This is a super fun jib to do anywhere on the mountain. It doesn’t have to be in the park – tree stumps, fence posts, anything goes…
‘Tap’ or ‘plant’ features can be used in so many creative ways the list is endless, and every rider can add their own twist to any trick quite easily. You’ll see many freestylers doing all sorts of crazy upside down, twisty, spinny thingys over barrels, poles or tree stumps.
However, as with any feature or trick, there is a relatively safe progression. So, before attempting an inverted hand plant 360, you might want to start with something more simple
– like the 180 tail tap. It’s good fun and makes a cool sound when you clank it properly on barrel, like I am in these shots.
I prefer the tail tap over the nose tap, simply because the consequences of getting it wrong are less painful. If you slightly misjudge the nose tap, and your ski tips hit the front of the barrel rather than the top, it could result in a nasty face plant. However, going for the tail tap you’re more likely to take a little too much speed and clear the barrel completely, resulting in nothing more than a slightly heavier landing.
But really, it’s down to personal preference. So try both!
1. TEST YOUR SPEED
Make sure you have the right speed. If you don’t carry enough momentum and your ski tips go straight into the front of the barrel you might do yourself some serious damage. You also don’t want to over-shoot the feature and miss it completely. Jump next to it or do a straight air first off if you’re not sure.
2. POP AND…
Pop up onto the barrel just enough to get up on top of it. If you go too big you’ll miss it and have nothing to lever off; too slow and you’ll have to go back the way you came. I do this with a slight set in the direction I want to rotate, meaning I’ll have to use the barrel a bit less to
get the rotation.
3. …TAP IT
Once airborne, and high enough, you can extend your legs and tap down onto the top of the barrel. Keep your upper body rotating and delay your legs so you get a good tap.
4. THE LANDING
Spot back up the hill to complete the rotation and take the shock through your ankle, knee and hips – this helps with a more solid switch landing. For extra style points, remember to ride away switch for a bit, rather than reverting back around forwards too early.
MEET THE TALENT
Name: Andy Bennett
Sponsors: Ellis Brigham, Faction Skis
Number of years riding: 28
Exciting stuff: Andy’s ski career began at the age of four, when he joined the local dry ski slope race club. Aged 10, he entered his first mogul competition. Despite coming last and crashing in front of the judges, Andy fell in love with mogul skiing and stuck at it, representing Great Britain for several years. Andy soon swapped his bump skis for twin tips and drifted into the emerging freestyle ski scene. He competed at World Cup Halfpipe for several years and managed to break into the top 16 worldwide during his peak.
Today, Andy spends most of his time coaching, working with many national team members, often on an individual basis. He also models for the Ellis Brigham White Book catalogue each winter, and he recently became a dad, “which means I have to make sure I go upside-down on skis at least once every year to keep my ‘rad dad’ status!”