How to ski powder

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This week, the storm of the century blanketed Breck with 38 inches of snow in 3 days. Experts and beginners were all over our peaks hunting for pow and scoring face shots. To them, powder is arguably the best part of skiing. Effortlessly turning in and out on feather like snow offers an ultimate sense of bliss and the feeling of floating and makes for a memory that can last a lifetime.

Or, skiing powder can result in catching a tip and flipping forward into a soft cold cushion. We have all been there, I have been skiing powder since I could walk and just this past weekend I tomahawked down Lake Chutes, so It happens.
Here are a few tips to help you make powder skiing very enjoyable and put you in the “white room” on those unbelievable powder days.

1. Fat skis truly help.

If you plan on skiing powder, invest in a wider pair of skis that are made for deep snow. There are plenty of options to demo skis or test a pair out at a rental shop andyour legs will thank you. Check your DIN on your bindings as well before hand, as bigger skis might mean a heftier DIN to keep you secure in your bindings.

2. Stay mobile.

Vertical movement with your legs and your core muscles will help you initiate each turn on top of the powder. While skiing powder, try to stay light on your feet and bounce up and down through the snow.

3. Turn like a champ.

Powder Day Face Shot

From this vertical movement your turns will become more fluid. Weight your legs and push deep into each turn. Once you are at the apex of the turn lift up and begin to stand to a straight-legged position lifting you to the top of the snow. As you come up to the top of the snow begin your next turn.

4. Position yourself properly.

Keep your hands up and in front of you. Pretend you are holding a wide tray or reading a newspaper. Maintain this hand position and try to use your wrists to pole plant more than your shoulders. Longer poles with powder baskets also help with hand position and pole planting.

5. Get in a powder stance.

It’s okay to lean back a little but you want to keep your knees in front of your ankles. Try to keep your weight even on both skis with your legs slightly together.

Practice makes perfect with any aspect of skiing. Powder skiing is no exception. Plan on leaving as early as possible to get to the mountain in order to experience the best of the best. If you have never had the opportunity to glide down deep untracked snow, plan it out and make a point of giving it a shot.

–Michael Suleiman