HOW TO SKI POWDER: MAKING THE MOST OF FRESH SNOW
With great conditions in much of the Alps and more fresh snow forecast this week, Dynastar ambassador Giles Lewis from The Development Centre, Val d’Isere, gives us his top tips on how to ski powder compared with firm snow, and how to make the most of fresh snow.
The deeper the snow the slower you go. Going too slowly makes skiing soft snow really hard and physical – A straighter line keeps your speed higher and allows you to move through the snow without getting stuck.
A soft base underfoot makes it more difficult to balance – Be gentle changing balance laterally. Work both feet together rather than individually and drive the skis around the turn. The outside ski still does more of the work though.
The skis sink in to the snow during the turn – Embrace this and use it to your advantage. Drive the skis around the turn as they sink in to the snow. As the skis rebound change edges and start the next turn. Keep this rebound going and the rhythm of the turns takes over. Focus on getting the tips out of the snow in between the turns.
“Skiing in soft snow feels like I am making lots of mistakes” –That’s normal. Don’t worry about the mistakes, every good skier makes loads of little mistakes and adjustments as they ski soft snow. Just carry on smiling!
It can be easy to get stuck in a turn and not be able to make linked turns – A strong pole plant helps to re-centre and reset between each turn, and is a really important way to keep the rhythm going.
Armed with these adaptations to a strong piste based technique, and a suitable freeride or all-mountain freeride ski, all good intermediate skiers can begin to enjoy soft snow. Try skiing chopped up snow to practice your technique before venturing in to deep, untouched snow.
If skiing off-piste, carry the right equipment, know how to use it and ski responsibly. If you are unsure, then hire an instructor or a mountain guide. And don’t forget, have fun out there!
Giles Lewis is a ski Instructor with The Development Centre, who operate in Val d’isere Tignes and the Three Valleys, France. He is a trainer of instructors for BASI and a member of the British Demo team.
The idea of escaping into the wilderness, away from the crowds to enjoy untouched powder is becoming increasingly popular. People are branching out further and further off piste to find the hidden, untouched treasures of the mountains, but where do you start when beginning you first backcountry adventure?
Skiing powder should be like skiing on clouds. Soft, untouched snow helps skis glide over the surface; powder, however, can be a daunting prospect for a beginner, but there many who attempt the off piste before they master the techniques. University of Southampton Dry Slope Race Squad skier, Chloe Taylor, who learnt how to ski on her Winter Season 2015/16, shares her top tips for your first time skiing on powder.
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