Welcome to the first installment of Editor’s Trick Tip. Trick tips aren’t exactly a completely new idea, but sometimes they aren’t as effective as they could be. Namely, tricks featured in trick tips aren’t always performed by said writer. In fact, it’s merely part of a growing problem among journalists in the ski industry not actually being very good skiers themselves, or skiers at all…
That being said, I’m hoping the trend will change and we will see a future generation of Pulitzer Prize-winning ski industry journalists who can also throw doubles. In the meantime, until that dream becomes a reality, I’ll do my best to occasional back up my writing about the ski industry, with some actual skiing.
The “K-Fed” burst onto the ski scene with a vengeance with the rise of notable skiers such as Nick Martini, Tom Wallisch, and LJ Strenio. While the bizarre name gives absolutely no insight into what the trick actual is, the name refers to a rail trick where the skier performs a frontside switch-up (spinning downhill) to a blindside (spinning uphill) 270 out.
The move might initially appear difficult, but the trick’s learning curve becomes much easier once you have the right tools under your belt. Besides, if a 6’6″ ginger skier like myself can pull it off, anyone can.
To perform this move you need to be comfortable doing a basic slide on a box in both your natural and unnatural stance, 180s on flat ground, and be reasonably comfortable doing blindside 270s out of either rails or boxes.
Step 1: Warm-up by practicing for the trick by doing both your natural and unnatural box slides on the feature you plan to try the K-Fed on.
Step 2: After practicing for the trick with the warm-up, approach the box with a moderate amount of speed in preparation for sliding. The more speed you come in with, the less time you’ll have to worry about balancing the length of the feature. Prepare to ride off the lip onto the box by getting your knees bent, your upper-body leaning forward, and your arms nice and relaxed at their sides.
Getting a strong, squared pop is key for success
Step 3: Rather than coming from dead-center on the lip, it’s best to pick somewhat of a slight angle to pop off the lip from. In the case of myself, I’m coming from the left side slightly to put myself in position to “scissor” the inside edge of the leading foot’s ski. The scissor technique is actually the trick behind the K-Fed. Similar to the magician having a secret way of performing a trick of his own, the scissor is our ace up the sleeve for this move. By tilting the ski on its inside edge rather than keeping our bases flat as seen in a traditional box slide, we can slow our momentum down in order to spin in the opposite direction for the switch-up.
Step 4: Set your ollie or pop like any other on the box, but prepare yourself to land with your leading ski in a scissored position by tilting your heel slightly downward.
The scissor tecnique, here in all it’s glory
Step 5: Land on the box as smoothly as possible in the scissored position and begin to counter your upper body by looking downhill or perpendicular to the box. By creating that little bit of torque you will create a natural winding motion that will allow you to perform the frontside switch-up with relative ease.
The upper-body is slightly countered to create enough to torque to start the switch-up
Step 6: Using the counter created in Step 5, unwind by bringing your legs around the full 180 degree swap by popping off the box slightly. You should only need about an inch or two of air off the box in order to complete this rotation.
Just a little bit of pop is all you need for the switch-up
Step 7: In order to prepare for the final blindside 270 out, it’s best to slightly over-rotate the frontside switch-up so you rotate slightly more than 180 degrees. This will allow you to keep your rotational momentum, and make it that much easier to complete the final spin involved in the trick.
Over-rotatiing the switch-up helps keep that ‘tap dancing’ flowing until the end of the trick
Step 8: Immediately after your skis touch down on the box when finished with the frontside switch-up, again pop off the box an inch or two and finish out the trick with the final rotation out until you spot your landing once looking forward.
Again, stay nice and light on your feet to keep your momentum going for the final spin off
Try to keep your arms nice and relaxed to achieve this clean rotation. Flailing arms can cause your rotation to stall and under-rotate the final spin out of the box.
Keep the arms down, and prepare the landing gear
Step 9: Land and perform whatever token industry style you buy into for your landings i.e. afterbang, post-bang, gorilla steeze, etc.
Pretend like you do this trick every day
Progressing beyond the K-Fed on the flat box:
If you’ve conquered the K-Fed on the flat box and want to take it up a notch, there are many ways to amp up the difficulty level of the trick. For starters try taking it to a down box. Keep in mind, you’ll have to adjust the pressure of the scissoring motion in order to really pop yourself to spin on a down box that has less friction than its flat brother.
In terms of increasing the style points factor on your K-Fed, you can play around in reducing the amount of “scissor” you bring to the trick. The more you can refrain from edging the ski but still pull off the trick, the more effortless it will appear.
Additionally, the K-Fed can be modified to include a blindside 450 out of the initial frontside switch-up, resulting in what’s affectionately known as the Super-Fed. Try to find a box or rail with a little more of a drop-off into a sloped landing, to give yourself enough time to work the added rotation into the end of the trick.
Lastly, there is the obvious choice of attempting the trick on an urban rail. It was in the 2009 Poorboyz Productions ski flick ‘Every Day is a Saturday’ where my fellow ginger skier, Matt Walker, offers us the deep wisdom of “I really don’t think you have a trick down down, until you can do it on an urban rail.” Well put Matt, I’ll agree.
Get out there and try it, but stay safe and where a helmet! Besides, if California has its way you’ll pretty much have to wear one soon.