Top tips for how to ski in powder

Published by Harry Sowers on

How to Ski in Powder

According to most skiers, skiing in powder is one of the most exciting sports that you can experience. It makes skiers feel as if they are weightless. Though experts at skiing make it look quite natural, it takes some time to master the right techniques. 

Whether you are trying to ski in powder for the first time or have tried it in the past, you have to learn some crucial techniques that can make you great at it. If you don’t master the right techniques, you may not enjoy the experience. Find out how to ski in powder like an expert. 

Prepare yourself mentally

Before you try to ski in powder, you should first start by preparing yourself mentally. Be ready to move faster than you are used to and get over any fears you may have. Always remember that in a powder field, speed is not your enemy. You should be ready to turn the skis into a fall line to pick up more speed. 

As you think about how fast you intend to move, focus on always remaining in control. Allow gravity to take you down and don’t fight it. The more you give in to the powder, the easier it is to learn how to ski on such a surface. Even if you fall, you should not forget that the ground is soft, and the powder is forgiving. The risk of sustaining an injury is, therefore, low on this surface.

Get the right gear

One of the most crucial tips for skiing in powder is using the right equipment. Overlooking this step can lead to a disaster. If you intend to engage in this sport frequently, consider buying your own equipment rather than renting it. Start by choosing fat skis. This can help learn how to ski in powder easily since they are easy to use. You should also invest in quality boots that can prevent you from experiencing foot pain after skiing. 

Find the right posture

Most first time skiers do not pay attention to their posture while skiing. Instead of leaning backward as you move, you should imagine yourself reading a large newspaper to maintain the right position. Your hands should always remain in front even when you are moving downhill. Ensure that your shoulder width is about 6 inches. 

Proper arm positioning is crucial as you ski in powder. You should also try to plant wide with the poles before turning as you move only the wrists. Do not let your arms fly backward since this can negatively affect your balance while skiing in powder. You should also narrow your stance while keeping some space between your skis. They should not touch one another.

As you move, you can also squat without letting the knees go behind the ankles. Leaning backward while skiing in the powder field is not advisable. Always ensure that your hands are forward so that most of your weight remains forward. You can even scrunch your toes to find out if you are leaning back too much. 

Turning

skiier turning in powder

When you are feeling weightless, this is the best time to turn. Turns on a powder field feel like rounded zigzags on a hill. For you to turn correctly, you should first squat at the center of straight lines and then stand up so that your legs remain straight. This should unweight you so that you can make a turn effortlessly. You should avoid turning when you are moving at a slow speed. 

Some skiers also try to avoid contours while skiing. Instead of doing this, you should aim for them since they can make turning easier. You should be able to distinguish between dangerous bumps and safe bumps in the snow so that you can improve your skill when it comes to making turns. Rather than using the edge of your ski to make turns, you should try to utilize your thigh bone. 

Skiing on hard snow is different from powder skiing. When skiing on hard snow, people use the downhill ski to make a turn. If you try to use this technique while skiing in powder, you can easily drive one ski down the snow. As you make turns, you need to use your femur so that you can avoid eating snow. Maintain a proper body position that can increase flotation so that you can avoid getting stuck and keep on moving.

You should also imagine making turns as if you only have a single big ski. Rather than catching edges, try to rotate your thighs so that you can turn smoothly. Exert the same amount of pressure on each of your skis during the entire run. When your body weight is spread evenly across the skis, it is easy to keep the tips above the snow. Take your time to make turns instead of rushing it.

Lengthen your turns

Once you have mastered how to make turns, you should learn how to lengthen them to maintain momentum and high speed in deep snow. To lengthen your turns, ensure that you still have even weight on your ski. You should still weight and unweight every time you make turns. As long as you have gained enough confidence in making turns, you should try to increase the radius of a turn while maintaining short transitions between the turns. Doing this ensures that your skis continue facing down a slope for long so that you don’t lose momentum. 

Learn movements such as extending and flexing

To learn how to ski in powder, you should also get familiar with other fundamental movements, such as extending and flexing. These movements are about pulling and pushing. You have to practice how to make the tips go in the snow and out fast without getting stuck. Start by finding a proper terrain that contains some soft snow so that you can learn the movements quickly. You have to practice pushing your skis down into the snow and allowing them to pop up so that you get better at this sport. Ensure that you keep on kicking the tails into snow such that they point straight down a hill. 

Be prepared to fall

Every skier falls at some point. As you learn different techniques, you should be prepared to fall. When this happens, avoid putting your hands on the surface and trying to push yourself back up. Instead of this, cross the poles to form an X and use one hand to hold on to them. Place the poles uphill so that they can help you push your body up. 

If you are skiing in powder for the first time, you should avoid doing it alone. Let someone who has some experience in this form of skiing follow you from behind to monitor your movements. Once you fall and get back up, take some time to catch your breath before you proceed.

Conclusion

snowboarder in powder

If you are still struggling to implement the powder skiing tips, you should not get frustrated. Skiing in powder requires a lot of patience and practice.  Some of the techniques are different from what you may have learned when skiing on hard snow. To be an expert in this activity, you have to master the art of control through resistance. Practice from time to time to learn how to pressure the tips so that they can rebound out of snow. The more you practice skiing, the easier it gets with time. Giving up too soon should, therefore, not be an option.

Looking for more tips for just starting out skiing? Click here to see our top tips for beginner skiers. Or maybe you are looking for the best skis for beginners? We have you covered there too.

Categories: How to

Harry Sowers

Harry has been skiing and snowboarding since he was a boy growing up outside of Denver Colorado. He is most passionate about skiing and when he was in college a UC Boulder he even participated in the olympic trials for the USA Olympic Downhill Ski team.