The Benefits of Water Ramp Training

With Marmot’s ski sea­son just com­plet­ed, most peo­ple think it’s time to pack away the skis.  But not for us at Jasper FreeRide.

It’s Water Ramp training season!

Ski­ing is not just a win­ter activ­i­ty.  Have you ever won­dered why cer­tain ath­letes have such great jump­ing skills? The answer is ”sum­mer water ramp train­ing”. Water Ramp train­ing will great­ly enhance your child’s freestyle devel­op­ment.

Why Water Ramp Training?

Water ramp train­ing is now a key freestyle train­ing activ­i­ty to help ath­letes devel­op their jump­ing skills and is a manda­to­ry require­ment for any ath­lete want­i­ng to train invert­ed jumps.

Hav­ing ath­letes train on water ramps helps the ath­letes devel­op the basic con­fi­dence and tech­nique required to prop­er­ly jump on snow. This unique envi­ron­ment offers sev­er­al ben­e­fits to skiers’ train­ing:

  • They can get many more rep­e­ti­tions on a water ramp and devel­op good jump mem­o­ry.
  • They also focus bet­ter on the basic tech­niques with­out the fear of a hard snow land­ing.
  • Ath­letes will get 2 to 3 times more jumps in a day on water ramps than they would typ­i­cal­ly exe­cute on snow, and the qual­i­ty is much high­er as the ath­lete is less con­cerned about the poten­tial of a bad land­ing.

What Level of Athlete Should Participate?

water-rampIf the ath­lete is com­pet­ing in club comps or provin­cials in either moguls or slope style, and is com­pet­ing the jumps in these events, then they can prob­a­bly ben­e­fit from water ramp train­ing. The train­ing will spend a lot of time focus­ing on the basic “pop” off the jump with straight airs, as this is the most impor­tant aspect to mas­ter for all jumps. So even if the ath­lete is only at the spread eagle or twister maneu­ver stage, water ramps will help their pop, form and lift, and help bring prop­er tech­nique to snow.

We have all seen our kids spend of lot of time crash­ing as they learn the to spin 360s. Water ramps become even more impor­tant at this lev­el to help kids mas­ter this tech­nique. Final­ly, all inverts must be qual­i­fied on water ramps before they snow train­ing is per­mit­ted. So if you are con­sid­er­ing invert­ed tricks, water ramps are manda­to­ry.

A good rule of thumb is to project the jump the ath­lete would like to suc­cess­ful­ly be com­pet­ing with high skill in 2 win­ters from now, and start train­ing this trick this sum­mer with the hope of maybe qual­i­fy­ing it for the 2014–15 snow sea­son.

What Should Be the Athlete’s Goals for Water Ramping & How Often Should They Go?

Every ath­lete should have a 2 year pro­jec­tion goal around their jumps. It takes a min­i­mum of one sum­mer to devel­op a new trick, and one full win­ter before the ath­lete is ful­ly com­fort­able and tech­ni­cal­ly com­pe­tent at com­pet­ing it. This is why you should think about your future jump­ing goals and bring this to your water ramp­ing train­ing now. Every ath­lete hop­ing to improve their jump­ing should meet with their coach and dis­cuss their 2 year jump goals so the coach­es can best advise on the water ramp require­ments  to suc­cess­ful­ly meet these goals. Anoth­er rule of thumb is that a young ath­lete just want­i­ng to get basic jump skills (straight air pops, twister, spreads) should con­sid­er a min­i­mum of 4–6 water ramp days. An ath­lete want­i­ng to ful­ly mas­ter 360 spin­ning and try a few invert­ed maneu­vers should con­sid­er 5–10 days. An ath­lete want­i­ng to train and qual­i­fy a new invert­ed maneu­ver should con­sid­er 10–20 days.

What Does a Water Ramp Day Look Like?

water-ramp-3Water ramp ses­sions are usu­al­ly held dur­ing Whistler Sum­mer ski camp, or in Grand Prairie and Red Deer. These facil­i­ties are open most week­ends to the pub­lic, and will have in-house coach­es there to assist. But the Jasper club likes to orga­nize ded­i­cat­ed week­ends where we have our own coach­es to work with the ath­letes and pro­vide bet­ter con­ti­nu­ity in train­ing. If you are ramp­ing for the first time, we rec­om­mend that you first attend a sched­uled Jasper team ses­sion as the coach­es will ensure all ath­letes are safe­ly intro­duced to the water ramps.

Ath­letes will often train both tram­po­line and water ramps on a nor­mal water ramp­ing day. All water ramp facil­i­ties will have a tram­po­line, and tram­po­line train­ing is key to devel­op­ing the basic maneu­vers. A nor­mal water ramp­ing day will be 4–6 hrs. Ath­letes may spend 2 hrs on tramp and 3 hrs jump­ing (and swim­ming with full gear!). It is very phys­i­cal with lots of swim­ming and stair climb­ing so most expe­ri­enced ath­letes will only get 25–30 jumps per day max. A younger ath­lete will often exe­cute 10–15 jumps & they will sleep well at night.

How Does the Club Organize Water Ramping Training?

The club will pub­lish a water ramp week­end cal­en­dar in Spring so fam­i­lies can bet­ter plan their sum­mer week­ends. The ten­ta­tive sched­ule is shown below. Please let coach­es know what week­ends work best so we can start plan­ning and elim­i­nat­ing week­ends with no pro­ject­ed atten­dance.

The club will pro­vide 1–2 coach­es depend­ing on ath­lete par­tic­i­pa­tion lev­el. We’ll typ­i­cal­ly try to bal­ance train­ing week­ends between Red Deer and Grand Prairie to attract more par­tic­i­pants, and there are dif­fer­ent advan­tages to both loca­tions. Grand Prairie does allow us to book the ramp pri­vate­ly, giv­ing our team more focused use of the facil­i­ty.

The club has, in the past, sub­si­dized this train­ing as it is an essen­tial part of freestyle ath­lete devel­op­ment. The Jasper Board will need to advise on the pol­i­cy for this year. But a typ­i­cal water ramp­ing ses­sion will cost $50 ramp fees, and $50 coach­ing per ath­lete per day. The Board will advise on this year’s cost struc­ture.

What Equipment Is Required?

It is real­ly impor­tant that you bring the right gear. You don’t want to get to the facil­i­ty and not have gear as there is no rental or repair shop,….the repair shop is actu­al­ly Can Jenk­ins! You will need the fol­low­ing equip­ment:

  • 2 pairs old skis (between chin and top of head). Wood core skis are best.
  • Bind­ings cranked to max­i­mum DIN set­tings
  • Rope ties on each ski to pre­vent them from falling to the bot­tom of the pool if they fall off (we’ll help with this as required)
  • Old ski boots (they get pret­ty nasty),…or you can use old lin­ers with your exist­ing boot shells.
  • Full length wet or dry suit for cold days (this will impact how much jump­ing you are able to do and stay warm)
  • Old hel­met (ski, kayak or hock­ey – we’ll show you how to duck tape the ears)
  • Neo­prene board or fish­ing gloves
  • Life jack­et

Real­ly search for find old skies to make this work. They needn’t be any­thing spe­cial and there are no equip­ment style points in water ramp­ing. If your equip­ment stays on and lasts the year, you are a win­ner! Try ski shops who have old rentals to sell, used sport­ing good stores, and good will. You can often find old equip­ment at these loca­tions. Oth­er Jasper fam­i­lies may also have old equip­ment to pass on. If you have ques­tions on equip­ment, feel free to con­tact one of the vet­er­an water ramp fam­i­lies or the coach­es.

So that is your water ramp primer. I know it sounds crazy to be doing this in the sum­mer, but it real­ly is impor­tant train­ing for ath­letes to devel­op their jump­ing skills. It will be worth it when you see your child jump and stick the land­ing after dri­ving 6 hrs to a win­ter comp.

Con­tact Us if you have any ques­tions.

ps. Par­ents can also jump, but it is high­ly dis­cour­aged by us par­ents not brave enough to try.

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