Snowboarding Half Pipe -Tricks and Tips

Here, on the snowboarding half pipe page,
find desciptions and how-to's on the basic line and pumping skills required to rip the halfpipe.
Then, go on and get busy learning how to do halfpipe tricks.

I have always loved the tricks. Seeing them, knowing the names of the variety of maneuvers and of coarse, doing them. I have always been a flipper and a spinner. On the hill, on the tramp, off the diving board, cliff jumping on snow or water, any place is grand. I will find a way to do tricks. It just so happens that out of all of those, I personally like Snowboarding Half Pipe the most. The is so much motion. The transitions and shape of a halfpipe provide an incredible facility for expression through ability. HeHe. That is cute.

[Effective Line][Pumping][Landings][Straight Airs][Spins/Flips]
[Reverse Momentum Tricks][Hand Plants and Lip Tricks]

Check out this Helmet Camera Video of Riding The Halfpipe. Try and get a sense of the speed and the motion. The swinging on a swing set feel of it.

Working with the Effective Line

---------------Bottom of Halfpipe-----------------

Common Less Effective Line------Top of Pipe---------Good More Effective Line

Common Bad Line - Note Double Turn --Landing hard on downhill edge, followed by an edge change and a second carve to get line going across flat-bottom Lower than expected speed results in hook into the wall trying to get amplitude. Though it usually is not successful. Short travel downhill in air, landing drops straight into pipe. This line has little to no pump, works against flow and results in small amplitude!! Plus, it is not as fun as a good line.

Good Line - Good Flow - Pumping - Speed is Natural - Amplitude Grows
Note downhill angle at landing mark, followed by a single powerful carve and pump to generate speed through transition (Pump by pushing or extending with entire body through lower half of landing transition), entering flat bottom hold straight, clean, light on the edge traverse to take off. Reset into low ready position in the middle of flat-bottom. 2/3 of weight on trailing foot, pushing board into and up the transition (Up Pump). Shift weight towards front foot at the moment of release from wall. Do some super neato trick, drift, float, smile, and style it out. Look down at your landing and put you feet down Touch down with that same downhill angle to pump through this landing and keep it going.

The Trick to Pumping a Halfpipe
Speed is everything in halfpipe riding. The way to maximize speed its through fearless use of line and pumping. Pumping has a couple of tricks that can make all the difference. For the most pump out of any transition the rider must land in a crouch at the top of the landing, so that they can use the whole transition to smoothly extend and push off of it with their entire body. In order to land in a crouch the rider will adjust the pop at takeoff to let their momentum and body mass float slightly towards the deck of the pipe so they can land in a crouch up high in the transition. If the rider pops or pushes to hard at the takeoff they will drop in to the transtition and land flat, which kills the pump potential.

How to drop into halfpipe and pump from spencer Tamblyn on Vimeo


Using the suggestions for pipe lines and working on poping just enough to land in a crouch up high on the wall and rotate just the right amount to land with that down hill angle noted above, on the uphill edge or in a postition to get on it right away, the rider will start to feel the pump and the rhythm of the halfpipe. That is where the real fun begins.

 photo 156bc2d3-5243-480a-ae2b-127998526ba7.jpg

Keys to Halfpipe Landings -
Landing airs and tricks in the halfpipe can be quite different than the landing found else where on the hill. The most important key to landing successfully is confidence. Being aggressive enough to land with body weight on the front foot and get that board back on the transition to ride back down the wall. When riding correctly in a good halfpipe, the rider is basically just riding up the wall into the air then back down the wall into the halfpipe. With no significant jump movement or landing impact at re-entry, the rider just rides the smooth arcing transitions and lets them do the work.

Beyond that, the rider is trying to maintain a "good line", light uphill edge pressure, and to carry as much speed as possible from wall to wall.

Using the wrong edge to catch rotation - When executing spinning and flipping tricks the rider will often use the wrong, or downhill edge to catch or check the rotation before powerfully shifting weight back to the effective line and pump out of the transition. It is necessary and effective in many tricks. However, as a rider becomes better and better at a trick they will land closer and closer to the good or uphill edge. Many riders have some tricks that they can always rotate around to the uphill edge, while other tricks always under-rotate to the wrong edge.

The main reason for the need to check the spin with the wrong edge relates to all the forces coming out of the trick. Dropping back into the pipe with combinations of flip and spin will traslate in to a large amount of energy shooting out of the transition when landed correctly on the effective or uphill edge. Yes, this is good for speed, but it can be hard to handle and lead to spin-outs and euro-carve to backspin in the flat-bottom. It takes years of pipe riding to have the power and finesse to handle the g-forces and energy of a big perfectly landed trick.

If landing switch or blind, the rider may not have the high level of confidence and board control to control that energy as it shoots out of the landing transition. So, it is easier and less difficult to land on the downhill edge. Landing on the down hill edge makes the landing transition much longer and the rider arcs toward the bottom of the pipe, allowing for recovery, before the edge change towards the other wall. The wrong edge check and roll should happen quickly and smoothly. The rider needs to have their weight in the right spot so they can get the edge change and everything headed towards the other wall ASAP.

Blaahhh. That is a little wordy, I know.
But, I have always wanted to get my view on the correct landing edge debate on record.

Straight Airs

Frontside Air – A frontside air is performed off of the toe edge wall, which is the left wall for goofy footers, or the right wall for regular footers. While airborne, the frontside of the riders’ body is facing out of the halfpipe.
Backside Air – A backside air is performed off of the heel edge wall, which is the right wall for goofy footers, or the left wall for regular footers. While airborne, the backside of the riders’ body is facing out of the halfpipe.

-In the halfpipe a straight air actually includes a small rotation of around 90-110 degrees. This is due to the fact that in relation to a line perpendicular to the fall-line (straight across the halfpipe), the rider takes a line that is between 20-40 degrees across the hill and up the wall, while airborne the rider rotates 90-110 degrees, or enough to land at an angle of around 45 degrees back the other way followed by a turn through the landing to pump for the next hit and set up the line for the next wall.
-This effect also applies to Quarterpipe straights airs, only on a Quarterpipe the straight air is closer to 180 degrees, like it would be in a vertical skateboard ramp or halfpipe.

Spins – With Downhill Momentum

180 – Closest thing to a 180 in the halfpipe is the straight air.
360 – Actually about 270 degrees and performed on the frontside or backside wall, the rider takes off forward and lands backwards, or vice versa.
540 – Feeling more like a 360 on a Jump, the 540 can be performed frontside or backside. With a rotation of around 450 degrees, the rider takes off forward and lands forward, or takes off switch and lands switch.
720 – Feeling more like a 540 on a Jump, the 720 can be performed frontside or backside. With a rotation or around 630 degrees, the rider takes off forward and lands switch, or vice versa.
900 - Feeling more like a 720 on a Jump, the 900 can be performed frontside or backside. With a rotation of around 810 degrees, the rider takes off forward and lands forward, or takes off switch and lands switch.
1080…. - Following the above pattern spins progress. I think the biggest spin anyone has done at this point is a 1440 or maybe a 1620. What is really amazing though is just how smoothly and stylishly some riders can do 1080s and 1260s these days..

-- The X, Y and Z Axis is what again? --

Frontside Wall Flip/Spin Rotations

Crippler 5 7 9 – The Crippler is a general term for an inverted frontside 5, 7 or 9 with most commonly a back flip and sometimes more of a side flip blended into it. The Crippler 540 is frontside air with the flip on the X, Y or a Blend Flip in it. The 720 is a frontside 360 + the flip, the 900 is a 540 + the flip, and so on… Although beyond 900, it is difficult to do the crippler without over flipping. This can lead to double crippler, if the skills are abundant.
Sato Flip – The Sato Flip is a specific type of Crippler 540. Used by the likes of Rob Kingwill, Gretchen Bleiler and myself, the Sato Flip is a frontside 90 to side flip on the Y Axis.
KassaRoll - The Kassaroll is another specific type of Crippler that was named by the brother of Halfpipe Great Danny Kass, Matt. Matt Kass used to do this trick so big and stylish, that it had to be named after him. It is again a crippler 540 only this time it is a frontside 90 to back flip on the X Axis.
Haakonflip – The Haakonflip is named after Terje Haakonsen, the snowboarding legend. It is a common trick for many high end halfpipe riders and combos perfectly with the frontside 720. It is technically an inverted switch frontside 720. The Haakonflip is done off of the switch frontside wall as a cab 360 with a back flip or side flip or blend of the X and Y Axis. The switch frontside wall is the left wall for regular footers, and the right wall for goofy footers. The Hakkonflip 720 takes off switch and land forward, the Haakon 9 takes off switch and land switch, and the Haakon 1080 is a full Cab 720 + flip on an X Y axis blend.
Flat Spin 5 7 9 – It is possible to do a frontside 540, as a frontside air + a side flip on the Y Axis, with the belly facing straight up. It is very cool looking and is basically the opposite of the Backside MichaelChuck Described Below. I don’t really know of a specific name for this rotation. Once a rider learns the rotation it can go to 720, or even to 900 as a frontside double side flip with the belly facing up. Can you imagine that? I can, and it looks incredible in my minds eye.
Double Flips – There is a variety of ways to do doubles off of the frontside wall. The double crippler 900 would be a frontside air with a double flip. The double crippler 1080 would be a frontside 360 with a double flip. The double flip could be on the X, Y or a Blended Axis.

Backside Wall Flip/Spin Rotations

McTwist 5 7 9 – The McTwist is named after pro skateboarder Mike McGill. On a skateboard he would do the inverted backside 540 with a mute grab and tail poke off of the Vert of the Skateboard Halfpipe. On a snowboard, it is an inverted backside 540 mute grab off of the riders’ backside wall. It is very much like the Misty Flip off of a Jump and has the same kind of front flip set at the beginning of the trick. The true skate style McTwist starts off with a front flip on the X Axis set towards the vert or lip down pipe from the takeoff, then the riders slight back side wind up and rotational snap, combined with the reach and poke of the Mute, makes the trick “Twist” over the top before the rider finishes the flip on the Y or side flip axis and drops back into the transition for a solid landing. The McTwist can go to 720 with a backside 180 move coming out of the trick. The 900 McTwist or WetCat (McTwist 5 + 360) starts to move away from the skate style of the 540 McTwist, but can still be considered a version of the trick.
PA or KD Roll – The PA (Pennsylvania) Roll, or the KD (Kier Dillon) Roll, made its impact in the massive floating backside flips thrown by Kier Dillon and Luke Wynan. This version of the inverted backside 540 is a backside 45 degree rotation set with a subtle hip snap at takeoff, then a tuck front flip on the X Axis into the pipe, usually grabbing “Indy”. During the entire rotation of the PA or KD Roll the rider can easily look into the transition and see the landing. It can look a bit like a side flip since the riders head is turned forward and looking at the landing the whole way through, but it is really more of a backside air with a front flip towards the flat bottom of the pipe.
Michalchuk - Flat Spin 5 7 9 – One of my favorite tricks and riders for that matter is Mike Michaelchuck and his trick. The Michaelchuck is backside 540 all together. The rider performs a backside air + a Y Axis Side Flip with their belly facing straight down at the lip of the pipe the whole way through the rotation. It is basically 45 degrees, side flip set towards the tail of the board, 45 degrees out to the landing. Mike used to do it tail grab and that looked awesome since the trailing hand moves towards the tail at take-off, then he started doing it nose grab and that was even cooler. I have also seen people do it with Indy or Mute Grabs. It flow and looks great in the pipe or on hips and quarterpipes.
Double Flips – There is a variety of ways to do doubles off of the backside wall. The double McTwist 900 would be a Backside Air with a double front flip and a mute grab. The Double PA Roll, or Double Michaelchuck are both very doable as well, and could be taken another 180 on the Z Axis to 1080. Again, the double flip could be on the X, Y or a Blended Axis.

Reverse Momentum Tricks

-While traveling downhill the rider rotates uphill at takeoff into a variety of reverse momentum tricks.

Air to Fakie – Easiest to imagine on a Quarterpipe, the Air to fakie is a straight up, then straight down with no spin move. Many grabs can work well with an air to fakie. In the halfpipe, an air to fakie can be done on either wall. Off the toe edge wall the rider rotates about 45 degrees backside, backside of body leading travel down pipe to land going the other direction. Off the heel-side wall the riders rotates about 45 degrees frontside, frontside of body leading travel down pipe to land going the other direction. In the Halfpipe or on a Quarterpipe, the rider will take off forward and land backwards, or vice versa.
Wild Cat or Front Flip, to Fakie – On either wall a rider can flip during an air to fakie. A “Wild Cat” is a backwards side-flip on the Y Axis, usually grabbed Melancholy. Wild Cats to Fakie are cool and fun. The front flip to fakie is way more difficult because of the change of rotational momentum at take off. Therefore, it is quite uncommon and unusual, but a few riders can do it. Travis Rice, Luke Mitrani, and others have made that trick their own. It is incredible looking. If you can do it, please do it. I want to see it again.
Ally-Oop – An Ally-Oop is super fun and one of my favorite tricks. In an Ally-Oop off of the frontside or backside wall, the rider rotates uphill while traveling downhill over the deck, usually for the basic Ally-Oop (name wise the 180 version) the rider rotates about 225 Degrees to land going forward. Ironically, the Ally-Oop qualifies as a straight air according to the International Judging Commission.
Ally-Oop 3, 5, 7, etc… - The Ally-Oop on either wall can rotate further to 360, 540, 720, etc. In this situation the actual rotation is more than the name because of the downhill travel. So, a 360 is closer to 405 degrees, a 540 is closer to 585 degrees, and so on.
Heelside Ally-Oop Rodeo – Taking off of heel side wall, rider rotates frontside and flips back into a frontside Rodeo Rotation. The 540 version, rotates about 585 and lands forward, the 720 rotates about 765 and land switch, and so on…
Toe Edge Ally-Oop McTwist and Backside Rodeo or MichaelChuck - Taking off of toe side wall, rider rotates backside, up the pipe and flips uphill and forward into a McTwist, or snaps off the tail into the belly down side flip of a MichaelChuck or Backside Rodeo type rotation. The 540 version, rotates about 585 and lands forward, the 720 rotates about 765 and land switch, and so on…

Hand Plants and Lip Tricks

Hand Plants and Lip Tricks can be a super fun way to play and have fun with some lower risk progressions on Quarterpipes and Halfpipes. Hand Plants are fun and easy once a rider gets the feel of the right position to be in entering a transition to do a hand plant. Figuring out the speed to stall at the right spot and playing with different ways to grab make doing hand plants another super cool progression experience. Doing skate style lip stalls and slides are dope and are also a killer way for snowboarders to get a little skate feel out of their session.

Check out the newly revamped Snowboard Addiction Program
For some people this kind of video program can be just the ticket
to really spark the explosion of skills.

Jumping Tricks
Spinning Tricks off Jumps - 180s 360s 540s 720s 900s
Backside Rodeo
Back Flips Off Jumps

Halfpipe Tricks
Riding the Halfpipe
Spinning Tricks in the Pipe -
540s 720s 900s 1080s

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