Skiing powder snow is the ultimate feel-good, confidence booster. We see the pros shredding the ‘pow’, making it look so easy. But how do they do it? They look so light and effortless, gliding down a steep pitch. It’s like a dream. Here are 8 tips, to help you ski powder like a pro.
8 Secrets to Skiing Powder like a Pro
- The right kit
- Mentally prepare
- Get your speed up
- Work your legs and feet together
- Steer your feet
- Stay balanced
- Relax and enjoy
The Right Kit
We know a worker never blames their tools. But in this instance, wider skis will make all the difference. Although there is nothing stopping you from skiing powder on your narrow slalom skis. It’s just a bit more challenging and requires more physical input!
Most rental shops will allow you to swap your skis for a morning or a day to enable you to try out a different pair. So if you’ve seen the forecast and know there’s lots of snow coming the next day head to the rental shop the night before and try out some wider powder skis. The wider the ski, the more you will float on top of the snow, making it easier to turn.
We’ve got a special discount on ski hire
If you’ve spent a good few years skiing on beautifully groomed slopes, then skiing in the powder can be a bit of a minefield. We totally get it. On piste, the terrain is relatively predictable and you can see any lumps or bumps from a mile off. But in the powder obstacles can be hidden beneath, so you need your body to react quickly, especially when you’re out of your comfort zone. Be willing to let your skis face down the hill as you need more speed in deep powder snow.
Being confident is vital and the belief that you can do it actually makes a huge difference. If you’re intimidated by the snow, the natural reaction is to sit back and let the snow take you for a ride. If you want to ski powder like a pro, you have to act like a pro! Be assertive and make positive, precise movements to show the snow who’s boss.
At the top of the run, give yourself a pep talk. It might sound silly but do it. Trust us – it works! Remember if you fall over, that’s okay. It means you’re giving it your best shot and having fun. At least the snow is soft and forgiving!
Speed is your Friend
If you want to ski powder like a pro, you’ll need some speed. Skiing in deep powder snow actually slows you down. Sometimes, the snow can be so heavy that it’s hard to make a turn.
Building up a bit of speed and harnessing a bit of momentum is a great way to get going. You can seamlessly make your first turn and build a rhythm to continue down the slope.
Work your legs and feet together
There are a time and a place for hotdogging and keeping the feet glued together but too close together in the powder and it can block your steering. Equally, if your stance gets too wide it’s likely one leg might end up going in a different direction to the other!
If you have the appropriate kit you shouldn’t have to ski with your feet super close together and can manage with a stance about hip-width apart. Focus on trying to be a little more two-footed than perhaps you would be on piste and on driving both skis together through the snow.
Steering vs Turning
In comparison to skiing on the piste, skiing in powder does not require you to use the edge of the ski for grip. In fact, it’s easier if you steer with your feet and legs. Guide your skis in the direction you want, instead of actively trying to engage your edges or create big angles.
The skis won’t respond in the same way they do on-piste, especially if you’re on fat powder skis. Your legs may be a little achy after all the turning and steering, but it will be much easier than trying to turn when you can’t even see your feet.
Feel the Bounce
When the powder is deep, it can be hard to keep a rhythm. Experiment with pumping your legs up and down when you turn. This way the momentum will push you back up on top of the snow before your next turn. It’s super fun. It may feel silly, but the more you accentuate this movement, the more success you will have in the deep powder. Tune in to your inner kangaroo!
If you really want to make tight turns in the powder, like powder 8’s for example, try counting each turn in your head. Count 1,2, turn … 1,2 turn. That way each turn will be similar in size and you’ll look like you’ve just flown in from Aspen!
Consistency is key, so get practising!
Maintain balance throughout the turn by flexing your ankles and feeling pressure on the front of your boots against your shins. Another tip to help you stay balanced is to use your poles!
Don’t forget about those trusty metal sticks in your arms. Yep, those things… Use them! By planting your pole ahead to initiate each turn they will help you to keep your rhythm. Pole planting also forces you to keep your hands out in front of you and helps prevent you from ending up in the backseat!
We know it sounds obvious, but have fun! Relax into it and let your skis glide through the snow. Don’t be afraid to have your skis facing down the fall line – build it up if you need to then enjoy!
It takes time to nail powder so have a little go, even if just off the side of the piste. Not every turn is going to be perfect, but try it out. Practice makes perfect after all.
Isn’t it time you felt confident to ski powder?
This year we’re pleased to announce we have a whole variety of new off-piste lessons in collaboration Ski Club GB. Sharing a lesson or experience with someone makes it that much more enjoyable, and gives you something to look back and laugh together about.
This is why we love group ski lessons. Our adult off-piste ski groups bring together people of a similar level in a sociable setting. Whether it’s your first time skiing off-piste, or you’re looking to develop your technique and explore the backcountry, you’ll be able to progress and build confidence in a fun but supportive environment.
Please remember, when venturing off-piste to play in the powder, you must ensure you have the correct avalanche safety equipment (which you can rent from us.) And either has an instructor or someone who knows the terrain and conditions well. Stay safe and know how to use your equipment.