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Vol. 1 No. 5

A Basin Comp

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Switch 180. Photos: Chase Jarvis Location: Breckenridge, CO

Go Switch. by Luke Miller

Back in Issue 3, Oscar mentioned the dire possibility of landing backwards while trying a 360. In fact, that's what happened to me on my first 360 attempt- just a 180. Little did I know,10 years later, switch take-off and landing would be intentional. Granted, not a lot of tele skiers are going fakie, but for those who are, and those who want to, I present the following tips on how to take off and land with your butt facing downhill.

Step 1: Get some twin tips. (while it can be done on regular skis, everything is easier with twins)

Step 2. Go ski backwards on some nice green groomers. It's important to get the feel of skiing backwards, carrying some speed and looking over your shoulder. Some things to work on here:

- Try to keep your skis straight. There is an initial tendency to want to do the reverse snowplow. Work on turning to control your speed. Yes, you can do switch tele turns.

- Pick one shoulder to look over. You'll end up looking over both, especially if you're making turns, but when it comes to take-offs, you want a good comfort zone. If you plan on spinning, look over the same shoulder and in the same direction you spin.

Step 3. Take off. This is much easier than it seems. Once in the air, your natural rotation will spin you around facing forward. Depending on the lead into the jump, you can start out normal and hop to switch just before the jump, or just drop in backwards & ride it in. Look over your shoulder, stay relaxed & keep your knees bent. Don't try to spin until you are in the air.

Step 4. Landings. Here's where the fun starts. The main thing is to start out small. Try just popping off a small bump in the run, spin 180 & land switch - never more than a few inches off the ground. Once you've mastered this, it's time to try it in the terrain park. Stay relaxed! Like Mario!

Click for Photo Illustration: Luke landing switch in the tele position.

The key elements: keep your head up, & land in a tele stance. This is critical to your fore-aft stability. You don't want to land on your face, do you? Once you nail the fakie-to-forward 180 & the forward-to-fakie 180, then it's time to step it up. Go for switch 360's and forward-to-fakie 540's!

Luke Miller 540. Photos: Justin Machus Location: Arapahoe Basin, CO

More Rip Tips:

Drop a cliff, Do a 360, Airtime!

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