Snow Days

Launching off a big jump as a grown man

In late 2000 I was 30 and a single dad, seeing my daughter half the week and just lost my mom who was 58.

I had 4 days a week free so I started snowboarding at age 30.

By 32 I was instructing in the evenings at the local hill and at 35 I was a full-time instructor Monday through Friday, December through March.

That's when this indy air picture was taken. My buddy Phil took it.

Phil was a high level, exam taking, technical snowboarder. He was also a youth pastor and made for great conversation on the ski lift. It was so much fun in the early weekday mornings when there was no one around until about 9 am.

It was like a huge playground that you can seriously bust your ass in if you're not somewhat careful and a little bit lucky.

Phil's encouragement is the reason this indy grab is so solid as I launched 220lbs of me plus gear through the cold air, confident, weightless and whisper quiet.


Grabbing your snowboard has purpose aside from just looking good.

A grab keeps your body compact and in control. It keeps your mass forward instead of backward trying to lean away from the danger of flying through the air.

You have to stay compact and in control so grabbing helps.

Kinda like life, right?

The grab also stops you from flapping your arms wildly, instinctively trying to regain some sort of control that's just not there. That flapping is called "rolling down the windows" and usually doesn't end well.

Just before your air time ends spot the landing, hit it and ride away smooth.


If you had too little speed on the take off you'll land on the flat under the jump and jam your legs up into your body which hurts. If you had too much speed on take off you can overshoot the landing and land who knows where.

There's a sweet spot on a nice downhill landing that transitions all your force downhill instead up into your body.

Once you're in the air there's no controlling your speed so it's crucial that you hit the jump about the right speed to hit the designated landing area and ride away smooth.

When airing it out there's a lot that can go wrong and as an adult the risks are crystal clear. I can say with little doubt that my big air days are over but I do remember hundreds of jumps over the years and at 48 I'm happy jibbing around the mountain a little closer to the ground.

~ Corey Bornmann



Mark McMorris is a Canadian Olympic and pro snowboarder with a great "never quit" story featured in the movie "Unbroken".

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