Whether you’re a beginner or advanced skier, learning how to jump on skis is a fun way to add some excitement to your skiing experience. With a few simple tips, you can be well on your way to mastering jumping on skis. You don’t even have to be too advanced to get started. Let’s get into the technique.
Must Haves for Jumping on Skis
In order to ski, all you really need are the right skis, a helmet, and the confidence to give it a try. Falls are going to happen but if you get up and keep going, you are going to start landing ski jumps. Just don’t go for the biggest ones at the start.
In order to ski well and safely, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
First, always keep your knees flexed and never let them lock. Second, maintain a good stance with your weight evenly distributed between your skis. Third, always stay in control and don’t let yourself get too confident – remember taking on a jump that is too big can get dangerous quickly.
I’ll touch more on the specific technique in just a moment but first, let’s look at which skis you should use for jumping.
Picking the Right Skis for Jumping
Picking the right skis for jumping can be tricky. Short skis are more maneuverable, but they can also be more difficult to control. Flexible skis are easier to turn but may not hold up well when landing jumps because of more bounce.
Ultimately, it is important to try out different skis and see what feels best for you. A medium-turn radius ski is usually the best if you plan to be doing a lot of terrain park riding and jumping.
If you are just starting out, it is probably best to go with shorter skis. They will be easier to control and you won’t have to worry about them getting caught on something when you land. As you become more comfortable with jumping, you can move up to longer skis.
Learning How To Jump on Skis: Starting Small
If you’re new to skiing, the thought of jumping may be daunting. I know when I started back in the day, all I could think of was falling but you have to get that mental hurdle out of your mind. When I used to ride the terrain park when I was younger, I now just hit little kickers on the trails themselves.
Don’t worry – with a little practice, you can learn to jump safely and confidently. I can’t overstate patience either.
Here are a few of my tips to get you started:
Start small. Choose a small jump and make sure there’s plenty of space around it. A flat area is ideal.
Go slowly at first. Build up speed gradually until you’re comfortable jumping at low speeds. You can even just start by jumping up and down in place. Sure, this is a far way from hitting a jump but you’ll get used to a tiny landing on your skis and finding stability.
Practice, practice, practice. The more you jump, the more confident you’ll become. Soon enough, you’ll be hitting the big jumps with ease! When you head to the terrain park, start with small jumps and boxes. Often I recommend skiers take a lesson at their resort before moving up to the larger jumps but for some, the progression is natural.
Controlling Your Skis and Body While Jumping
Jumping is a blast. It honestly feels freeing but it can also be one of the most dangerous things to do on skis, if you don’t know how to control your skis and body.
Here are some tips to help you control your body while jumping on skis.
- Don’t tense up. When you’re in the air, it’s tempting to tense up your muscles, but that can make it harder to control your skis. Relax as much as possible and let your body flow with the movement. This is going to transition into your landing and make it easier.
- Crouch down. When you’re about to take off, crouch down into a squat position. This will help you keep your balance and control your skis better when you land. It also helps you load up a bit of energy.
- No sudden movements. Once you’re in the air, resist the urge to make any sudden movements with your body or your skis. As a beginner, throwing off your weight at all can lead to a devastating landing crash. That’s what we are trying to avoid of course.
Landing a Jump on Skis
So you are up in the air, controlling your balance but how do you land a jump on skis? Here is what I focus on.
- Keep your eyes up. This will help you better gauge the landing and keep you from getting disoriented. Look where you want to go. Now is not the time to be looking down at the resort or off to your left or right at other skiers.
- Take the impact on your legs, not your back. This will help prevent injuries and keep you from falling backward. This goes back to having bent knees to absorb some of the shocks.
- Ski away slowly at first if possible. Once you’ve landed, take a few seconds to assess the situation and ensure everything is okay before skiing away at full speed again. Try to be mindful of other skiers that may be flying toward your landing zone.
Avoiding Crashes When Jumping on Skis
Crashes. Need I say more? Let’s try to avoid these folks. On the bright side, the more advanced you get with jumping on skis usually translates to less crashes.
You can avoid a lot of crashes by keeping these three pointers in mind:
- Start small. Don’t try to jump too high right away. Build up your confidence gradually by starting with small jumps and working your way up.
- Use the right technique. Make sure you’re using the correct technique when jumping. We’ve touched on what you need to do. This includes things like keeping your body in the proper position and keeping your eyes and head up throughout the jump.
- Be careful. Even if you’re using the right technique, it’s still possible to crash if you’re not careful. So, take things slowly at first and be cautious when jumping on skis. One crash can be a day-ender or worse, a season-ender.
Taking Your Jumps to the Terrain Park
If you really want to get into jumping then head over to the terrain park. Not only will get be able to watch some other great ski jumpers but you’ll be out of the way of trail riders. I know, I contradict myself since I still like to hit little kickers on the sides of the trails every now and then.
If you’re new to jumping in the terrain park, it’s important to start small and work your way up. I think I’ve said it a bunch of times but there is always one group who dares their buddy to hit something bigger than he is prepared for.
Begin by hitting small boxes and little jumps- get a feel for the timing and air awareness before progressing to the larger jumps. As you become more comfortable in the air, you can start hitting bigger features with more speed. Remember to have fun and stay safe!
Landing Bigger Ski Jumps: How to Progress
When it comes to progressing in ski jumping, the key is to keep working at it and perfecting your technique. Once you master the basics, you can start thinking about going bigger. But it’s important to maintain good form throughout the process.
Here are some tips for landing bigger ski jumps:
- Keep working at it. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at ski jumping. Spend your time in the terrain park, watch others and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Skiers are usually super helpful when someone is trying to learn.
- Master your technique. Make sure you have all the basics down before you start trying to go bigger. You should be lapping the small jump with ease before stepping up.
- Go bigger gradually. Don’t try to make huge leaps all at once – progress slowly and steadily. I know skiers want to go from small to big jumps all in a weekend but this progression can take a lot of the season. Give it time.
- Maintain good form throughout. It doesn’t matter if you are riding small or large jumps, you’ll need to utilize that good form in any jumps you try.
Final Thoughts on How to Jump on Skis
Learning how to jump on skis isn’t hard but it takes some confidence. As I mentioned, if you really want to get into ski jumping, do two things. Wear a helmet and take a terrain park lesson. This will help you learn how to jump correctly for a competent on slopes instructor and then you can go off and practice with the right techniques.
Give me a shout if you have any questions about jumping on your skis.