While we wait: How to backflip on skis in 3 simple steps

Snowminds August 19, 2019

No matter if you’re a ski instructor or a park rat, the backflip has always been on most snow enthusiasts bucket list and is undeniably the crowd-pleaser trick number 1!
Also, if you’re teaching a group of kids and you have a hard time earning their respect, try to bring them to the snowpark and show them a backflip, that will definitely make them do whatever you want. 

Below you will find a step-by-step guide, to prepare yourself for doing the backflip during your season in the snow, enjoy!


Step 1. Get in shape!

A backflip is not just about leaning back, relaxing, and hope for the best. It takes pure muscle, both in the take-off, in the air and during the landing.
So the first thing you need to do is to get those thighs and core muscles ready. If you’re travelling with Snowminds you will receive (or have already) a comprehensive 3 months training program made together with a specialized physiotherapist from FYSIQ, which will make sure you have the muscles it takes for skiing and backflipping!
Otherwise, you can start off with the 5 best ski exercises here

Step 2. Learn how to do the backflip

If you can’t do a backflip on a trampoline or into the water you shouldn’t try it on the snow either. It’s about being comfortable in the feeling of throwing yourself backwards, and if you’re not comfortable then you will most likely stress out mid-air when your head is downwards which isn’t optimal.

So, what you’re gonna do if you can’t do a backflip:

  • Put out a mattress on the ground and practice a lot of backrolls until you have good speed, and feel comfortable doing it.
  • Go to a swimming pool with a diving board or a jumping platform. 
    • Start by standing on the edge, facing backwards and jump back into the water a couple of times until you feel comfortable doing it. Before you take off, start tilting towards the water and then do the takeoff when you’re between 20-30 degrees. This will make sure that you always jump away from the edge so you won’t hit it in your upcoming backflip attempts!
    • Once you’ve made at least 3 successful backward jumps with good distance from the takeoff point in a row, you’re ready to try the backflip. 
      • Stand on the edge facing backwards
      • Start tilting towards the water
      • Take off with your whole body, including your arms, and take your arms over your head, and push your hip forward in the same motion.
      • Once you’re in the air, you should keep looking backwards while tucking in your arms and legs as a cannonball – this will speed up the rotation. 
      • When you spot the landing, in this case, the surface of the water, you straighten out your body again to slow down the rotation so you land perfectly on your feet without over-rotating. 
    • If it works, repeat until you’ve landed the backflip perfectly in the water 10 times in a row – then you’re ready to take it to the snow!

Step 3. Wait for the snow!

Now you’ve done the groundwork for doing a successful backflip in the snow. If you’re not too confident in your skills yet, I would recommend building a small steep kicker (jump) in the backcountry so you have a soft landing!

The jump shouldn’t be too big either since most people have tendencies of over-rotating their first backflip attempts due to the nerves (it is pretty nerve-wracking to try it the first time). The airtime of the jump should be equivalent (or a little more) to the airtime when you did the backflip in the swimming pool.

When you’ve found the perfect jump for your first backflip, you should be doing the following:

  • Hit the jumps a couple of times to be sure you have a perfect speed every time
  • For the backflip attempt, spread out your legs a little, and time your takeoff so you lift off from the snow, once the edge of the kicker is below your feet.
  • Take off with the whole body, including your arms, and shoot forward your hips. Keep looking for the landing with your head while you tuck in legs and arms. Once you spot the landing, straighten out your body and tighten up your muscles to absorb the impact. 

Hopefully, everything went smoothly, and you’ve now landed your first backflip! But there is an unwritten rule that says, you haven’t learned a new trick before you’ve done it three times in a row. So grab your skis and do it two more times!

Then you can go to the aprés ski and brag 🙂

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Did you know our  5-week instructor course in Austria has a full day of Freestyle teaching?!

See more about our 5-week instructor course in Austria here, or check out our other courses here!

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