How to Pop with Andrew Pollard

To hit an air—either jumping a cliff into powder or sending a tabletop in the park—you need to be able to pop the take-off. The better the pop, the more solid the landing. These steps, taught by 15-year-old Andrew Pollard, a Black Diamond team rider and member of the Alta Freeride Team, should help your pop this season.
Andrew Pollard

As you are going into the jump or cliff, square your body with bent knees and prepare to pop off the lip.

Pop as soon as your binding toe pieces are about five inches from the lip of the take off. Timing is important. If you pop too soon you may not make the landing. Pop too late and the lip will send you off balance.

Explode upward evenly off both feet, keeping your balance centered. Think of a diving board with no spring. Do you just want to fall into your landing or launch as far as you can go? Keep your hands slightly in front of your body (not behind you or to the side). Try to bring your knees toward your hands.

 If you pop off one foot more than the other, or lean back or forward too much, it will cause an imbalanced landing (you’ll faceplant or backslap). As soon as you leave the ground, your body shouldn’t change from its square position—shoulder and hips facing forward, arms out in front.

 Popping immediately gives you control of your body positioning in the air. If you are out of control, you will land out of control.

 With top three finishes at Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass, and Grand Targhee, look for Andrew on the podium this year for the U.S Freeskiing Junior events.


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Nothing will put your stomach in your throat like launching a cliff or hitting a jump. Unfortunately, most of us flail like a hamster thrown from a window on our first few flights. To get past this, you need to learn the four stages of launching any air: inspection, takeoff, air, and landing.

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