Powder Skiing

Posted 22nd September 2015

Powder Skiing

How to ski powder

Powder skiing is the holy grail of winter sports – for many, the ultimate aim of leaning to ski. Every magazine cover has a cool picture of a skier deep in powder with fresh snow flying over their head; they make it look so effortless. So surely it can’t be that difficult, or that different from skiing on the piste… can it?

The answer for most intermediate skiers is yes it is quite tough – and your first foray into the deep stuff will usually end up with you buried upside down in snow!  So here are a few essential tips for learning to ski powder:

1) Wear goggles

When you start skiing powder it’s a fair bet that you’ll fall over in the deep snow so make sure you are ready. Wear goggles, a helmet and zip up your jacket. It’s also a good idea to rent a pair of all mountain skis, which are better suited to powder skiing than a piste performance ski, because they are wider and will make it easier to stay on top of the snow.

2) Start easy

Start on a slope that’s not too steep. When you ski powder you will almost always be facing down the mountain thus going quite fast so it’s a good idea to start on a gentle slope; something similar to a blue, and make sure it is not too far from the piste in case you need to abort the mission!

3) Weight over your skis

It’s a common mistake to lean back when skiing powder in order to get your tips out of the snow. However doing this makes it harder to control your skies and keep your balance. So try and fight this feeling, instead aim to have your weight in the middle of you skis and balanced equally over both skis; this will spread your weight and help to keep both skis higher in the snow.

4) The need for speed

The deep snow will create resistance against your skis, feet, and legs – so when you try to turn in powder when going slowly it will be very hard work. The solution is to go a bit faster; your skis will naturally float higher in the snow, and your speed will make it much easier to move through the deep snow.

5) The turn

Turning in powder requires a soft bouncing motion.

Start by extending your knees and ankles, this will create a springboard in the snow under your skis; and this will unweight your skis giving you the freedom to turn them before coming back down while bending your knees and ankles at the end of the turn. Extend again to start the next turn.

6) Get some rhythm

Skiing powder is all about rhythm; be graceful and patient between turns. Try not to rush your movements, as this will become exhausting. Some people find it helpful to count their turns to create a kind of pattern to their movement – i.e. one, two, turn, one, two, turn.

7) Falling with style

It can be very difficult to get back up after a fall on skis – particularly in the deep powdery snow. When you are falling, before you come to a rest, use your momentum to keep rolling until your skis are down the mountain from you. This will make getting back up a lot easier.

8) Have a lesson

If you are a happy and competent intermediate skier and are looking to improve your skiing then having a two-hour private lesson in the powder will be invaluable. It is without doubt the best way to learn the new skills required for skiing powder.

Happy skiing!

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Visit our site to discover more about skiing in Chatel and the Portes du Soleil.

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Nick Williams  February 2020

         
A beautiful Chalet in the village of Chatel which oozes charm and tradition. Paddy and his team take care of everything from driving you to the town and slopes to cooking delicious evening meals. We had a great week here (despite the lack of snowfall) and will definitely be returning.

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