Home / Features / 20 steps to better snowboarding: gear, tips and tricks

20 steps to better snowboarding: gear, tips and tricks

Lewis Courtier-Jones of Team GB lets us in on some tricks of the trade, just in time for Sochi

Inspired by the Sochi Olympics to trade grimy British mud for moutain-loads of pristine powder this winter?

Pack these boarding tips from O’Neill’s Team GB freestyler Lewis Courtier-Jones.


GET STRETCHY: make time to warm up

When? Ideally at the top of the first slope. Will you, when you’re excited to get going? Nope. Is an injury cool? Nope. Well, then.

The backbend. Stand with your feet a shoulder width apart with hands on your lower back. After a deep breath in and out, slowly bend your shoulders and upper back backwards, hold for a few seconds and return to starting position.

Quad stretch. Lift one leg behind you, grasp your ankle – a challenge in board boots – and carefully pull your heel up until you feel a stretch. Keep your knees together, tighten stomach muscles, hold for ten seconds, release and do t’other.

Limb looseners. Roll your head around. Windmill your arms for 20. Stand on one leg while swinging the other fore and aft for 20. Laugh at yourself.

GET ETIQUETTE: be nice and reap the benefits

Don’t speed. Well, not unless you’re good enough to get away with it. You should be able to stop whenever and wherever you need to, in case a marmot runs out in front of you.

Don’t switch off. Be aware of what is happening around you. Headphones on the lift, off on the piste. It’s your responsibility to not collide with people downhill of you. You can never predict what others will do.

Don’t stop. Boarders have a bad rep for sitting in the middle of a slope. So go to the side. Never stop below jumps or rails.

GET TRICKY: take it to the next level

The ollie. It’s like a wave motion. Flex at the knees, move weight to rear foot, lift your front foot into the air and push off with back foot, using the board’s tail to pop you into the air. Whoop.

Straight air. Find a small jump or roller. Approach at a sensible speed, centred with the board flat on the snow. Pop your ollie 
at the lip of the jump, keep your board flat in the air and bend your legs ready for landing.

50/50. Try it on a flat straight box rail. Approach slow. Knees bent, eyes on the end of the box. Slide on… and off.

GET TWEAKY: time to play

1 In addition to progressive ride refining and fakie (riding the board the opposite way round), foot-out turns are great for practicing edge control and weight distribution – and good practice for getting off lifts too.

2 Leave your rear foot free and snug it up against the inside of the rear binding. Set off straight down the hill, nice and relaxed. Just ridin’ with my foot out.

3 Initiate a turn, controlling everything with your front foot. Incorrect weight positioning will be punished by falling over. Get faster, do more turns. You rule.

Tools of the trade

The app – Trick Bag (£1.49 iOS)
Ready to stomp some rad stunts? Avoid ‘yard sale’ crashes by consulting this snowboarding tricks library, which packs 96 instruction videos across five difficulty levels (though you’ll need the £1.49 upgrade to unlock all of the tricks).

Get it here

The read – Whitelines (
£27/year, iPad)
This image-led magazine is very much at home on an iPad, with its glorious visuals joined by insightful chinwags with pro riders and some handy trick tutorials. Look, that rider’s been practicing foot-out riding just like you.

Get it here

The movie – Out Cold (
£4, amazon.co.uk)
Goofy teen comedy. Think American Pie but set in the Colorado mountains. Expect slapstick stunts, radio-friendly rock and a healthy serving of ‘crispy’ snowboarding antics. Don’t expect morals, artistry or a tearful end.

Get it here