Turn Tricks

Ramp up your winter repertoire with new skiing and snowboarding skillz, brought to you by the pros who know.

Kent Kreitler shows off one of the tricks of his trade.     Photo: Adam Clark/TGR

We're sitting in a packed bar at the Breckenridge Brewing Company on a recent afternoon watching ski porn over pints of Avalanche Ale. On the screen, top winter athletes carve pristine lines across acres of fresh pow, catching air off 40-foot cliffs in true fusion style. Every few minutes the bar erupts with a chorus of disbelieving epithets. With sick new tricks being invented everyday, looking sexy on the slope has never been easier. But how do you pull off big hucks without biting it in front of your adoring fans? Not to worry, we've enlisted the advice of some of winter's hottest athletes, as well as visual cues from TGR's new flick, High Life, to help you up your ski-cool quotient. Here's a crash course:

Wear Your Helmet: 180 Safety Grab from Marc-Andre Belliveau
Don't let the name fool you: This half-spin with a below-the-boot grab can mess you up. Ask Marc-Andre Belliveau, a wily 23-year-old French Canadian who regularly pulls this grab 720-style while shooting 15-foot gaps. "If your balance is off, the slope is going to look real nice," he says with a laugh. "Nice and close." (Watch the video)

Before You Try: Since you land backwards, learning to ski "fakie" (backwards) is essential. Belliveau suggests finding a flat slope, doing a half-spin, making a few fakie turns, and then spinning back. "You should be looking around your shoulder, not over it," he says.

Approach: "You don't need a ton of air for this trick, so find a small bump or mogul to start out," Belliveau advises. As you come up the jump, keep your skis straight and don't dig in either edge. Get into a half-tucked position, bent slightly at the knees and waist.

Takeoff: Welcome to Popping 101: As you hit the lip of the jump, hop straight into the air like you're not wearing skis. Doing so gives you enough air to pull the spin, and gets your legs moving toward your upper body. Don't worry about winding up before leaving the jump. "Think about popping first," says Belliveau. "Once you're in the air, think about the spin."

Airborne: Now that you've got air, start to spin by twisting your head and shoulders in the direction you want to turn. Meanwhile, tuck your legs underneath you, keeping balanced over your skis, and make the grab with the hand you're turning toward (so if you're spinning clockwise, grab behind your right boot with your right hand). "Beginners mess up when they bring their skis to one side making the grab. Keep compact and centered," Belliveau warns.

Landing: Leaning too far uphill will put you on your face, too far downhill on your back. Find the right balance by keeping your eyes on the landing spot until you're about three-quarters of the way around the 180, then look directly uphill just before you hit. Land and ski fakie, slowing your speed down gradually until you can turn around.

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