This week we will focus on powder skiing.
The settled snowpack at Whitewater is fast approaching the 200-centimetre mark, allowing skiers to ski anywhere on the mountain and sparking our sense of adventure. In order to fully explore the mountains you need to have the skills and confidence to get out there, so let’s talk powder skills.
It may come as a surprise to you that skiing powder requires the same basic skills as skiing on a groomed run. The new powder skis allow the ski to create pressure and release in the same way as when you are carving the corduroy. With that in mind, start on an easy groomed run and practise the basic movements.
Find your balanced athletic stance: knees bent, hips over boots, shins pushing on the front of your boots. Start your turn with a pole plant, ankles rolling skis up on edge and adding edge angle with knees. Be aware that there is pressure being created on the snow under your ski and that your ski is flexing like a spring, awaiting release at the end of the turn. Avoid pushing or stepping the skis around the turn, or rotating our upper bodies into the turn. This might sound super basic when on a groomed run but we all have some of these bad habits when we get into the deep snow.
Now that we have the basics down, let’s get into the powder!
Focus on the feel and find your balance in that athletic stance. Remember that all the same basic techniques and physics apply with pressure created as we turn that flexes our ski, creating a great release that will bounce us into the next turn.
It might feel like we are floating but in fact we are skiing on firm snow that is being packed by us as we leave those beautiful tracks down the mountain.
Play with this while skiing in a straight line in the powder by pressing down and pulling up. See if you can get your skis diving and surfacing like dolphins. Letting your tips dive shows that you are forward and in control.
This season has given us some of the lightest powder that we have ever skied so get out there and show off your new skills!
Dylan Henderson is the head coach for the Whitewater Ski Team. He is a certified Development Level Coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association. His goal is to give you something to keep your skiing fresh every other week even if the snow is not. Check us out on Facebook at Whitewater Ski Team.