So here's the scenario: you've just ventured into the pipe for the first time this season and have finally mustered up the courage to take enough speed through it to make it out of the lip. Which you should totally give yourself a pat on the back for by the way, especially if you were riding a 22 foot beast.
Now, giant, icy halfpipes are one of the most challenging and technical features you can ride on a snowboard and they requires some pretty serious edging and timing skills. But once you've got the speed and the feel of the walls dialled and can do a solid frontside and backside air, it's time to think about learning some basic tricks.
Over the following pages are 6 tricks to think about giving a go once you're at that point:[splitpost intro="true"]
[part title="Air to Fakie"]
Air to fakies are actually a little harder than you might initially think, especially if you're aiming to go big. Try to approach the lip a little straighter than you would for say, a frontside air, but don't go so straight that you don't travel down the pipe at all. Drifting slightly down the pipe is ok and will help you with your line going into the next wall.
Once you start coming back down into the pipe, try to kind of look down past your tail and try and figure out when you need to extend your legs again to make contact with the pipe wall.
As with all tricks it makes sense to start small and work your way up but once mastered, the air to fakie is a stylish little number. Tailgrab and indy nosebone work particularly well.
[part title="Backside Alley Oop"]
Although 'Alley-oop' sounds like something a frenchman would utter following the untimely passing of wind, it's actually a term that describes a spin in the opposite direction to your overall direction of movement. Essentially, an alley-oop in a halfpipe is when the direction of your spin is back up the pipe.
Take a look at Peetu Piiroinen's backside one here. Backside alley oops feel fairly similar to backside 360s on kickers, so you should have a decent one under your belt before attempting these. Once again, the trick is to not go too straight up the pipe but to take the kind of line you'd take for a normal frontside air.
Rather than popping back of the wall, try to project your momentum up out of the pipe and rotate your head and shoulders to initiate the spin. You won't need all that much rotation for these bad boys.
[part title="Frontside 360"]
If you can do a frontside 180 off your toeside edge on a kicker, or off a side hit, chances are you'll be able to do a frontside 360 in the pipe. The two tricks feel pretty similar and in both you'll be landing switch (it's a little hard to get your head around at first but watch the video of James Foster doing one above and you should be able to figure it out).
Again, you wanna be approaching the toeside wall as if you were going to do a frontside air but instead of keeping your shoulder lined up with your board when you leave the lip, this time rotate your head and lead shoulder a little more to initiate the 360.
The nice thing about frontside 360s is that you can pretty much spot your landing for the whole spin, so once you're looking directly down the pipe keep turning your shoulders so that you land in the transition nice and straight (and if possible, slightly on your toeside edge).
[part title="Cab 360"]
Just stomped a bolts front 3? Try linking straight into a cab 360. It's basically exactly the same but in reverse. And the best part? You come back into the pipe facing forward. Start to prewind by turning your shoulders slightly up the pipe as you reach the transition and unload all of that rotation as you leave the lip.
Make a conscious effort to hold your edge all the way up the wall and try to resist the temptation to start spinning early or you'll just end up losing all your pop.
[part title="Frontside 540"]
Once you've got front and cab 360s on lock front 5's are probably the next logical step. Basically the same as the front 3, but with a little more pop off the lip and a bit more snap with your shoulders/core.
[part title="Backside 540"]
Backside spins are considerably more difficult to get to grips with than frontside ones because everything is done off your heel edge. It's basically a fair bit harder to pop off your heels than your toes.
That said, we reckon that backside 540s are a tad easier to get to grips with than backside 360s because with those you land switch, setting you up for a switch backside hit on the next hit - which is really bloody hard.
A good place to start when you're thinking about learning to spin backside in the pipe is to try some backside 180s and 360s off your heel edge off sidehits. It'll get you used to popping and rotating off your heeledge. Once you're ready to take it to the pipe it's all about approaching with a good amount of speed, going a little straighter up than wall than you would for a frontside 540 (so that your board can flatten out and give you a little more area to pop off) and going for it with your head and shoulders.
If you get a good clean snap and enough rotation you'll find yourself coming around nicely as if you'd just done a cab 3. If you don't, you'll eat shit, but that's all part of learning right?
Go watch Christian Haller's backside 540 mute in the video above for some inspiration on this one. The dude SENDS IT.
After more trick videos/advice? Here are 8 rail tricks you should boss before you turn 25.