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Read this first: You need to be comfortable spinning with grabs before you attempt this trick.
Approach the jump with your shoulders and hips squarely facing the takeoff. Don’t lean forward or back. You may see skiers carving off the lip and into their rodeo 5s to make them look flatter. That’s cool. But until you’re comfortable with the trick, ski straight toward the lip.
Pop your body upward, start the 540 rotation, and bring your feet toward your chest to get your body sideways. You might end up doing a standard-issue 540. That’s good, because once you start getting your body sideways, the rotation will look very flat. This is what you want.
After you’ve started the spin, reach for the grab. Besides helping you look solid in the air, your grab can also fix rotation problems. If your rotation is slow and you don’t think you’ll complete the 540, reach forward to grab with your trailing hand. A safety grab is the easiest: Right hand under right toe, or left hand under left toe . That’ll drive your body into the rotation and keep you out of the hospital.
When you spot your target, put the landing gear down by extending your feet. Face straight back with your eyes trained on the jump behind you. Keep your shoulders and chest upright and balanced atop your slightly bent legs. Your body position will help you stick it. Now ride fakie for a couple turns to add style points.
What not to do after a Rodeo: Ostrich landing, which is the dreaded finale to a trick in which your hands and face drag on the ground at your feet pop out from under your upper body.
Salt Lake City–based freeskier John Symms has appeared in films by Poor Boyz Productions and Warren Miller.