by Joan Valentine

How to Ski Powder

Resorts across the country have seen record snowfall and now is the time to learn how to ski powder! You’ve entered a winter wonderland where over a foot of new snow has fallen. The locals are literally frothing at the mouth, but for you, a secret anxiety has arisen . Can I really do this?  What is the buzz all about?


You got this…but make it about Intent, not technique….aka, control.  You don’t have to be a perfect technical skier. Back country terrain accessed by Snowcat and Heli-Ski  operations have opened up to the intermediate skier because of the evolution of technology.  YES, FAT SKIS….go and get them. It will make your day better.


Let’s get this party started!

If the new snow is 9 inches plus, you must go faster.  Your speed is determined by the depth of snow, the pitch of the hill and the skis you’re wearing. Once you get some speed on, you need to plan your turn size/shape. How far are you going across the hill? Our head says one thing but the snow will tell you another. If the skis start to bog down, STOP turning them across the fall line and just move into the next turn.


Be Sensitive

Stop thinking and feel what needs to happen. Feel how far you can go across the fall line, before you start to lose momentum. Feel when the skis float back up to surface before you try and redirect them. Feel how much rebound you get out of the snow and push back a little if necessary.


And then comes the Chowder….

The day is not over, but it’s different now.  Dealing with the clumpy bits of cut up snow requires, patience, fore/aft precision and good timing.  Again, feel it! Slice through the clumps using the lower legs to maintain balance through movement and adaptation. Wait, wait, wait until you blast out of the clump of snow to redirect the ski and then go for it. Once again speed is your friend.


How do you know if you have had a successful powder day?  Your calf muscles and are sore, instead of your quads and you have a grin the size of Texas on your face. Enjoy!