Until you get your head around a couple of things, backside 180’s are one of those tricks that seem harder than they are in real life.
Most people will start trying frontside 180’s first, mostly because you keep your head looking down the hill, so you can always see where you are going to land.
You can’t do that in backside 180’s, but there are a few things that make them much easier (at least for me).
Ideally before you start to learn 180’s (in any direction) you will be able to ride at least a little bit of switch. The better you can ride switch, the easier everything is going to be.
The easiest way to start to learn how to spin is to find side hits on the side of runs. If you look around on the side of groomed runs, you’ll be looking for small side angled jumps or cut outs that get built up as people keep riding over the same spots.
They are good for a couple of reasons – they will help give you a bit of air time without having to try hard for it, and they are good for cheating because you won’t have to get the full 180 degrees around. When you are starting out you can easily get away with spinning just over 90 degrees from a sidehit and still being able to ride away.
They are good for getting used to the feeling of spinning without being able to see where you are going, which is probably the hardest part of spinning backside.
These are the steps I use:
Toe side turn
You’ll want to be coming in on a toeside turn, the harder you are turning the easier the spin will be. This is where side hits can help, because they will force you to be on your toe edge, so that is one less thing that you have to think about.
Turn your head uphill and pop from both feet
When you are just at the point that you want to start your spin turn your head to face uphill and pop (jump) evenly from both of your toes. When you have turned your head, naturally it will turn your shoulders and then hips, which is what will start the spin.
You can pop with the regular ollie style, but that is a bit harder when you are just starting out.
Pull your knees up a little
Once you are in the air, pull your knees up towards you a little bit, which will help give you a bit of extra time in the air before you hit the ground again.
Land back on your toeside edge
When you have almost spun around 180 degrees, you can put your feet back down and try to land with your weight over your toe side edge. Landing on your toes can help the board dig in, and stop you from still spinning while you are on the ground.
When people start out spinning, one of the main problems is stopping the spin. The best way to stop that is to keep your head looking up the hill, which helps to keep your shoulders and hips in line, and combined with landing on your toes again make it much easier to control.
The more you practice, the easier it will get to stop the spin, so that you can just quickly put your toe edge in to stop the spin, then ride away flat based on the board.
Once you have gotten used to the feeling of back 1’s on side hits, start practicing them on flat ground, it doesn’t need much extra effort.