Powder skiing, there’s nothing like it. Once you “get it”, you get it, and you won’t want anything else.
But getting comfortable in powder can be challenging. So we asked Panorama Resort’s Guy Paulsen (Level IV Ski Instructor Alpine, XC and Nordic and member of Canada’s Ski Hall of Fame) for his top tips.
So you can “get it” quickly.
How good do I have to be?
GP: Skiers can start to enjoy the sensation of powder skiing as soon as they can parallel ski. Take the time to ski with and learn from a certified ski pro. They will quickly get a skier focusing on what to do and how to do it, making powder a more enjoyable experience. Like many things, the more skiers get out in powder snow the more at ease they will be. The trick it is be patient with your yourself.
What skis do I need?
GP: The deeper the snow the wider and softer ski you’ll need, however in some cases, too wide a ski can be more of challenge to use. For example, a light snowfall with low humidity or featherlight snow covering hardpack or ice. Because the skiers weight/force will push through the little amount of light snow, the best ski choice would be a ski more suited toward a hardpack condition.
Powder snow conditions of 10cms or more require an “all mountain ski’ with a slightly wider, if not Rubenesque shape underfoot, skiers will then float more than sink, taking less effort to enjoy the snow.
Top 5 powder skiing tips from Guy
#1 – Choose your terrain wisely: for less experienced skiers look for gentler slopes using a slightly longer, straighter turn shape to carry speed and grow confidence. Powder snow acts a little like a brake, taking a straighter line at first may feel strange initially however will compensate for added resistance.
#2 – Know your weather: visibility and wind have an incredible impact on powder skiing. Especially for advanced/expert skiers looking to access more exposed terrain. Knowing the weather prior to hitting the slopes helps. Typically, large weather systems come with associated wind and clouds. Knowing this in advance will help you with your terrain selection – leeward aspect with trees for added definition.
#3 – Ski with someone: contrary to the infamous powder snow saying “ there are no friends on powder days” doesn’t mean skiing alone. Having a friend not only to share a great story with but one who can assist you in finding your ski (or worse) is always a good idea
#4 – Stay centred: the tendency for many skiers is wanting to lean back while skiing powder. Don’t. Many of today’s ski are designed with early rise or rocker tip to allow the ski to move through the snow easily while you keep your strong centred stance.
#5 – Be fluid: Be progressive with your movements and turn shape when skiing in powder snow. Quick, hard turns often result in an awkward, strenuous experience. Instead, be purposeful and progressive. The best powder skiers are always in a state of movement, up, down, side to side. Whatever the situation calls for. Just like a great dancer they are never still.
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