When inexperienced skiers and boarders look down into a freestyle park, they’re hit with the acknowledgement of park stigma. The jumps are huge. The park is daunting. This isn’t a place for beginners to experiment. This terrain was featured in the X Games, right? While most of us might get stuck in our heads, there are a few ways to approach new parks and hit features you’ve never tried. Freestyle parks are some of the most exciting parts of a ski resort, and nailing tricks can be incredibly rewarding. If you’re hesitating to try a park’s features, here are a few steps to get you going.
- Work your way up. If you’ve never hit a 10-footer, start smaller. Most resorts will have a variety of parks or features designed for most skill levels. Master the jumps in your wheelhouse, then move on when you’re comfortable. If you’ve never caught air before, try fashioning your own tiny jump at the end of a decline, or check the edges of a trail for opportunities for small jumps.
- Watch others. This is the best way to approach new and unfamiliar features. Watch other skiers and snowboarders hit them. This can show you the appropriate speed you’ll need to ace the feature, and it will also help you figure out the best way to approach the jumps.
- Check your speed. Speed checking is a great way to first approach a jump. Go into the feature as though you are going to hit it, but stop at the top or cut out just in front of the jump. This will allow you to grow comfortable with the approach, and you’ll be able to better estimate how fast you’ll need to go into the jump to succeed.
- Have confidence. Just because a jump or feature is unfamiliar doesn’t mean you’re not going to ace it! Approach a feature as you would something you’re comfortable doing. You’ve already mastered smaller alternatives—this is just the next step. Plus, what’s the worst that could happen?