When you hit the mountain in search for your daily fix of winter sports excitement, you know that you have three choices – to ski on the groomed tracks, the terrain park, or the boundless beauty of untouched powder snow.
If you have grown tired and bored of the groomed tracks and are looking for a fresh challenge, or it’s your first time skiing, you should know that skiing on powder snow offers a totally different type of fun.
But, before you get all worked up and start packing your skis to hit powder snow trails, there are a few things you should know. Powder snow requires different equipment, but also a different skiing technique to that of groomed snow. So, we’ve dedicated this article to giving you an idea about how to ski on powder snow like a pro – and have fun like one.
Powder Snow Skiing Equipment
Skis for powder snow are different from those used when skiing on groomed trails. They are a bit wider and thicker, as this is better for when you want to have some float on powder snow. Also, while having a rocker might seem like something you don’t need when riding on groomed, it’s a must for when riding on powder.
A front rocker will help with getting on top of the snow for a turn, or to simply maintain the speed and make sure you don’t slow down way too quickly when encountering differing heights and snow consistencies.
Tips For How To Ski Powder
- Maintain Pressure On Both Skis
It can be tiresome and even frustrating to have your outside ski just slide away sometimes. This happens to skiers who aren’t used for the ground underneath them to have different consistencies, meaning they don’t regulate the pressure they apply.
Well, if you are to ski on powder, you’ll have to do it. Balance the power each ski gets, and you won’t have to worry about your skis getting away from you while making turns.
Making hard turns is loads of fun on groomed tracks, but trying to turn hard on powder snow will just get you face-down in snow. Instead, look for making a curvaceous turn that more resembles the letters U or C.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Step It Up
Powder snow offers a lot of excitement, but unfortunately, speed is not one of them. Also, restricting speedruns (where possible) can actually lead to a full stop, and going too slow makes powder skiing very difficult and tiresome. So next time you run into a longer, steeper slope that will enable you to speed up, give it your best shot. Also, make sure to always try to go at higher speeds, as you will have more fun, and considering the softness of powder, if you fall off your skis you won’t have to worry about injuries.
- Keep a Rhythm
Keeping a rhythm for when making turns on powder is a great way for you to relieve pressure on your legs and to also give your legs a nice short break before you put them back to work. Now, keeping a rhythm will be hard at first, but stick to it, and you’ll be able to significantly increase your energy levels and stay on powder for longer periods.
- Tighten Up!
The varying consistency of powder snow will require you to not only maintain pressure on both skis but to also tighten up your body center in order to increase balance. This will improve the stability of your body’s gravity core when you hit bumps and while turning.
- Keep Your Feet Moving
As you enter powder snow, your first instinct will be to slow down, but if you do this, you’ll come to a full stop. In order to keep moving, move your feet ahead a bit so when your skis sink down a bit and then jump up, you can maintain your balance so that your feet don’t detach too far from your body.
- Ride As If You’re Going Through Moguls
Skiing on powder is very similar to skiing moguls. Now when you turn around moguls and go over them, sometimes you extend your legs so that you can take the turn or the downhill slope of the mogul, so that you get back some of the power you pushed in. Then you can flex your legs and balance the impact.
- Take A Narrower Stance
A ski instructor would tell you to stick to a wide stance, as this is the best way to maintain balance. But keeping a wide stance while skiing on powder can make your feet wobbly and your skis can take unexpected turns. A narrower stance won’t hurt or kick you down.
- Incline, don’t Cut Through
Riding on powder isn’t about getting a good grip on the first flat surface you find and sticking to it. It’s more about setting the terrain in front of you so that you have a bigger platform on which you can twist and turn.
This will serve you well when deciding to turn and when getting more power and speed. If you make angled cuts you risk falling or stopping abruptly. So when you turn, turn with your whole body, instead of exerting extra power on your legs and joints.
- Inspect And Choose Your Terrain
Powder snow will slow you down, so instead of following your instincts or letting the slope guide you, keep on powering through. Inspect your terrain, and make sure you’re mentally prepared to not do what feels natural. Reaching steeper slopes will make you slow down, but don’t do it! Instead, add some extra effort and hit it with as much power as it feels comfortable.
You might not get the hang of skiing powder at the first try, but stay persistent. There’s no point in getting frustrated. Step by step, you’ll learn it all and get good at it.
So there you have it, all the info you need in order to become king of the powder. Now, we said that it takes some time to learn how to handle powder trails, but the better you get at it, the more you will enjoy it.