Powder Skiing Techniques

Powder Skiing Techniques
Skiing is like dancing on snow, and deep powder snow can provide a euphoric experience. A skier using proper techniques will float and fly down a steep slope, while each effortless turn throws a cloud of snow into the air. Powder skiing techniques are somewhat similar to skiing packed snow, and most intermediate and expert skiers can adapt to the new style in a few days.


Difficulty: Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Skis that are designed for powder Ski boots Ski poles A good pair of goggles Warm ski clothing 6 to 12 inches of fresh snow
  • Skis that are designed for powder
  • Ski boots
  • Ski poles
  • A good pair of goggles
  • Warm ski clothing
  • 6 to 12 inches of fresh snow
Step 1
Find the right skis. The right equipment will make skiing deep powder much easier. So shop carefully, or try renting a good pair on your next powder day, and make sure the skis are properly waxed.
Step 2
Learn some basic powder techniques. Foot stance and up-and-down motion are the main differences between packed snow and powder methods. Most powder skiers prefer to ski with their feet fairly close together and their weight evenly distrubuted so that the two skis act as one.
Step 3
Practice jump turns. Deep powder skiing requires more up-and-down motion than packed snow, and this simple drill really helps. Find a flat area and rotate your upper body 90 degrees in either direction while keeping your feet and skis in the same place. Your body should be in a normal skier stance with your hands and poles in front. Jump in the air and rotate your skis 180 degrees while attempting to hold the same upper body position. This may seem difficult at first, but should get much easier after a few attempts. Repeat this drill until it feels comfortable and then try it on a powder slope.
Step 4
Link the jumps and smooth out the motion. Jump turns are a good skill to master and provide an excellent method for learning up-and-down movement, but the correct technique must be more continuous. Linking the jump turns while concentrating on smoothness will lead to an elegant, nearly effortless motion.
Step 5
Practice body position. Successful powder skiers will always face down the hill with their weight balanced on the balls of their feet. The hands should be spaced about 2 feet apart and in a tray-carrying position. Using the poles correctly is also critical because it stops the upper-body rotation and initiates the turn. A competent powder skier should feel like his or her upper body is bopping smoothly up and down in a balanced position while the knees and legs rotate harmoniously around them.

Tips & Warnings

Take a lesson. These tips can be very helpful, but hands-on instruction is hard to beat. A good instructor can often catch small mistakes and remedy them before they become bad habits.
Most of the fun things are dangerous, and skiing is definitely one of them. Avalanche risk often accompanies deep powder, so keep on eye on that hazard.

Article Written By John Mattson

John Mattson is an architectural engineer, adventure writer, and photographer who has traveled to many remote corners of the earth. He has recently self-published a colorfully photographed book of 26 diverse and extreme adventure stories titled "Dancing on the Edge of an Endangered Planet."

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