Skiing powder can very often be the most satisfying skiing you can do. Whether you’re the first one to hit the slopes with a fresh blanket of snow lining your path, or you’ve decided to go off piste and tackle the elements, learning how to control yourself on powder is paramount.
And while nothing obviously beats getting out there and giving it a go, if you try to keep these 10 tips in mind as you do so, you’ll be skiing that powder like a boss before you know it.
Speed is good
While this may feel a little counter intuitive when you’re skiing a new surface for the first time, the fact is, speed is your friend.
And while it is all too easy to go at a more leisurely pace on powder, (the top layer of snow actually slows your speed down when compared to a smooth, well used run) this will impair your ability to turn and initiate direction change.
Ensuring that you have a good lick on will help make your skis or board float to the surface of the snow, making turning that much easier.
Turning on Deep Powder – Nice and round
When turning on deep powder you manoeuvre your skis in a more gradual turn shape. Flicking your skis across from left to right at the speed you are accustomed to will lead to your face nicely imprinted in the fresh snow beneath your feet.
Avoid a numb face and body bruises by following a turn shape that is nice an round instead.
Listen to both feet
One issue that can occur when skiing powder is losing the outside foot in deep snow. It then runs away from you causing a few problems to say the least.
To avoid this you should listen to both feet. What do we mean by this? Put simple, by skiing with a little more pressure on both skis as you make your way down the slope, will help balance your body weight over a larger platform of support.
There is less chance of one of your skis plunging deep into the powder and therefore less chance of you chewing snow.
While a relaxed free flowing posture is important for most types of skiing, the inconsistency of powder (and the unknown of what lies beneath), means you should keep a tight core as you descend.
With your upper body stabilized you will minimize the ability of an unexpected bump to throw you of course.
This also means your concentration levels need to be right up there. If you can spot defects in the surface of the snow before you reach them, you will stand a much greater chance of staying on your feet.
Keep on moving, moving
Keeping with the subject of feet, to maintain balance those feet need to be moving.
As we mentioned in point one, when you enter powder the extra friction will make you slow down. Overcome this by pushing your feet further ahead.
Furthermore, as your skis bounce out of the snow between turns, you may well feel as if you’re feet are being thrown. To remain in charge of your little pinkies direction, you will need to exert counter force by reigning them in beneath your body.
More on those turns
Rhythmical turns are the best approach when skiing powder. This will allow you to take energy from one turn into the next, which will bounce you out of the deeper snow enough to avoid by thrown.
Narrow that stance
While you may have been taught from the very first skiing lesson that a wide stance makes for better balance on the slopes, this is not always the case when skiing powder.
Narrowing your stance on powder will help you keep your skis under control, and away from the whims of the white stuff.
Choose Your Terrain Wisely
Another counter intuitive piece of advice; along with the fact speed is your friend, so to is a steeper run.
Powder slows you down and you need to overcome this, taking on a more intense gradient will help you obtain that speed and will bring you to the surface of the powder, rather than having you wallow in its difficult depths.
Skiing in moguls
Many people do not realise that skiing powder is much like skiing in moguls. The difference of course is the fact you are making the moguls as you ski.
To do this you should extend your legs through to the middle of the turn. This also needs to happen as you push your skis into the powder.
The result of this is compacted snow that will have enough force to push back on. To overcome this force you need to flex your legs just as you would in the bumps.
Use fat skis
One way of increasing your chances of staying vertical while skiing powder, is to get yourself a pair of wide fat skis.
The obvious benefit here is that fat skis create a bigger platform on top of the snow.
You can increase your level of float even further by trying a pair of skis with reverse camber at the tip and tail (also known as a “Rocker”).
Whatever way you go about it, skiing powder is exhilarating and a hell of a lot of fun. These tips should help you on your way. All it takes is a bit of practice and a little confidence to overcome the fact you need to keep your speed up as you go.
I am confident you will nail it in no time. Enjoy the snow.
Image Credits: Pixabay