Rotation vs. Counter Rotation

Rotation Vs. Counter Rotation

There are two ways you can spin your snowboard and we don't mean frontside or backside. We are talking about rotation and counter rotation. We are going to lay down the law about when to use roatation or counter rotation to add more style to your tricks.

(Narrating/Riders: Duncan Mainland & Saxon Farnworth. Film/Edit: Vince Emond. Filmed At: Whistler Bounce)

What's The Difference?

  • Rotation is when your whole body spins in the same direction. 
  • Counter rotation is when your upper and lower body rotate in opposite directions (like when you do a shifty or speed check).


The best way to practice rotation, is by jumping and spinning a 180 or 360 while strapped into your training board. As you extend your legs to jump, add rotation with your head, shoulders and hips. Think of yourself like a corkscrew, extending your legs and spinning at the same time.

Rotated 360Look at the timing bewteen the legs, head, shoulders and hips.

Timing here is imperative! The closer you can time these two movements together, the more efficient your spin will be. You can even add a little bit of pre-wind in the opposite direction before you jump, to increase your rotation.

Pre-WindPre-winding at its finiest.

Counter Rotation

Stand in your snowboard stance and imagine you're snowboarding. Jump up in the air and turn the board 90 degrees, you should find that the only way to get your board to move, is to use counter rotation.

For frontside counter rotation, think of throwing your hands over the tail of your board as you jump.

Hands Over TailHands over tail, body facing forward/downhill.

For backside, think of throwing your hands toward the nose as you jump.

Hands Over NoseHands over nose, body facing forward/downhill.

You can even try doing shifties, where you bring your board to 90 degrees and back all in one jump. It is pretty difficult on the ground, so do it on a trampoline or on the hill for extra hang time.

Shifties!The counter rotated frontside shifty.

Jib Tricks

Using rotation or counter rotation will also affect how you do tricks on rails, boxes or the Balance Bar. If you jump into a boardslide using rotation, it is very hard to stop the spin. This is what you want for tricks where you 270 out.

Rotational BoardslideNotice how the lower body and upper body are rotating in the same direction, creating rotation. This mean's Duncan cannot stop his spin.

With counter rotation however, you land twisted up. When you come out of a boardslide you can release that tension, bringing you back to the same stance you started in.

Counter Rotated PositionLook at Duncan's upper body and lower body. Twisted, yet in control.

Joint Force

These 2 techniques can also be combined to help you complete spins more effectively or add style. If you jump up and spin, it can be very difficult to gauge your rotation to land just right. However, if you use a bit of counter rotation, it can help you squeeze out the extra few degrees to help you finish it off.

Frontside 360Look at the last 90 degress of Duncans spin. He is using counter rotation to bring the board around the full 360.

There it is, the difference between rotation and counter rotation. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. It is a difficult concept to understand, but if you get your head around it here, learning new tricks on the hill will become super easy. 

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Alex McCann
Snowboard Addiction
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