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Ollies & Switch Ollies
Basic ollies, moving ollies, switch ollies, etc.

Number of posts: 2

LTF Feedback
User: bmoore
Check out the online web demo to get an idea of what is covered on the CD for ollies and switch ollies. The online web demo is a Macromedia Flash application that has a number of video clips set in a similar environment to the CD-ROM.

We recommend that you have a high bandwidth connection (fast) to view the video clips. Enjoy!
User: bmoore
This is the text portion of the LTF CD-ROM for Ollies and Switch Ollies. There are video clips that go along with each section of the text.

Trick 1 - Ollies and Switch Ollies

Ollies are a fundamental building block for almost all freestyle tricks. The ollie was borrowed from skateboarding as a way to jump or make your board leave the snow.


Basic Riding Skills

Ollies are the starting point for most freeride tricks. Before you start doing ollies, make sure that you can ride a flat board and keep it straight, make turns on both edges to control your speed, and stop on both your toe and heel edges. These are the baisic riding skills and are used for all freeriding tricks and moves.

Switch Turns

If you are doing basic ollies (facing forward) you may not need switch riding skills. However, if you plan on doing switch ollies or ollies with any kind of rotation (180's or 360's), switch riding and turning skills are required. Switch riding is one of the most underdeveloped skills. If you're planning on improving your freestyle skills, spend some quality time on riding switch. This will help you with many of the more advanced tricks in the future.


Once you get into ollies and start playing with moving ollies (intermediate skill), you will need to know how to do a wheelie on your tail. In snowboarding terms, this is called a manual. The more comfortable you are distributing your weight to your back foot, the more stored energy you will have. By bending your board, it naturally wants to get back into alignment. If you release this energy at the right moment, you will add more pop (height) to your ollies. To learn more about manuals, check out the section on manuals and presses.

Moving Ollies

A moving ollie is required for all intermediate ollie-related skills. Moving ollies are covered in depth in the beginner section on this page. If you plan on doing ollie pokes, ollie grabs, manuals to ollies, switch ollies, or nollies (nose ollies), you need to be able to do a moving ollie. Make sure you are comfortable both in the air and on the ground. Moving ollies are a huge building block. They are a way to break away from the ground. Ollies are used to initiate many, if not all, of the more advanced freestyle tricks. Whether you are planning on hitting some rails, jumps, or any other features, it's a good idea to get comfortable with moving ollies first.


Jumping and Messing Around

A good way to get ready to do ollies and switch ollies is to jump around and pretend that you are doing some super cool tricks.

Ollies Without Board On

Find a level surface and take your board off. Make sure that you are not standing in a high traffic area and have plenty of space.

Start by shifting your weight to the front foot. Then rock back and pull the front foot up. Once the front foot is in the air, pull up the back foot. Both feet should be off the ground and your knees should be close to your chest. Land with both feet hitting at the same time.

Standing Still Ollies

Find a level surface and make sure that you are out of the way. Rock slightly forward and then start rocking back. As you start transfering your weight to the back foot, pull up on the front foot. This will make your tail bend and will help to build up pressure so that you can spring off of it. The pop comes from loading the tail and then unloading it. Once you are in the air, try to level out your feet and pull them up to your chest. You should land with both feet hitting at the same time (or fairly close to the same time).

Basic Bunny Hops

A bunny hop is different from an ollie in that both feet come off the ground at the same time. This is basically a small jump or hop. This is a good skill to practice and may be used as a correction or emergency move.

Basic Moves

Moving Ollies

For basic moving ollies, find a non-crowded, mellow, green pitch and start riding. Keep the base of the board flat. Ideally, you should be looking up and forward. It is very common to look down and watch your board the first couple of times. Try to lift your head and vision as soon as you are comfortable. At a slow to medium speed, pick a point as a goal to start your ollie.

Rock slightly forward weighting the nose of your board (this is a small prep move for building momentum). Once you are ready to initiate the ollie, start transfering your weight towards the back foot in a manual or wheelie type motion. This motion will help take the pressure off the front foot and will allow the front foot to start coming off the snow. The more pressure you build up on the tail of your board, the higher your ollie could be. This takes some practice to get the maximum pop out of your ollies.

Once the front foot is off the ground and the back foot is holding all the weight, pop the tail (jump or spring off the back foot) and start bringing both knees up to your chest area. At this point, it is critial to level off your feet so that your board is off the ground and level with the terrain you plan on landing on.

To land, try matching your shoulders, hips, and knees with the terrain you will be landing on. For flat ground, your feet should land as if you jumped off a chair onto the sidewalk. For landings on an incline, you will want to match the pitch or angle with your whole body (not just the feet). If you don't, then the riding away part might get a little tougher.

Intermediate Moves

Manuals to Ollies

Start out by doing a small wheelie which is called a manual (more details in the manual and presses section). While you are still in control, pressure the tail and do a normal ollie. This is great practice for those riders who are having a hard time doing an ollie from their tail and end up doing a nose ollie (nollie) by accident. This is a lead-in to more advanced tricks.

Switch Ollies

Switch ollies are very similar to normal ollies, except you approach and land backwards. When you first try switch ollies, it is very common to land on the new front foot (real back foot). This usually goes away with practice.

If you would like to get the most out of your switch ollies, try using forward pressure and then rocking back into the ollie. This helps set the rhythm and adds to the pop.

Nollies (Nose Ollies)

A nollie is the exact opposite of an ollie. For a nollie, you pressure the nose or leading tip and then pull up the back foot first. Once you are ready to pop the nose or leading tip off the ground, do so in a small jumping action. Once in the air, level off your feet and shoulders to the terrain you are landing on.

Sometimes, if a rider is trying to ollie really hard, and their timing is off, they will do a nollie and not even know it. Nollies can help spice up a run that you do all of the time. This little trick can add style to your run and opens up options for tip rolls and other advanced moves.

Common Mistakes

Head Down

When you first start to do ollies, it is very common to look down and watch your board and your feet. As you get more comfortable with this skill, try lifting your vision (eyes and head). If you do this, your options will open up, landings will be smoother, and you will be better able to put tricks back-to-back.

Landing in the Front Seat

Ideally, an ollie looks the smoothest if landed with both feet touching the ground at the same time. It is very common to land on the front foot, especially if you are trying to get a lot of boost (height) from your ollie. It is also very common to land forward when trying switch ollies. The problem usually deals with incorrect timing or getting too much pop (going too high) and often corrects itself with time and practice. If it doesn't, try to do smaller ollies and see if that corrects the problem. Keep it small and simple.

Tip: If you land in the front seat in the backcountry or in powder, well..., your day might be a little colder than just air temperature.

Landing in the Back Seat

For the most part, landing in the back seat on ollies happens when you are caught off guard or you don't match your shoulders and hips to the terrain you are landing on. If this happens, you will probably wreck or be slightly out of control for a period of time.

Landing on an Edge

When you land on an edge while doing an ollie, this usually means that you are looking down or not keeping the board underneath you. Keep your board flat when landing. If you do happen to land on your edge, be careful as this can rob you of speed and potentially may steer you into a turn. One of the easiest ways to correct this problem is to look where you want to go. This will keep your head and eyes up.

Tip: There are times when landing on an edge is a desirable outcome. Anytime you are traversing across the hill and want to continue in the same direction, you will need to land on the uphill edge. Spin tricks may also require a landing across the hill and onto an edge.

Misjudgment on Height

These are a couple of funny clips of slight misjudgment. Once you are in the air, there is little you can do to change the outcome of what is going to happen. Make sure that you are aware of what it will take to ollie on, ollie off, and ollie over the different features, both natural and man made.

Caution: Take into consideration what snow condition you are taking off from (packed, groomed, powder, ice, etc) and what you will be landing in (any number of different snow conditions). Look before you leap!


Bunny Hops in Use

Bunny hops are sometimes considered a lesser trick than an ollie. This clip shows some riders having some fun with bunny hops.

For the record, bunny hops are skills that will help in more advanced tricks and will be used in emergency situations and as a recovery tool. Bunny hops can also be used when there is little or no time to do a set-up and do a real ollie. Bunny hops are also used by riders who are self-taught and shows the creativeness of the athlete. Riders who can blend the skills of ollies and bunny hops have the advantage of being able to use whatever the situation requires.

Ollies, Ollies, Ollies

Ollies are the basic building blocks for almost all freestyle tricks and moves. This is a clip of riders having fun with ollies in different situations.

Next Steps and Style Points

Ollie Pokes

Once you are comfortable with basic ollies, you can add some fun and style by doing shifties, pokes, and waggles.

Ollie Grabs

Another fun variation to basic ollies are doing ollie grabs. This is somewhat of an advanced skill and requires the abilty to ollie effortlessly and add a grab in at the same time. When learning this skill, it is very common to only get a touch instead of a full grab. Keep doing touches until the grab actually happens.

Caution: Don't hang onto the grab too long. You may end up eating snow.

Ollie to Fakie

Ollie to fakie requires you to be able to ride switch on the landing of the ollie. This can be done anywhere there is an embankment (wall hit, half pipe, quarter pipe, wedge, ramp, random slope, etc.).

Some common mistakes are having too much speed and doing an ollie too far out on the slope and then landing on top. This has the tendency to stop any backward motion and you end up in a pile.

Pumping For Speed

Ollies can help you gain extra speed when approaching features. The pumping part of it comes by doing weight transfers in a downhill motion. This entire concept deals with correct timing and comes with practice.

Another aspect of pumping is doing what is called a pre-ollie or pre-jump. This means that you ollie before the lip or edge of the feature. The goal here is to land just past the lip on the new angle with a controlled increase in speed. Some of the best riders who use this technique are those who like racing boardercross.

Ollies vs Bunny Hops

Ollies and bunny hops are similar, but do have some differences. Both these moves have their place in the freestyle world. It is highly recommended that you use ollies whenever possible for the greatest style points and control. However, bunny hops do have a place and should be used as a defensive or emergency tool in your bag of tricks.

This clip shows a rider doing a trick using a bunny hop and then the same trick (or something close to it) using an ollie.

Mix It Up With Ollies

Ollies are fun and also provide a very functional role in freeriding. Have fun with it and be creative!

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