If you’ve recently entered the world of skiing and are intrigued by what is powder skiing, this guide will help give you a complete insight. You might have heard skiers talk about powder skiing as a skier’s dream and one of the finest experiences on earth.
White and weightless – It is indeed true that powder skiing is the most glorious type of skiing. It almost makes you feel like you’re flying on white powder. And this is the very reason skiers keep coming back to it. But it is not as easy as it sounds. This type of skiing can soon turn south if the skier isn’t armed with the right gear or has the proper know-how.
Let’s get into what powder skiing is all about!
What is Powder Skiing?
Powder skiing involves skiing on top of white, fluffy, bottomless powder that is both exciting and dangerous at the same time. To know how to ski powder, you must first be accustomed to skiing and be well-aware of the different techniques.
Getting the hang of this soft snow is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is tough and can prove to be quite a risk if not handled well. The thing with powder skiing is that it involves a more evenly weighted technique where the skier has to remain centered over their skis while maintaining a narrow stance.
The skier must learn how to rotate their skis with their thighs and not the edges. It is important to know how to maintain your speed and make long and curved turns while keeping your hands forward so that there is a rhythm in all your movements while powder skiing.
Skiing Powder Skill
As mentioned above, skiing powder requires a set of skills and technique that makes it easy and safe for you to ski. One must be comfortable with parallel skiing along with the famous hockey stop. There is no doubt that skiing on plain ground and skiing powder has major differences in balance, speed, techniques, etc.
You must have a great command over your skis and a good balance before you can think about powder skiing. If you get into it without proper practice, you will be washed out by the powder snow every few turns. And this is dangerous as you never know what lies underneath that snow. There can be rocks, tree branches, etc., that can prove dangerous and, in some instances, fatal. So no matter how good you ski on the plain ground, there are high chances of falling down a few times before you find the right balance on the powder.
You must start by practicing on new snow terrain. It will help give you a great idea of where you stand as a skier or beginner. In addition, it will help build your confidence and techniques for other journeys ahead. You will develop a better balance when you aim for shorter sections and then go for the longer or more tiring runs.
Step 1: It Is Important To Remain Centered
The trick is to stay balanced and centered, and for that, you’ll have to be in a squat-down position so that you can easily maintain a steady hold over your skis. If you decide to stand tilted back, this will cause you do not to have the balance you need to ensure proper powder skiing.
So, the trick is not to be too forward or too backward. Maintaining the right balance will allow your skis to have a good hold in the snow, and it will not tilt here and there, and you won’t have a fear of falling.
Step 2: Make Your Stance Lean
It is important to know that skiing powder requires you to ski at a minimum a distance as possible. There should not be huge gaps between your skis. The closer your skis are to each other, the tighter stance you will have. It will ensure that your skis don’t skid or go off into the powder snow on their own.
There is a fine line between the distance that should be there, neither should your skis be too close or too far. If your skis are near each other, there are higher chances of your skis intertwining with each other, and you end up crash landing in the powder snow.
Step 3: Know How To Maintain Your Balance
No matter what type of skiing you’re planning on doing this winter, keeping your balance is one of the first few things you should know how to do. Keep in mind that the groomed slopes are very different from the powered, fluffy snow terrains, and for each ski type, there are different ways of maintaining your balance.
You can’t put pressure on one ski as that will lead your ski to fall deep into the snow and result in you being unbalanced and eventually falling. You must maintain an equal balance on both skis or a lot in the first few attempts. By keeping an even pressure on both skis, you will have a larger platform to ski on, and this will allow you to glide on the powder rather than dive into it.
With consistent practice, you will get the hang of it. You can use good poles to help keep your weight more evenly distributed among both skis. You can swing it forward right before you are about to finish any turn by using a pole. It will allow you a safer and more balanced skiing experience and will help you form a tempo.
Step 4: It’s all about Rotation
To ski on powder, you should know how to rotate your thighs and be cautious of not rotating your edges. The trick is to slide slant and not carve a turn through the snow. You should make all your turns with your thighs rather than the edges of the ski, as powder turns are all about putting your legs to good use.
It’s not the same as on groomed slopes where one is required to use their edges to carve. Powder skiing requires you to make use of your thighs. It is important to foresee the turn and then guide your skis. All this needs to be done while maintaining the speed. Don’t zigzag your way all through the slope or hill. Stay in one line so that you can practice skiing with others and not have to bump into someone every five seconds.
Step 4: Flexing & Popping
Powder skiing allows you to create your movements. You can ride up or down at your own pace and speed. It can occur with flexing and extending your legs on all the turns that come your way. It is known as a pop-up or a pop-down. It helps the skier release some pressure from the ski every now or then since you can’t put too much pressure on the ski to fear diving into the snow.
It helps make it easier for the skier to move on the hill and get their body into the right position. This technique will help you to ride the snow rather than fall into it. However, the trick is that you need to push your skis into the snow at the end of every turn, bend your legs, and change the direction. It is needed to be repeated at every turn.
Step 5: Tempo
The tempo or rhythm is one of the essential parts of powder skiing, as you must learn how to fall into the flow of it as you ride through the soft, fluffy powered snow. You can achieve this by using a brush of the wrist along with a broad stick.
It will help get you in the right position and help you achieve the perfect turn each time. It will make the entire skiing experience a more normal process.
Step 6: Smooth-edged Turns
The key to good powder skiing is to be able to make well-rounded turns in the snow. You should always aim at making smoothed S turns in the fluffy white powered snow. It will help you keep track of your speed and avoid any form of falling or injury taking place.
It takes time to master this as you will fall the first few times and eventually get the hang of it. You must always remember to rotate the skis gently and try to avoid any sharp turns. Never let the appeal of swishing through your turn get the best of you, as it will lead you to be out of control and eventually make you fall. Try to control your speed at all times, especially at the end of each turn, because that is the trickiest part.
Step 7: Have A Good Command Over Your Speed
The thing is that skiing in deep powder snow slows you down way faster than the slopes. It is pretty obvious that the powdery and fluffy snow engulfs your skis and can make you fall deeper into it if you don’t know how to balance or maintain your speed.
It is important to keep the same speed throughout so that you don’t end up losing your balance at any point. If you ski extremely slow, it will have you sinking into the snow, and if you ski too fast, it will have you falling on your face. Both will make it extremely difficult for you to get up and start all over again. It is expected in the first few times, but your speed will become better as you progress. Your tips should be downward-sloping – Your ski tips must be downward-sloping, which will help you pick up more speed and avert any bodily spins.
Step 8: Keep A Look Ahead
It can sometimes get challenging if you’re a beginner – the constant need to look down at your skis to know where you are going. But make sure to avoid doing this as this can cause crashes.
Keep an eye ahead at the upcoming terrain to know when you have to make the next turn and plan how to go about it in your head.
What You’ll Need for Powder Skiing
Here is a list of the seven skiing essentials that will help you ski powder like a pro while keeping you safe and ensuring a smooth and pleasant experience out on the terrains, even though you are a first-time skier or beginning your powder skiing journey.
- Skiing Gloves
- Skiing Socks
- Skiing Underwear Set
- Skiing Mid Layer Top
- Skiing Fleece Jacket
- Skiing Pants
- Skiing Headwear
Our Final Thoughts
Now that you have a clear idea of what is powder skiing, you can arrange the gear and practice the techniques accordingly. It is different from the groomed slopes skiing are very as here the snow is fluffy, and for that, there are different ways of maintaining your balance. We hope these steps help you out!