Skiing Powder - A Beginners Guide

I’ve been skiing for 3 years now. I’ve been to America once and the Alps three times in March and December. Up until my latest trip at the end of February and beginning of March this year I had never skied powder!

Slaying the Pow!

Slaying the Pow!

I learnt to ski in super icy conditions in California. Since then I have had a variety of conditions but never fresh powder. This trip, we had so much pow!! To start with, I couldn’t deal with it! I have an all round pair of skis which are 96mm under foot, they perform well on a variety of snow conditions. For powder however, they were a bit too narrow. I had to lean far back in my skis to get them to move which resulted in some serious quad burn. Although far from an expert in skiing, here is my advice to getting to grips with powder.

  • Lean back in your skis. If you lean forward, it puts on the breaks and you are likely to fall over.
  • Embrace the speed. Speed makes it so much easier. The faster you go the more you will float to the top of the snow and the turns become effortless.
  • When there is a downhill followed by an uphill section you need to get up, straight line to get some speed up. Trying to skate in powder is impossible and hiking up in skis is a pain!
  • When you fall getting back up can be difficult. I have dynafit bindings so have powder leashes, this means that I don’t loose my skis in the powder if they come off. Dig your skis out and get them pointing in the right direction. Try to flatten down a patch of snow, this will help to get your skis lined up ready to clip back in. Use powder baskets on your poles so you can push yourself up. If you need extra help pushing up put both ski poles on their side and push, the increased surface area stops the poles from sinking. 
  • If you can afford rent or buy a fatter pair of skis for powder days, they will make it much more fun!
  • Enjoy the pow and get someone to take some pics, you will look epic!

By the end of the trip I loved skiing powder! Unlike falling over on ice, falling in powder is hilarious. You are waist deep in soft fluffy snow trying to co-ordinate your contorted body and clip back in your skis which is much more difficult than you would think! You get a lush gliding feeling as you slide through the powder. It’s much more peaceful with no aggressive turns or scraping of edges against hard snow or ice as you turn.

Andy found it a little easier on his big fat powder skis!

Andy found it a little easier on his big fat powder skis!