Soft, fluffy and bottomless snow – skiing powder is, as most skiers quote, like experiencing heaven on earth. It’s a weightless white world and a dream for most skiers. However, even though professional powder skiers make it look easy, skiing powder requires finding and maintain the right balance. This heavenly snow activity can become quite challenging for beginners and aspiring powder skiers if they don’t have the right equipment and know-how.
If you’re a beginner or someone skiing on different groomers, there are a few key points to keep in mind. These tips will help you how to ski powder like a pro.
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Before you jump into the world of powder ski, take some time to think about it and prepare yourself mentally. Falling should be the least of your worries as when you fall, you will work on soft and harmless snow if you’ve been skiing on slopes all this while, then powder ski can be a bit of a challenge as you won’t be able to see any obstacles since they’ll be hidden in the snow.
A positive attitude and willingness make all the difference. If you are scared or intimated by the snow, then it won’t be easy on you. If you wish to learn the ski, then adopt the right attitude. Start your powder skiing experience by learning in 10-15 cm of fresh powder before going into deeper and steeper terrains.
The Right Equipment
A good skier will never blame their equipment for a bad day, but in this case, it is vital to have wider skis as they make a whole lot of difference. If you’re learning how to ski powder for the first time, you should start by working on wider skis instead of narrow ones as they are less challenging and require less physical input. In addition, the wider the ski, the easier it will be for you to float on the snow and make smooth turns.
Find and Maintain Balance
To ski powder, you need to find and maintain the proper balance on top of the light, fluffy and soft snow.
Body position and weight distribution: To get the best balance and control, keep your ankles flexed with your shins in contact with the fronts of your boots. Don’t worry about your weight going towards your heels, as long as you can do it while keeping your ankles flexed. This position will help you as now you will guide your skis through the snow, and your tips won’t run away from you.
Narrow stance: It is advised to use a narrower stance for soft snow to give you a smoother ride. If you’re too wide, the outside ski can quickly dive into the snowmaking you get off balance and crash.
Put weight evenly on your skis: It’s always about knowing how to keep equal balance on both skis. The outside ski is usually the one taking most of the weight. But, be sure not to press the outside ski into the powder. Try to stay soft and light.
Use poles: Swing your poles forward before you finish your turn, as a constant movement by the poles will help you establish the tempo.
Fundamental Movements: Rotating and Edging
In powder skiing, it’s more about using your legs to steer than using your ski edges to carve as you do on groomed slopes. You don’t carve a turn or skid sideways; instead, you steer your body and edges into the turns with a strong stance. It’s all about taking turns with your thighs rather than the edges of the skis.
It is a deep body movement rather than just working your knees and ankles. You don’t need to grip onto the snow to make each turn.
It’s essential to maintain an excellent speed throughout your turns, as powder makes you slow down much faster. Keep in mind to maintain the same speed throughout each turn as it gets challenging to make a turn if your skiing slowly. There are higher chances of sinking into the snow.
Flex and Pop
As you ski powder, you can create an up and down movement by flexing and extending your legs with each turn. This movement helps to release the weight from the ski and make it easier to move into the next turn and get your body into the correct position. It is a great way to ride the snow rather than sinking into it.
How it works: As you reach the next turn, push your skis into the snow and bend your legs as you change direction with your skis. Repeat this on each turn. Pop up at the end of each turn to initiate a change in direction and then flex down through the turn arc. Finally, twist the skis on top of the snowpack as you rebound off the snow.
Our Final Thoughts
Powder skiing is all about control. Controlling your balance and your turns. Remember, it’s more internal than external. It will take time to get a hang of powder skiing, so relax into it and let your skis glide through the cottony snow. Don’t worry about falling and try to have fun. Not every learning session will be perfect, but you will eventually get there.