Hitting Your First Box

Hitting Your First Box

Sliding rails is a massive part of freestyle skiing! However, before learning to slide rails make sure you're able to confidently hit small jumps, do Shifties and spin small 180s. Once you've got those skills dialled, it's time to hit your first box!

Use the tips in this tutorial and start sliding those boxes like a champ! For even more great jibbing tutorials, check out our Jibbing Basics series. If you're looking for even more of a challenge, check out our Spinning In & Out series.

(Narrating/Skiing: Dean Bercovitch. Film/Edit: Vince Emond. Filmed At: Whistler Blackcomb)

Step 1. Figure Out Your Front Foot

When sliding a rail on skis, you will be sideways with one foot in front of the other.  Different people prefer having a different foot forward so if you’re unsure which foot is more comfortable for you, try some of these tests:

  • Have both of your feet shoulder width apart and jump onto a ledge. The first foot to leave the ground is more than likely your front foot on a rail.
  • If you were to hockey stop on skis, which way would you stop?

Step 2. The 50-50

Now that you know which way is more comfortable, begin with a box that has an easy ride on and is pretty wide. Start with what we call a 50-50:

  1. Go straight on with your feet slightly apart, shoulders tall, low position and your weight in the front of your boots.
  2. Maintain that position on the box to keep your balance.
  3. As you come off the end, keep your tips up and look far to land flat on your skis.
Hitting Your First BoxDean aka Mr. Technique.

Step 3. The Mid Box 50-50 Shifty

Now that the 50-50 is feeling good, slide a 50-50 but while in the middle try a Shifty, just enough so your skis go crooked. Remember to keep your shoulders facing downhill and twist your hips and skis the opposite way of your arms.

Hitting Your First BoxTo avoid sliding back, put some extra weight into your downhill foot.

Step 4. Add A Hop In

Once you have the hang of that, it’s time to add a small hop onto the box before your Shifty. Stay balanced by keeping your centre of gravity low, while maintaining pressure in the front of your boots. Next, do your Shifty in the air before landing on the box. 

Hitting Your First BoxRemember to land into your downhill ski with your feet apart to keep balanced.

Step 5. Square Up The Shoulders

Now you're sliding sideways, but with your shoulders still facing downhill. Square up on the box by rotating your downhill shoulder into your Shifty. This will make it less of a Shifty, but more of an approximate 20 degree spin onto the box.

Hitting Your First BoxSee, Dean isn't now Shity-ing in, but more-so rotating into the box.

Because of that spin on, it could be harder to Shifty back to land forwards. This is where allowing the spin to continue rotating to go to switch could be easier. Keep looking at the end of the box over your turned shoulder. If you do not have enough rotation to get to switch, use a small shifty to help finish it.

Hitting Your First BoxIt may seem scary, but it is now the same landing as your 180.

Now commit to putting the whole thing together and jump onto the box sideways to slide your first box to switch!

Want Even More Ski Training Tips?

Alex McCann
Ski Addiction
Helping You Ski Better