Learning how to land big mountain bike jumps

A few weeks back a friend and I were discussing big mountain bike jumps and how people learn to land them. I mean, we’ve all seen skills areas with progressively larger jumps but how do you go from a 4 foot jump to a 50 foot drop like the one at Santos? (pictured below) I think I may have found an answer and it involves gymnastics equipment.

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Whistler Mountain Bike Park has set up the Air Dome for this year’s Crankworx festival (August 9-17) and inside the dome there is a foam pit typically used for gymnastics practice. Riders work their way up to the pit on jumps from 1 to 4 meters (3 to 12 feet) in the enclosed riding area. And I just assumed that Ray’s Indoor MTB Park was the only place to mountain bike indoors…

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Photo from Mudbunnie News blog

Learning “air awareness” as this article puts it is definitely important to landing huge mountain bike jumps and the foam pit seems like a good place to hone your skills. Kinda reminds me of a summer trip to the US Olympic training center in Lake Placid, NY where the US ski team was practicing aerial acrobatics in a specialized pool at the end of a ski ramp. These guys also “practiced” ski jumping where the landing area was astroturf instead of snow – a bit less forgiving than a pool. I guess you really gotta work up to that before you give it a try 😉

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Ski version of practice jumping (Lake Placid, NY)

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Fail to stick this landing and you’ll end up with serious turf burn at a minimum. The landing pad is actually the lower sea green turf patch. To give you an idea of scale, the gray rectangle to the right of the landing area is a grandstand area.

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