Now that you have a great landing and the makings of what looks like a bad igloo, its time to start fine-tuning your creation. You’re going to be smoothing things out, patting them down and reinforcing the structure every step of the way. These last few steps are what transform this pile of snow into a jump.
Deciding Between Maximum Pop and Distance
First, you want to consider how much pop you are going to want. Look to the terrain first to gather information. If your landing is exceptionally steep you are going to want more pop. This will prevent an overshoot as mentioned earlier and has the added bonus of giving you more height and therefore airtime. Jumps with a lot of pop are tricky, and it can be hard to carry your speed through the transition. So be careful you don’t get bucked.
Conversely, jumps with a shallow landing want less pop. if you have a steep and poppy jump above a shallow landing your impact is going to be much greater when you land. With backcountry jumps, you don’t want high impact you want a smooth touchdown landing. That’s why it’s important to match your kicker to its landing.
Finding a Tranny, not the one on the street corner though
In all cases you want most of the transition to be in the bottom half of the jump. You don’t want a last-minute jolt from a curved section in the last 3 feet of the jump. This could cause you to be off balance in your most critical moment.
If you need more kick than you currently have, don’t just add it to the lip of the jump. Making your jump tall and steep might seem like the right idea but its just going to overwhelm you with pop and you won’t be able to handle the transition.
Instead add snow everywhere. The longer your ramp is the more speed you will be able to take into it. Adding a full layer of bricks to the riding surface will not only increase your overall transition length but it will also increase your height.
Now you are ready to start smoothing things out. Stand somewhere below the lip and using the back of your shovel slap the snow down packing it in. After slapping and smoothing out the lip, step down and repeat, covering your tracks as you go. Once you have a smooth surface you will be able to see the transition properly and add snow in the belly or any pockets that might be visible.
The Inrun and speed tests
The last step of the build is to side slip down the inrun above the jump. Its simple and leaves you with a smooth predictable surface to ride down and gain speed on your way to the booter. Start by slipping down a short section 40 feet or so uphill from the start of your transition. Then slide down on your edge being careful not to create bumps on the in-run. When you reach the bottom of the tranny you should be going slow enough to stop. Then hike up a little higher and repeat till you think you’ve got enough room.
A speed test is very important. Most riders at this stage are able to feel about how fast to go off the jump to make the landing. The speed test is the process by which you get the feel for it. After doing a few sideslips you should have a good idea of how steep the in-run grade is and how far up to hike to get the right speed. Strap in and point it. About 30-40 feet before the base of the transition turn your board sideways and side slip down the remaining inrun and up the face of the kicker. Be very sure you don’t wreck the surface you worked so hard to create!
If the side slip and speed tests go smooth and you’re loving the feeling of your jump then its finally time to send it! But if you notice a few things you want to change now is the time to fix them. You don’t want to ruin your precious landing with a mishap because you’ll only get so many tries. Nobody wants to land in a bomb hole. So now that you have a perfect jump the session can begin. Hopefully, all goes well and you have some good luck with the meat chucking.