SINCE THE early days of freestyle skiing, trampolines have been key training tools for elite athletes looking to develop new aerial tricks. More recently, as terrain parks have become standard fare at mountain resorts, trampoline training has become more popular—and more accessible. A cadre of facilities now offer classes that guide amateurs through skills progressions for building strength, flexibility, and aerial awareness, even if you're only looking to add a little pop to your powder turns. Among them, San Francisco's House of Air (houseofair.com) is the most sophisticated, with a huge octagonal trampoline designed for bouncing while strapped into skis or a snowboard, time-delay cameras that capture your jumps for display on a large screen, and a trampoline wall for halfpipe-style tricks. Here, program manager Andreas Apostol details four basic, foundational moves that can be mastered on a simple gym trampoline or even the living room carpet. Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps of each exercise a few times per week.
When jumping, keep your feet shoulder width apart and your eyes forward, not down. As your feet leave the trampoline, tighten your core without dropping your chest to maintain a stable position in the air. Land with your feet shoulder width apart.
THE MOVE: TUCK JUMP
This is the most stable position for skiers in the air. Proper form here will serve as a base for advanced jumps and park tricks.
1. Hold a straight jump as your feet leave the trampoline.
2. Bring your knees up to your chest and grab your shins with your arms.
3. As you come down, release your legs to a straight landing position and bring your hands up toward your ears.
THE MOVE: STRADDLE JUMP
Nailing this will increase your mobility and flexibility. It's also great exercise for strengthening your hips, which will help you carve more easily.
1. Once you're in the air, kick your legs out to the side and slightly in front of you, similar to the splits.
2. Reach your arms out toward your feet, but don't worry about touching your toes. The goal is to feel an easy stretch.
THE MOVE: PIKE JUMP
With this exercise, you'll develop the proprioceptive signals that tell your body how to react to certain motions, such as losing your balance after catching an edge and over- or under-rotating during a jump.
1. Once in the air, lift your legs straight out in front of you, keeping them together, and extend your arms toward your feet. If you feel like you're falling forward, lift up more with your legs. If you're falling backward, extend farther forward with your arms.
2. The goal is to reach your toes.
THE MOVE: 360
This is the first spin trick, and it will help you learn how to rotate in the air and land confidently.
1. As you sink into the trampoline, with your feet just wider than shoulder width apart, bend your knees slightly and cock your arms to one side.
2. As you take off, hold your chest and core -upright. Lead with your head, and initiate the 360 by rotating your arms from one side of your body to the other.
3. When you come around and see the landing, release your arms to slow the spin.
4. Position your legs shoulder width apart for
a stable landing.
Illustrations by CHRIS PHILPOT