Skiing Powder on wide skis

In a previous Blog I explained how to ski powder on normal, recreational skis, using
flexion/extension/flexion to initiate and finish the turns. That is the basic powder
turn that works with any ski on any type of untracked snow. But thanks to ski
manufacturers making specialty skis for powder, snowpark and Free-ride, skiers can now
also ski powder on very wide skis as well as twin tip skis and skis with Rocker designs
in the tip (and in some cases, the tail) which makes skiing powder lots easier.

When I use these skis to turn in powder I simply carve my turns with very little
extension, pretty much the same way I carve recreational skis on piste. I mainly use
the ‘foot roll’ to initiate the turn, though I find that with very wide skis, I need to
also use ‘hip lean’ to roll the skis on to their sides so that they will carve in the
powder. Free-ride skiers mainly use ‘hip lean’ as they ride their skis at high speeds
through all types of untracked snow. On steep slopes I also employ ‘banking’ – the
technique that I explain on SkiTips 3 app, which involves leaning down the hill into the
turn at the start of the turn – as this is a very good way to help roll the skis on to
their sides.

Because the skis are so wide they don’t sink as far into the snow and because they
usually have a soft tip (& in the case of Rockers, a tip that is bent upwards) the tips
don’t catch in the snow. Thus you should find that in most powder conditions you don’t
need to sit lower in order to bring your weight back on to your heels; you should be
able to ski in a neutral position, with your weight over the middle of your feet. It
does remain important to hold your arms out in front and wide apart and ski with your
back upright.

Wide Powder skis
Wide skis are very good for skiing powder

The wide skis are also wonderful when skiing in wet, slushy snow as they cut through the
slush very easily. The way I ski wet, heavy or slushy snow on these skis is to press
down on the edges to put the skis in reverse camber and then I use the rebound of the
skis to initiate the turn and then, as the skis rebound, I simply roll my feet across
the fall-line and ride the edges to make a large, smooth, round turn, which involves
very little effort on my part. It’s good to link short or medium radius turns so that
the end of one turn (where you are pressing down on the skis) is used to initiate the
rebound for the following turn.

I would recommend that you rent a pair of wide skis the next time you have the
opportunity to ski powder and practice carving through the snow using both ‘foot roll’
and ‘hip lean’ to turn the skis. (Both ‘foot roll’ and ‘hip lean’ are explained in
SkiTips1 app).

Tips

  • Practice making a series of ends of turns before making downhill turns as the endings
    are the most important part of the turn as that is where you either gain or lose
    control.
  • Practice in powder that is ankle or boot deep before skiing the deeper powder.
  • Try out different brands and types of powder skis to see which ones you like the best as
    different models of skis ski very differently.
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