The Ollie is a way to propel yourself and your snowboard off the ground to clear obstacles, get higher air or launch straight off the top of a ramp for perfect re-entry. Normally launching from the rear of your snowboard however launching from the front of your snowboard performs a Nollie performs an Ollie. Of course the purpose of this maneuver is still the same, to launch over small obstacles and for stylish re-entry into ramps and chutes.
The key to the Nollie the same as the Ollie, there is an equal and opposite reaction for every action. When you Nollie you leap off the ground but also drive you snowboard into the ground and thus create a springboard that launches you as hard as you push down. This force propels you higher into the air than you could go be simply jumping up.
To begin the Nollie find a gentle slope and ride down hill. Momentum isn’t important to an Ollie or a Nollie so you can practice on a flat surface if you wish. While moving isn’t critical it does make it easier to get the feel for it when learning. The snowboarding Nollie is based upon jumping from the front of the snowboard so you will need to crouch down as low as you can will riding down the slope and make sure that the surface is as flat as possible.
The toughest part of a Nollie is the launch. You will be driving the nose of your snowboard into the ground, which greatly increases the odds of bailing. Your skill here will impact how well and high you can Nollie. The key to the launch on a snowboard is a diagonal launch with your rear foot leading the angle. You want to jump as high off the ground as you can with your rear foot leaving the ground well before your front foot leaves the ground.
This action does two things for you, it raises the tail of your snowboard high up into the air so that you can clear obstacles and it a springboard effect with the front of your snowboard that will launch you higher into the air. As the tail of your snowboard rises into the air it drives the nose into the ground and causes the snowboard to flex. When your rear foot rises into the air the tension created is released and this energy launches the rear of the snowboard high up into the air. Of course propelling the nose of your snowboard into the ground increase the odds of it biting into the ground very abruptly.
As you feel yourself becoming airborne you need to make a few in flight adjustments. Start off by leveling the snowboard and raising your feet as high up as possible as you reach the crest of your Nollie. This is extremely important to not only the aesthetic look of your Nollie but also your ability to land it. If your nose is pointing to far forward it will dig into the snow and cause you to crash. If you land with the read first your snowboard will be under weighted and it will tend to move around uncontrollably as you contact the snow again. Remember to land on booth foot at the same time.
Nollies are the refined look of an Ollie and add class and style to any trick that you would have used an Ollie for. While the risk of bailing is much higher, the look of your tricks will make up for the learning curve.