Snowboard and Ski Aerial Skills – Risk or Reward
Every year snowboarders and skiers are getting hurt because they want to try the cool tricks they see in the videos. The usual method of them learning is to go out and just ‘huck and chuck’ off a jump and hope they make it around and not land on their head. Too many kids are getting seriously injured and we want to help reduce the number of injuries each year. The result of these injuries is dramatic. If the injured rider is lucky they may only end up with months of inactivity while they heal. Unfortunately the harsh reality is that the injured too often ends up with life-long pain, long term disability, brain damage, paralysis, or even on occasion death. At Millcreek Gymnastics and Cheer we teach snowboarders and skiers how to flip on their boards so they can learn in a safer way.
We are seeing a trend where riders are getting hurt more in terrain parks than anywhere else on the mountain. Most often when attempting tricks off the jumps. Not only are there more injuries but the injuries sustained in the parks tend to be more severe. According to studies done in three countries, including the US, on the nature of snowboard and ski injuries “individuals injured in a terrain park were more likely to sustain head/face, back and neck injuries. More boarders injured in terrain parks required admission to hospital and were 23% more likely to need transportation to hospital. Video analyses performed in the USA have shown that in particular, landing inverted in a terrain park after a jump goes wrong is bad news. Not rocket science of course, but further proof that you really need to be sure you know what you are doing before trying these things out. Of those injured in a terrain park, 92% reported themselves to be experts.”
Parents never want their child to get hurt. They also know that their kids are going to try things whether they tell them how dangerous it is or not. This program is specifically designed to educate snowboarders and skiers on the potential dangers and on how to properly execute the skills. Most importantly they get to practice executing the skills so they have a better chance at safe attempts when they do try it on the snow.
Our program teaches boarders ‘air awareness’, which is the skill of knowing your position in the air relative to the ground. People with good air awareness are better at aligning their bodies properly to keep from landing on their head, neck or back. They also develop a sense of how to fall more effectively to minimize injury. Creating air awareness comes down to practice. In our program people can develop that air awareness in a safer, more controlled environment.
The professionals at terrainparksafety.org state that “If your skiing/riding experience has been more “surface,” rather than “air” oriented, then developing air-awareness and balancing is a great place to start. [On] the trampoline the athlete controls the size of air, and the amount of repetition and practice for a given amount of time is unparalleled by other environments. The athlete can also focus on timing, spatial awareness, and kinesthetic awareness, while not having to worry about slope traffic, speed, and skiing/riding skills all at the same time.” Being in a bungee belt system improves upon this by allowing the athlete to practice with their skis or snowboard on. Trying the skills on a trampoline without the use of a bungee belt system is just as dangerous (possibly more dangerous) than trying it on the snow. By using the bungee system athletes do not need to focus on a correct landing while first learning the skills. The point when you land or impact the ground is when injury occurs. Whether it is a trampoline, snow, pavement, or a steel rail you get hurt when you hit it in an unexpected way. The bungee system teaches you how to master everything in the air so that you can properly position yourself to land correctly or land in a safer manner.
With the prevalence of higher level skills and more people attempting these skills the old methods for learning are no longer sufficient. We have seen the effects of just going for it and unfortunately too often it ends in disaster. Today’s snowboarders and skiers need a safer way to learn the aerial skills they want to master. Bouncing and flipping in the bungee belt teaches riders how to: prevent injuries, improve their technique, learn higher level skills (like the corked out tricks you see in the videos), and most importantly it teaches them air awareness. Our bungee belt training program provides the way to learn in a safer manner and makes it fun at the same time.