You might be great at skiing, but if you have not tried powder skiing you are missing all the fun. There is probably nobody who loves skiing and does not want to ski powder, however, it is easier said than done as it requires a great deal of practice and form. It is not like regular skiing and involves more of a uniformly weighted technique so that you remain centred over the skis. Before you think of having fun with powder skiing you should already be an expert in hockey stop and parallel skiing. Your balance and control on the skis should be good enough and you should be able to tolerate getting wiped out now and then. However, regardless of how good you already are, you will most probably tumble more than once. You do not need to be scared of tumbling because the powder is pretty forgiving. There are a few things that you must keep in mind when you want to ski powder.
Get the Right Ski Set
You ask anyone who is into powder skiing and he will tell you that wider skis are way better than narrow skis. The greater the width of the ski, the easier it would be for you to float on snow and you will also find turning much easier. Although you can definitely try doing it with your narrow skis, it will be much more difficult and demand immense physical involvement. Before you decide which brand is best for you, try a pair of wide skis from a rental shop.
If you are experienced at skiing, but it is your first time when it comes to powder skiing you have to prepare yourself mentally before you attempt it. That’s because groomed slopes have a predictable terrain and fear does not seem to be a challenge. Even though the powder is soft, you may not be able to identify obstacles as they would be hidden beneath the snow and would require you to react more quickly. You will be facing downhill as powder skiing requires a much higher speed. These challenges require confidence above everything else.
Physical Balance and Control
- Stay Centered
Powder skiing requires you to assume somewhat the squat position, just make sure that your weight is equally balanced on the skis. Do not squat all the way down as this would reduce the weight on your skis, making your ski tips cross. Do not lean forward too much as this would make your skis go inside the snow instead of rising above.
- Maintain a Narrow Stance
Keep your stance tight and narrow so that your skis do not drift off on their own. At the same time, make sure that the skis are not touching your body. If your stance is excessively wide, your outside ski may drift away and end up plunging in snow, pulling you backwards. You will end up crashing.
- Rotating and Edging
To get into the right momentum for powder skiing, you need to rotate your thighs instead of the edges of your skis. You will have to use a strong stance when you make a turn and you will have to maintain this stance in every turn you make.
- Maintain a High SpeedYou need to do powder skiing at a high speed. Skiing at a low speed will make it difficult for you to turn properly. Therefore, maintain a constant high speed and don’t overburden yourself with the fear of falling. While skiing downhill try your best that you do not limit your speed and also try to avoid rotating your body. Your ski tips should be pointing downwards and the skis should be aligned with your hips.
- Flex & Pop Motion
Powder skiing requires an up & down motion which is created by extending and flexing your legs, this helps in releasing the pressure on the ski and gets you into a gliding motion. It prevents you from sinking into the snow and enables you to glide on it.
- Get into the Rhythm
If you want to powder ski smoothly then getting into a rhythmic motion is important. By flicking your wrist and using a wide pole plant this rhythm can be easily established which would enable you to time your turns properly. This will also make it easier for you to round your turns in the S shape instead of zig-zagging and ending up crashing.
- Look Ahead Not Downwards
Do not look at your skis, look ahead of you and try to plan your next turns.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Do Not Lean Back
Many people make this mistake. Leaning back is not required when you are using wide skis or skis that have been specially constructed for powder skiing. It is only required when you are using narrow skis. Leaning back in this case will end up exhausting your legs, there will be less weight on your skis which will end up crashing you and your ski tails will sink in the snowmaking it extremely hard for you to turn.
- Avoid Getting Your Tails in the Snow
If your ski tails are sinking in the snow, you will find turning harder and harder with each turn. So use the flex and pop motion on each turn to avoid this.
- Skiing Slow
Slow speed means you will not gain the right momentum to ride on the snow, keep your speed high.
One sign of over-rotating is that you tend to traverse sideways which can make your skis stuck in the snow and therefore end up throwing you off or pushing you backwards. Your body’s core muscles will help you overcome this challenge so make them strong by working out.
- Watch Your Feet
The wider your feet are, the difficult it would be for you to take turns. It may also shift your weight more towards one side compared to the other, ending up in an imbalance that can throw you off.