5 ways to improve your half-pipe skiing

Half-pipes are terrifying! So we thought you may need a few tips on how to get used to them.
Johan Berg, mute to fakie in the halfpipe
Johan Berg stomps mute to fakie © Kyle Meyr
By Kyle Meyr

I am 95 percent sure that half-pipe skiing is the scariest thing of all time. Ever. In the world.

Dropping into a full-sized 7.5m tall pipe is a life-changing and ball-dropping experience that will make you think twice about whether or not you deserve those twin-tip skis.

Do not give up hope! You can totally conquer the half-pipe, all you need is a bit of help to boost your confidence. Thus, I’ve taken it upon myself to give you a few tips...

Noah Bowman get some air in Aspen.
Noah Bowman flying at the X Games © Garth Milan/Red Bull Content Pool

Get acquainted with the pipe

“Get used to the half-pipe,” says French superpipe extraordinaire Benoit Valentine. “Spend a lot of time doing straight airs, bigger and bigger and try to land at the top of the wall every time.”

Much like a violent lover, the difference between the best ride of your life and a painful beat-down is communication.

Hell, it won’t kill you to find a smaller pipe and practice catching the transitions on that. Much like the violent lover, surprises when (s)laying the pipe aren’t always a good thing.

Lars Tynes, Sw Tail Butter 540 in the halfpipe in Oslo, Norway
Lars Tynes stays and slays low © Kyle Meyr

Humble yourself

You, my friend, are no god of the pipe just yet. Popping too hard or too little in a 7.5m superpipe will end you, so ignore those around you and pick your own pace. This means that you stay well within your skill level and stick to the tricks you know.

"Half-pipe is not like slopestyle. Don't try something you’ve never done on a trampoline, water-ramp, airbag, etc." insists the wise Benoit.

Noah Bowman flies high in Aspen
Noah Bowman knows how to give a snow performance © Zach Hooper/Red Bull Content Pool

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

Just as the almighty Ice Cube demands, you better check yourself… because if you mess this up, you will wreck yourself. Think through your run in your mind before you drop and make sure you understand each and every hit. The margin of error in the half-pipe is too small to decide you’re going to double while you’re already halfway up the wall.

Aleksander Aurdal performs a Truck Driver 540
Aleksander Aurdal Driving Truck © Kyle Meyr

Speed kills

If you have ever ridden a half-pipe before, you will know that some mysterious force doubles your speed at the top of the wall. The god of the pipe (I like to think it’s Yoda) puts his invisible hand up your ass and insists you send it to the moon. “The fact that you have to deal with the deck is hard enough, so don't go too fast,” says Benoit. Listen to the man and scrub some speed until you know what you’re doing.

Noah Bowman catches some air on a halfpipe at the Red Bull Performance Camp, Wanaka, New Zealand on August 27th, 2012
Noah Bowman: The Halfpipe King © Miles Holden/Red Bull Content Pool

Enjoy the ride!

This one is easy…

Embrace the terror!

Half-pipe skiing may be a daunting experience, but that’s part of the fun. Yes, you are going to fall a few times. Yes, you are going to look like a noob in the beginning. Yes, you are going to poop yourself that one time you tried a flair but fell to the bottom of the pipe while everyone was laughing at me last February. But get back up there and make that pipe your bitch! I believe in you!

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