Water Ramps

Skiers & Snowboarders gain speed on a sloped in-run, covered with a plastic artificial snow surface, then launch off different sized kickers and land in water. Compared to most snow sites, it’s a safer and easier way to learn tricks whether your training for Bumps, Freeride or Old School Aerials. Most pools aren’t heated so you may want to Order Dry Suits

Some Water Ramp Locations:

Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah www.utaholympicpark.com

Kodak Park in Lake Placid, New York http://www.whiteface.com/activities/summer-jumping-series

Lac Beauport, Quebec, Canada www.acrobatx.com

Jump In near Zurich, Switzerland www.jumpin.ch

Acrobat Park in Stity, Czech Republic www.acrobatpark.com

Blackcomb, BC, Canada

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Danube Island in Vienna, Astria

SNS Kickoff in Suessenbrunn, Austria

Letni Center in Celje (Smartinsko Jezero), Slovenija

Two or three in China


The best trampoline equipment is made by www.ReboundProducts.com

You can use regular snowboards and skis but if you plan to do more than a single flip, you’ll need to order water ramp skis from Goode or learn How to Fiberglass Your Skis   

Summer Camps

Aerial, Trampoline, Mogul & Freeride camp:  www.freestyleamerica.com

Water Ramps in Canada

The facility in Lac Beauport is one of two water ramps in Canada that trains National team athletes, the other being the water ramp in Whistler, B.C. These two locations have the best facilities in Canada, while the beginner  level facilities include Grand Prairie, Red Deer, Beaver Valley and Saint Hippolyte.

The Importance of Trampolines & Water

Following is my response to a Snowboard coach who needed to “persuade Risk Management that training off-snow on a diving board or trampoline is not only good for training, but safer than practicing tricks on-snow.”

Deep powder snow landings could be as safe or even safer than any other landing. However, those conditions are very rare and most skiers and snowboarders do not understand the significant differences between snow conditions that may look the same but are extremely different. Even a familiar site can change drastically throughout the day and even in four feat of powder, there can be tree stumps or rocks hidden just a couple inches below the surface.

Serious injuries in sports are most often the result of athletes trying to do more than they are prepared to do. It is impossible to prepare for a big step from one skill to the next without finding smaller steps that safely bridge the gap between what would otherwise be a potentially dangerous leap of faith. In addition to the safety benefits, if an athlete is allowed to take smaller steps, each new skill is learned more precisely and becomes more natural so that it is performed instinctively. Once a skill can be performed without thinking about it, the athlete is then free to focus on adding the next skill. This process ultimately increases the quality of the most difficult skills.

The key to maintaining limitless potential is to continue to strengthen and expand one’s foundation. The foundation for a new trick includes not only the quality of the most basic trick but also each level between each trick. For example, if an athlete can performing a 360 landing squarely but their 720 lands off-center, they might never fix the 720 without learning to land square on a 540 first but even going from 360 to 540 can be a big step for some. That’s why landing in water, on a trampoline or in a foam pit makes it easier to progress from one trick to the next. It allows athletes to focus on the quality of the skill without worrying about which direction they end up facing. Much time, effort and frustration is wasted when the athlete’s number one goal is to complete a new trick rather than focusing on performing portions of the maneuver properly.

The easiest, safest and most lasting changes are usually made in relatively small increments. If an athlete wants to learn a double flip for example, it can be learned one quarter flip at a time by first learning 1&1/4 into the pit, then 1&1/2 into water, then 1&3/4 into the pit then a double into water or a pit. Just doing the tricks is not nearly enough. The biggest mistake I see athletes and coaches make most often is  thinking that merely performing a skill and living to tell about it means that the athlete is ready to move on to the next skill.  The athlete should be good enough at each step to perform it on different apparatuses with a wide variety of speeds, height and intensity while maintaining good visual contact with the landing surface and making mid-air corrections in order to land accurately and consistently before moving on to the next step or attempting that skill on snow.

Many athletes spend there entire careers accepting that significant flaws are there to stay and they may never reach the top of the podium because those flaws either hurt scores, cause injuries or limit there potential to add new skills. Ultimately a drive to succeed is the most important factor but it cannot stand alone. It is that determination that motivates the best athletes to realistically examine every part of their performance from every angle.  Those who find the most small steps between short term goals and have the patience to master each step before moving on are usually the one’s who reach the highest level.

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