Spot Your Landing

One of the main things I was interested in trying/developing whilst in Avoriaz was using my head/shoulders to help with the rotation on frontside 3s. I was quite sure that where I was looking whilst in the air was stopping the last part of the 360 rotation

But now I’m not sure that that’s the whole story. Sure, it’s important/necessary to use your shoulders and head to lead the spin, but I now think that part of my problem has been not spotting my landing.

So what do people mean when they say “spot your landing”? Well I’ve always thought that the concept is pretty simple: before you land, if you wanna land well, you’ve got to see the landing coming. Seeing the landing helps you prepare; think of the extreme case of hitting a kicker blind folded…

At the same time however, I’ve also assumed that this was something done more easily on bigger jumps, when you’ve got more time. And, that while I’ve been developing on smaller stuff it’s something that I don’t need to think about too much.

So perhaps it’s the case that I simply haven’t hit enough jumps? Maybe I haven’t been thinking about it when I should have been? Maybe writing more words than “dude, make sure you spot your landing” is over analysing the issue? I don’t know…

What I do know is that a couple of small adjustments in Avoriaz felt really promising. It all started when I was watching Jumping With Jussi, which by the way, I will be reviewing some time soon. I was keen to see what advice was given to “using your head/shoulders” during a frontside 3. I noticed that Jussi was often looking down, or down-and-back-a-little, in order to see the landing…

I’m not sure why, but I always thought that with a frontside 3 you needed to get your head all the way back round to forwards before “spotting the landing” came in to play. But I don’t think that’s true. You can see the landing much sooner than that.

Well, at least that’s what I started to feel when I was experimenting with this. I was approaching the kicker thinking look back over the left shoulder to lead the spin. As I did so I was like hey, I can see the ground coming. It wasn’t so bad committing to the spin and it became easier to put the board down straight.

This, I believe, is why I’ve always felt comfortable with frontside 180: you’re always looking forwards and you don’t need to consciously think about seeing the landing – it comes naturally.

In fact, I also think that this is where my aversion to spinning backsid has developed from. I got comfortable with the FS 180, first jibbing on the piste, then hitting little jumps on the piste and then hitting kickers. My comfort lies in the ability to “put the board down flat” – to stomp it. Building my way up, confidence came from success. The frontside 3 followed on from the 180, but to be honest, the fronside 180 is the only (non-straight) air that I really put down clean. The others are all a little sketchy (but hopefully improving!).

It seems kinda crazy when I think about it, but it seems that up until now, I haven’t really thought about looking in the right places to prepare for landing. Experimenting with spinning backside, little ollies on the piste and some more floaty stuff on the kicker, was really nice. It felt a lot easier to land flat based.

This is nothing ground-breaking; it’s pretty basic to be honest. And maybe I’m the only guy out there to not have given it due thought? But just in case, my advice is this: regardless of whether it’s a small or big jump, think about spotting your landing.

People are known to travel more during the december holidays, because of the cheap flights as well as the cruises opportunity.


  • Reply April 13, 2010


    I’ve never really did too many frontside spins. My first 360 attempt last year ended up with a broken wrist and bloody face. I ride goofy, and my right leg is much stronger than my left leg. I also feel much more comfortable taking off on my toes. My first stomped spins were backside 180’s and they progressed into BS 3’s and few BS 5’s when I wasn’t riding a sheet of ice. I too watched Jumping with Jussi, and my favorite advice that he gave on the frontside 3 was to think of it as a quick frontside 180 and do a smooth backside 180 for the remainder of your spin. I owned a trampoline last summer and that helped alot with keeping straight in the air to spin past 3. On a backside 3 I used to cork it, and kind of uncork it on the last 180, but when doing 5’s on a trampoline I kept landing on my side. I’ve been trying this year to spin with my head above the board instead of starting the spin sideways (atleast until I get better at the un-corking part). And the goofy/right footed part I wanted to mention was that when I spin switch, its much easier to leave my heal because I ollie off my stronger foot. I can do cab 5’s like its nothing off nuckles, but I don’t have the balls to try it on a jump yet. I’m just sticking to the rails until the ice here melts and I can enjoy some spring riding.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Hey Justin, I’m glad you mentioned that about the advice that Jussi gave on the frontside 3. That’ what I was trying to say in the post about seeing the landing sooner.As I’ve heard it, with a backside 180 you look down, between your feet to see the landing. So you can see the landing quite soon, at least when you’re half way there (90 degrees).This is what I was finding with the frontside 3. As I was going a little past the first 180, I could look down on the second half of the spin to see the landing. Bonus.Owning a trampoline? That’s pretty sick! I’ve always thought that would help in some way, but I’ve never spoken to someone who has tried one with their board strapper on.Keep riding mate, and thaks for the comment!

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