5 Ways to Ski Powder Snow like a Pro

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 5:34:55 AM America/Denver

You can see the light at the end of the hot, sweaty tunnel: winter is almost here! Soon crisp flakes of snow will barrage from the sky and cover the naked mountain peaks. You can imagine carving through that first, thick blanket of powder in a pair of newly sharpened and waxed skis. But how good is your powder skiing technique? You have to approach powder skiing a little dif-ferently than you approach those perfectly groomed ski slopes. Here are 5 ways to ski powder snow like a pro.

Image: Gregg Macdonald, Flickr

Get Powder Gear

The first thing you need to do is look at your gear and see if there are any adjustments you can make in order to more effectively handle powder. While you can ski on powder with all-around mountain skis, rockered skis are going to greatly enhance your experience. Rockered skis have a reverse camber, which means the center bends down into the snow, allowing for the tips and the tails to float up and above the powder. This additional float is the biggest benefit of powder skis. Also, consider how wide your skis are. Fatter skis are going to give you more surface area which provides you with an increased reaction time and more control. The K2 Catamaran is a great example of a ski equipped to manage deep powder. If you don’t own a pair of skis specifi-cally suited to powder snow, consider renting a pair. SkiNSee is a great option, serving as Utah’s number one choice for ski rentals.

Change Your Stance

Image: Atomic80, Flickr

Battle Your Instincts

If you’re new to skiing powder, you might be thinking that starting on a less inclined slope is the way to go — but you’re totally wrong. The density of powder snow is already going to slow you down and if you’re going too slow you won’t be able to effectively float the surface between turns or adapt to changing conditions. It’s important to keep up your speed on powder snow, so choose the more aggressive terrain and shoot for a straighter line. Don’t be afraid of the steeper terrain — again, the powder will be slowing you down. But you’re going to need enough speed to be able to effectively rise above the snow while changing directions.

Round Your Turns

Avoid sharp, aggressive turns because in powder snow they’re going to make sudden resistance on the skis, resulting in the increased likelihood of a fall. Think about creating a giant “C” shape with your skis when you turn, resulting in a gentle rounded pattern that will help you maintain your momentum as you float down the hill. An additional tip: use a slight jumping or popping technique at the end of each turn to help smooth out the transition. If you don’t want to think about jumping, then just think about pulling your feet up, which will release the pressure that powder creates on skis when turning.

The Pole Plant Dance

Rhythm really holds the key to skiing powder snow like a pro. Nailing your turns in repetitive succession helps you maintain your balance and your speed. Try to relax and focus on making symmetrical turns. It can helpful to listen to music, as the beat of a song can keep you focused on the timing of your turns. Pole planting can (and should) also be used to help maintain a rhythm. You should plunge your pole into the snow on the downhill side at the end of every turn, which will help you regain your balance and properly realign your body in preparation for the next turn. A few tips: keep both hands in front of you at all times and use just your wrist to plant your pole, as opposed to your whole arm.

If you follow these 5 tips above, you should soon be skiing powder snow like a pro!
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