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A super trampoline

Seb Toutant on the SuperTramp at Skyriders. Dean Seguin

What do you get when you cross the largest trampoline in the world with the most powerful trampoline in the world? The answer: SuperTramp, and we aren't talking about the '70s rock band that graced us with such hits as Dreamer and Take The Long Way Home.

This SuperTramp is the biggest, toughest trampoline on Earth, and it's at Skyriders in Toronto, Canada. The trampoline is bringing snow sports athletes to a facility that typically draws traditional aerialists. High profile skiers and snowboarders like Bobby Brown, Grete Eliassen, Kaya Turski and Seb Toutant have recently visited Skyriders to put in valuable cross-training to sharpen their tricks before taking them to snow. The Canadian Slopestyle ski team and athletes from Red Bull's High Performance camps have also recently trained at the facility.

"I go to Skyriders just for the SuperTramp," says Toutant. "It bounces three times higher than an Olympic tramp and I can learn tricks that I can't do on a normal tramp."

Rapid progression in skiing and snowboarding comes with risks of injury, but the use of a trampoline allows riders to train and develop air awareness, balance control and proper orientation in a relatively safe environment.

"It's good training for your body and it's the best tool to learn tricks that you haven't tried on snow," Toutant says. "When you get back on your board, it feels so much easier, whether it's a double cork or a single flip, after doing it so many times on the tramp. If you have trouble with one spin or flip, the tramp is the best way to make changes before the winter."

Veteran coach Dave Ross is the mastermind behind Skyriders. Armed with physics schooling and a competitive background, Ross started experimenting with design and construction on hand-woven trampoline beds, which led to his products being used in competitions around the world. He opened Skyriders in 1990 and has been training athletes and perfecting the art of bounce ever since.

"The facility was custom-built," Ross says. "This means the roof was modified to avoid a column in the middle of the gym and, similarly, pits were dug out up to 8 feet, 4 inches deep to allow the athlete clearance for the SuperTramp."

The facility also has four other standard-sized trampolines, all built directly into the floor, and each more powerful than high-caliber competition tramps. Skyriders also has warm-up equipment and video replay on site.

"Trampoline training allows athletes to become adept at moving in the air," Ross says. "You remain warm and dry, plus, because of the rebound action, it's possibly to do more skills per hour than on most other training apparatuses."

Pro skier Kaya Turski, who became the first female skier to land a switch 1080 last spring at the Nine Queens Big Air, attests that trampoline training has strengthened her skills.

"It really helps with your air awareness, timing and consistency," Turski says. "You also get a lot more bounces in a session than you would on your skis, so you can practice the same jump a hundred times way faster than on the slopes. You can play it really safe with the trapeze, then work your way up to trying it on the regular trampoline."