There are two basic jumping techniques used by snowboarders, and they serve opposing purposes. A boarder maximizing pop is what you visualize when you think about someone launching into the air on a snowboard; fans all like to see big air. But the ability to prevent catching big air off a jump is equally important. The skill to kill the pop of a big lipped jump is equal in importance to popping for extra air, particularly if speed is your goal. Catching air slows you down. In addition, gliding over the lip and dropping off the back side of a jump allows you to maintain greater control.
Popping Off a Jump
Square the nose of your board up before popping off a jump. Squat down into a standing broad jump position before you drop into the trough -- the threshold between the hill and the ramp of the jump. Bend your knees to roughly 90 degrees and drop your hands below your buttocks, keeping your arms straight. Keep your chin tucked into your downhill shoulder as you focus on the lip with your eyes. Position your shoulders and the rails of the board perpendicular to the jump. Remain square as you glide up the face of the jump by looking at the lip of the jump, your chin always centered over your downhill shoulder.
Jump up -- pop -- when you hit the lip. Pop up by exploding into the air with your legs, by straightening them with force. Raise your arms to your sides and above your shoulders, similar to the way a bird raises its wings to take flight. Maintain your position while you are in the air.
Land with your body in the same position you launched. Look over the end of your board -- your chin still tucked into your shoulder -- at the landing below you while you are in the air. As you hit the ground, drop your buttocks straight down as you flex your legs to slow the bend of your knees. Keep your shoulders directly above your hips, hips above your feet. Compress your body so you end up in the same position you were in as you rode into the face of the jump.
Gliding Off a Jump to Kill Pop
Ride into the jump with your legs relatively straight -- your knees just slightly bent -- not squatted as you would in order to pop off the lip. Put your hands out perpendicular to your body at shoulder height. Absorb the change in angle between the trough of the jump and the face as you ride into the jump.
Shift your weight to your downhill foot, toward the nose of your board. Lean your downhill shoulder over the outside of your downhill foot, slightly. The shift isn't dramatic, but center your weight the over the front of your board in order to prevent the lip from popping your weight back to your back foot.
Bring your knees up to your chest just before you hit the lip of the jump. Not a jumping motion, simply pull your knees toward your chest to lift the board off the ground so it clears the lip of the jump. Glide -- or drift -- off the jump without extending your legs and popping, clearing the lip and landing on the back of the jump a few feet behind the lip.
Popping is an extension of your legs; gliding is a drawing in of the legs.
Glide over a jump a few times before you try popping off it. Big air is dangerous and you should always wear protective gear -- particularly a helmet -- when snowboarding.
Always snowboard in terrain where the ski patrol can assist you in case of emergency.