How to Build a Snowboard Kicker

How to Build a Snowboard Kicker
A kicker is a jump designed to launch you and your snowboard into the air, allowing you to practice skills or just enjoy some air time. When you're at a resort, you can hit the park, where you'll find plenty of kickers crafted by skilled staff. Learn how to build your own kicker and you'll be able to practice your skills anywhere.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Snow board(s) Snow shovel
  • Snow board(s)
  • Snow shovel
Step 1
Find a good spot. Kickers can be built in the back country or in your backyard. You'll want enough hill before the kicker to gain some momentum for your launch. Also, pay attention to the landing -- you'll need a hill with decent slope to ride out. Be sure you're not building a kicker with a flat landing, or you'll be eating snow. Ideally, find a flat area with a hill below and above.
Step 2
Assess the landing. If you're not familiar with the terrain, probe the snow to make sure there are no rocks or other hazards lying below the surface on your landing. Also be sure there's enough snow cover.
Step 3
Stick boards in the snow at the front of your kicker. Then pile the snow up behind the boards. This will help give your kicker the right shape.
Step 4
Shovel large blocks of snow away from your launch and landing. Use the big blocks to create a "frame" and line the outside of your kicker.
Step 5
Shovel your snow into a big pile. Aim for stickier snow or blocks of hardpack. You can build your kicker as high as you want, so long as you have enough space to safely land.
Step 6
Begin shaping your kicker. Pack down the snow with your shovel, board or hands and smooth out the launch surface. Fill in any cracks with snow and pound the entire body of the kicker so it's firm and packed.
Step 7
Shape the kicker. The kicker should look like a triangular wedge. Adjust the angle as desired or demanded by your terrain, but avoid making it too steep.
Step 8
Smooth out the transition. You want the ride to be smooth from snow to kicker, so smooth the transition area with your hands or shovel.
Step 9
Do several runs down the hill stopping just before hitting the kicker to smooth out the entire run. Assess your speed as you ride to be sure you have enough to successfully launch and hit your landing without overshooting. This will take some experience, so if it's your first time, just make sure there's a large, forgiving landing. Tweak your kicker as needed to provide the correct launch.

Tips & Warnings

When building back country kickers, be sure to consider avalanche threats and unseen obstacles before beginning your build.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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