While Shifties are a snowboarding trick they are also an optical illusion. When doing a Shifty you are creating the illusion of doing a 180-degree turn in the air and reversing it before you land. Of course since it is an optical illusion you do not really turn 180-degrees.
Twisting your body in opposite directions once you are in the air creates this optical illusion. While this can take a little bit to get used to it isn’t as hard as it sounds. As with all aerial tricks the key to this is timing.
The first step is to become airborne. This can be done by via an Ollie, a ramp or whatever else you happen across that will get you off the ground. Ideally you should launch up in to the air more than you want to move forward. Going up more than forward will improve the look of your trick and provide you with more time to set it up and recover from it.
Once you have left the ground you can begin to twist the upper and lower portions of your body in opposite directions. The technique for twisting your lower body is much the same as doing a 180. Push your forward foot to the side that you wish it to spin while keeping your rear foot basically planted so as to act as a virtual pivot point. An important thing to bear in mind is to not twist your hips.
Twisting your upper body may be a little easier. The easiest way to twist is to simply point your head the way you want your body to turn and the rest of you will naturally follow. Once again be careful not to twist your hips, as they are the anchor points for your body. If you do twist your hips you may find that you turn too far and thus have trouble giving the impression of having turned 180-degrees or landing your trick smoothly.
If you time everything correctly you will complete the maneuver just as your reach the peak hieght of your air. At this point it is time to start returning to your normal position and preparing for the landing. The hardest thing to realign is your feet. Make sure you focus on twisting them back to normal even before you start to untwist your upper body. As you approach the ground make sure that you are looking where you want to go, that your snowboard is straight and your knees are slightly bent to absorb the impact.
As you can see a Shifty is an interesting optical illusion that you can easily learn to do. While challenging yourself is a great way to improve your skills quickly, begin learning this one by turning only 45-degrees the first few times. This will help you avoid an uncomfortable landing that can put an end do your day of snowboarding.