Jumping on skis is so much fun. There is nothing quite like the feeling of flying through the air and coming back down to earth on the snow again. While most skiers want to accomplish this, knowing how to jump correctly can take time to perfect.
I’m a lifelong skier with a strong passion for the sport. I started hitting jumps when I was just a kid, and I’ve always loved getting as much air as possible whenever I’m on the mountain. I also enjoy helping other skiers learn how to hit jumps.
This post will teach you how to jump on skis. I’ll walk you through all of the steps for hitting your first jump alongside some critical safety concerns and other information you need to know before you attempt to get airborne.
Let’s start flying.
Jumping on skis isn’t all that complicated. But there is a big difference between hitting a small natural jump on a regular run and charging the huge kickers in the terrain park. You need to understand your abilities and not get in over your head.
Any skiing maneuver can be dangerous, but things become even riskier when you start catching air. I always recommend that every skier wears a helmet, which is especially true if you want to start jumping.
You are going to fall when you start jumping. It’s simply part of the process. The more attention you pay to safety, the less chance you will have of getting injured or injuring other skiers around you.
You never want to go off a jump blindly. That means you always need to make sure the takeoff and landing areas of a jump are clear from any skiers or obstacles before you attempt a jump. If you don’t, you can imagine the results can be terrible.
Start slowly at first, and don’t worry if you only hit little jumps and catch mini-airs. We all need to start somewhere, and if you go too big, too quickly, you will probably injure yourself.
How to Jump on Skis
Ok, the first step to jumping on skis is simply jumping on skis. Now I know you think that may sound like silly advice but hear me out.
Before you even go off a ski jump, you need to be comfortable with what it feels like to jump with your skis and boots on. And the best way to get a feel for this is to practice jumping when you aren’t actually moving.
The flat areas right around the top of a chairlift are perfect for practice jumping. All you need to do is make sure you are fully locked into your bindings with your boots buckled and the JUMP!
Bend your knees slightly, push down through your feet, and try to jump up and get your skis off of the ground. Even if you only make it an inch above the ground, this process is critical in getting a feel for what a proper lift-off feels like.
Practice these ghost jumps a few times before you ever try to hit an actual jump – whether that’s a natural feature or a man-made jump at the terrain park. Once you feel comfortable simply jumping on your skis on flat ground, you’ll be ready to take things up another level.
Once you feel comfortable jumping on flat ground, start heading downhill on a gentle slope and then jump again. You’ll be moving forward, so the landing process will feel slightly different. Try this a few times until it feels natural.
After you feel good jumping on flat ground and jumping on a gentle slope, you can progress onto attempting a real jump. To do that, follow the steps below:
- Remember to stay within your ability level and don’t try a jump that is out of your league. If you are really nervous or don’t think you can make it, it’s better to try a smaller jump than to force it.
- Scout the takeoff and landing area to ensure there are no other skiers or obstacles in the way.
- Build up enough speed to get up and over the jump you want to hit. You don’t want to be going too slow, or you might not make it to the landing. If you go too fast, you can overshoot the landing zone.
- As you approach the jump, be sure to keep your knees slightly bent and your hands out in front of you. This is a natural skiing stance, but it will help you generate the pop to jump off the lip.
- As you approach the lip of the jump, repeat the jumping maneuver just as you did on flat ground or a gentle slope. Bend down through your knees and then push through your feet and hips to jump off the jump.
- Now you are airborne, so enjoy it. It will only last a second or three, so don’t daydream too much. Try not to flail your arms and legs around while in the air. The more stable you can stay, the better.
- You need to get ready for impact as you come back down to earth. It’s pretty instinctual, but you will have a softer landing if you can bend at your hips and knees slightly to absorb the impact.
- Keep skiing or come to a stop after completing the jump.
Tips and Suggestions
This progression of jumping from flat ground, jumping while moving, and then moving on to jumping off a real jump is the method that I recommend for first-timers who are just learning how to jump.
Once you feel comfortable with all of this and are going off of small jumps with ease, you can start to go out and try larger jumps. A terrain park is a perfect place for this, and many parks will have learning areas.
The terrain park jumps might seem big and intimidating, and some certainly are. But the jumps here are actually perfectly designed to give you a good landing area at the proper angle to make it as easy as possible.
You can follow a similar progression of jumping in the terrain park when you feel ready. Hit one of the smallest jumps you can find a few times until it feels comfortable. Then go to the medium-sized jumps and do the same thing, then go big!
It’s always a good idea to practice jumps with friends. If you get injured, you will have people around you to go and get help if needed. Plus, your friends will be able to vouch that you actually hit the big jump you said you did.
Learning how to jump on skis isn’t an essential skill, but it sure is a lot of fun. If you have the desire to get airborne, practice will slowly but surely allow you to get comfortable with it, and soon you’ll be flying high in the sky.
There are ski instructors who specialize in freestyle skills such as jumping. If you really want to get better and learn more tips and techniques specific to jumping, I highly recommend taking a ski lesson with a qualified instructor. Trust me, it will be worth it!