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How To Switch Up On Boxes & Rails

First we taught you how to get comfortable with your first park features, this time we're going to be teach you about Frontside and Backside Switch Ups, also known as Front and Back Swaps. These are great to add to your bag of tricks and make tons of rail combinations possible.

(Narrating/Riders: Dave Weale & Brendan Reed. Filmed At: Whistler Blackcomb) 

Before trying these, you should be confident in your ability at Frontside and Backside 270's off. Swaps are pretty much the same as these but they are done before the end of the rail. 

Frontside Switch-Ups

Before trying on an actual box, try it on flat ground in your ski boots. Start facing down the hill, pop up and land as if your landing on a box. Then pop up and land facing the other way and then come off switch. Try at least 10-20 of these before you try it on an actual feature. Once you're ready to give it a go on a feature, find a flat box about 15-20 feet long (3-5 meters).

Switch UpsGood feature to start with.

To initiate the rotation, you'll need to scissor your feet and push the inside edge of your front foot into the edge of the box. A Frontside Switch-Up is essentially the same as a Frontside 270, except you only do a 180 and land back on the box with your other foot forward.  

Switch Ups
Scissoring position to initiate the swap.

When you're learning you can start the Swap towards the end of the feature, just letting your front foot tap the feature after the 180, before the end of the rail. As you get better, focus on doing the Switch Up higher up the box and getting in a good slide before popping off. 

Once you got these down, you can add a 270 off after the switch up. This isn't as hard as it seems because you are already rotating so all you have to do is continue the rotation. 

Backside Switch-Ups

All of the same steps come into play for the Backside Swap as the Frontside Swap, except everything is reversed. Before trying it on a box, practice a few in your boots on a flat spot. Start by facing down the hill, pop up and land sideways on the box. Next, push your toe down on your front foot, then twist and pop in the direction you want to do the Back Swap. Land back on the box with your front foot while looking forward and come off the box landing normal. Again, do about 10-20 of these before trying it on an actual feature. 

Switch UpsFind a place on the side to practice before trying on a feature.

When learning, you can try the Swap just before the end of the feature so that you only slide the other way for a second before coming off forward. Just like a Backside 270, press your front foot into the edge of the box to create the rotation. Then start to twist your shoulders and pop up landing back on the box with your other foot facing downhill, slide the last couple feet and come off forward. 

As you get more comfortable you can move the Switch Up farther and farther up the box. After the Back Swap, make sure that you focus on keeping your vision at the end of the feature.

Switch UpsPerfect spot on the feature for a switch up.

As you progress, you can try a 270 out after the Switch Up, trying different Switch Ups or scissoring and coming off switch. You can also add some difficulty by trying them on all sorts of features. 

Summary

Switch Ups may seem difficult at first but they're simply just a Frontside and Backside 270's off. Once you get them down you can mix it up with tons of combinations. Once you have the basics down, it's all up to your imagination. 

Jordan Harrington
Ski Addiction
Our Goal Is To Improve Your Skiing

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