where most people struggle. It is easy to throw your balance off when reaching down during the trick. Ensure that you even out your board and land with your weight centered. Or ensure that you are positioned slightly toward the front edge of your board for more control.

This video has an excellent tutorial of this basic grab:

Two other basic grabs are the melon and the nose grab. The melon is the same as the indy grab, except you use your same hand to lean back and grab the heel side of the board. A nose grab is when you take your front hand and grab the front edge of the board.

When advancing to the melon, the nose grab, and beyond, it becomes much more difficult to maintain a proper landing position. Be sure to to master the indy grab before you move on to others. 

3. 50-50

The 50-50 is the first of many “slide” tricks to utilize a rail or box. First, you will need to identify the rail or box that you will be sliding on. This is important because finding a suitable surface to learn the 50/50 on is crucial. You should select a short, wide box low to the snow so that you don’t have to ollie.

Performing the 50/50 is simple. As you approach the box, you must be sure that you are centered with it. Any rotations or curves leading up to the box will likely throw you off balance. Once you’re on the box, you must keep a flat base throughout. It is much easier to lose balance on a hard surface without as much give as snow.

Once you reach the end of the box, you will need to perform a mini-Ollie to “pop” yourself off of the box. As always, be sure to land on the snow with the board even and your weight centered. 

As you progress the 50/50, you can look for longer, more narrow boxes or even progress to rails. You can also take on boxes or rails that are higher off the ground, so you have to ollie to get on them.

This is a video showing the 50/50 and how easy it is to learn:

The progression of the 50/50 is doing a backside boardslide. This is where as you ollie onto the rail or box, your back foot comes forward to where you’re now perpendicular with the box. It’s called a backslide slide because the backside or “heelside” of your board is sliding. 

4. Tail Press

A tail press is also known as a manual and is another foundational skill that will carry over to many advanced tricks. Learning to flex your board gets you comfortable with shifting your weight around your board, which should allow you more freedom in your riding.

Start by shifting your whole body directly over your back foot and straightening your front leg to perform the tail press. You will be leaning much further than if you were performing an ollie. As you shift back, the front end of the board will start to flex and lift off the ground.

This trick is all about learning balance on your board. If you don’t lean far enough, your board won’t lift, but you will end up on your back if you lean too far. It’s best to learn this trick while stationary so that it won’t hurt too bad if you do fall. 

This trick can easily be turned into a nose press instead. You can do it by shifting your hips forward over your front foot and straightening your back leg. Mastering the tail and nose press will help you become extremely comfortable with your balance on a snowboard. 

5. Frontside 180

The frontside 180 is the first rotation that you should learn. It is the most difficult trick to learn on this list, but if you can master it, you will be on your way to many more complex tricks. You can learn many variations for this trick because you can do it in the air or on the ground. 

The only prerequisite for this skill is being comfortable riding both “regular” and “goofy.” If you’re not familiar with these terms, that means you should be able to ride with your left foot forward and your right foot forward.

Image: Urban Shredderz

To start this trick, you should be on a slight slope. As you are riding, shift your weight back onto your heels. You should feel as if the board is about to slip out from underneath you. Start by swinging your back arm across to your opposite side while turning your head over your opposite shoulder. This will naturally rotate you and keep you going straight down the slope.

Remember that you will end up with the opposite foot forward from where you started. If you ride “regular” (left foot forward), you will swing your right arm, look over your left shoulder, and end up in a goofy stance. If you ride goofy, the instructions will be reversed. To get back to your preferred riding stance, you can perform the trick again. 

Once you’ve mastered this trick on the ground, you can take it to the air. The mechanics of the jump are the same, but the timing becomes much more critical. Get on your heel edge as you approach the jump, then as you hit the lip of the jump, you should pop and start the rotation at the same time. As you land, make sure your board is level and your shoulders, hips, and feet are all in line. 

This tutorial makes the frontside 180 in the air easy to learn:

A very similar beginner trick that you can perform is the backside 180. This is the same setup as the backside, except you are rotating towards your toes instead. To do this, you should lean on the toe edge of your board and look over your front shoulder. 

How Many Tricks You Can Do on a Snowboard?

Freestyle snowboarding is an art form. Every year, the best riders in the world can come up with new, creative displays of talent that show how versatile snowboarding can be. 

How many tricks you can do on a snowboard is only limited by your imagination and determination. Hundreds, maybe thousands of tricks can be done using variations or combos of the basic categories: straight airs, grabs, spins, flips and inverted rotations, inverted hand plants, slides, and stalls.

If you have a basic understanding of these different categories, then you can get more creative and impressive with your snowboarding. 

Straight Airs

Straight airs are simply when you use the force of your own body to jump with the board. This can be done on the ground, onto a box, or off of a jump. Ollies and nollies are the most common tricks within this category, making it a foundational skill without much room for variation. 

Grabs

The grabs are progressions of the indy grab and are when things can get creative. You can see by this image that there are many options when it comes to grabs, many of which have equally creative names. You can do one-handed grabs on various board locations using either your front or backhand. Also, you can also do double hand grabs such as the Cannonball or the Bloody Dracula.

Image: Wikipedia Commons

Spins

Spins are a progression from the front side 180. They are measured in 180-degree increments. You can do a 360 where you do a complete rotation up to 1800 where you do 5 full rotations! These rotations can also be done frontside (heels leading) or backside (toes leading). 

Flips and Inverted Rotations

Flips and inverted rotations are advanced tricks that often resemble gymnastics more than snowboarding. To perform these tricks, you will need a lot of air time. The basics of this category are the front flip and the backflip. 

You can add some creativity to these tricks by including some spins and rotations while flipping. The most common method of doing this is called a “cork” spin. According to Jedidiah Tan, a snowboarding expert, a corked spin is when the rider doesn’t just spin side to side but also tilts their body by spinning up and down. 

Inverted Hand Plants

Inverted hand plants are a fancy way of saying “handstand with a snowboard,” but this is precisely how they look and feel. These tricks are usually done on the lip of a halfpipe to add some creative flair to the rider’s run. 

Slides

Slides are the category of the 50/50 we discussed earlier. This category includes any tricks performed along the surface of a box or rail. You can slide in many different orientations and balance points to increase the technical difficulty of the skill while also increasing style points.

Stalls

Stalls are the last category of the trick and are hard to define strictly. They are performed on a halfpipe run where the rider will use a part of the board to pause in the halfpipe momentarily. 

What Is the Hardest Snowboarding Trick?

The hardest snowboarding trick is the 1800 quadruple cork trick performed by Billy Morgan. This insane trick involves the rider flipping four times while also spinning five complete rotations on a sideways axis. Many riders believed this trick to be impossible, but Bill Morgan completed it in 2015.

Because snowboarding is such an art, defining the hardest trick is near impossible. Riders are consistently pushing the boundaries of the sport and introducing new tricks every year. Due to this fact, the most challenging trick title can be given when something has been performed only once. 

But even tricks that are classified as “beginner” may not be easy at first. You may get frustrated trying to learn new tricks, but don’t give up too soon! Beginner tricks will be the foundation that you will lean on as you become a more experienced snowboarder. 

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