How do people learn park and pipe tricks without breaking their necks?

Ask Dr. Flake
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Ask Dr. Flake

They swallow their pride, that's how. These days, any resort that's serious about park and pipe has "progression parks. You start out in the green parks, sliding ankle-high rails, move on (that's synonymous with "progress) to a 180 on, say, smallish kickers or midget halfpipes in the blues, and graduate from there to the big leagues. "You can't ski with your cojones, says David Oliver, head freestyle trainer for Breckenridge's Ski and Ride School. "You've got to take it one step at a time—whether it's air, a trick, or rotation. While the rest of us are taking baby steps, new-school airmen like Tanner Hall get to practice off-axis spins on trampolines, or launch misty flips off 40-foot-high water ramps into pools. But be warned: Flake once lost a third cousin in a mishap involving twin tips, trampolines, and freeskiing hottie Kristi Leskinen—who, by the way, walked away from the incident having perfected her mute grab.