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Skiing The Perfect Powder Day

What is the finest type of snow? Powder!!!
When you wake up at first light to find there is a fresh dump of snow, you’ll want to be the first one up there. Skiing powder means that you need momentum because if you don’t you’ll get bogged down. However, the powder can be very forgiving especially if you decide it’s time to crash – there are often thick piles of it. However, remember also that a fresh dump of snow can cover up some rocks or tree stumps – so be careful!

Anything Else I Should Know?

First is your position. You don’t want to be too far back. You need to keep your hands forward, which keeps your weight balanced. Some people will tell you to sit back more, but this can make you lose balance. Keep your hands in a position in which you would read a large newspaper, so this is about 6” outside your shoulders. You also need to have your skis closer together – not touching, but closer. This will help when you turn. (Talking of skis, the best skis for powder are fat skis. However, there is some dispute as to what constitutes a fat ski. It has been recorded as between as much as 120mm and 140mm, but looking at the forums the general consensus seems to be that a fat ski is between 90mm and 100mm).

So What About Turning?

Making turns, you want to imagine that you just have one very big ski. You need to turn your thighs rather than catching edges. If you imagine turns are rounded zig-zags down the hill, you squat on the straight lines and when you approach the turn stand up immediately so that your legs are nearly straight. This unweights you and is now when you turn.

If you ski as you would on hard snow and catch the lower edge to turn you will find that the lower ski will go under the snow and cross under your upper ski and you will have snow for breakfast, which is not what you want. Here’s a really big tip: those contours that look like bumps in the snow can be very useful. Here is where it takes knowledge to differentiate between “good” bumps and the ones that are going to give you a nasty fall. Having a guide who can teach you the difference between a good bump and one that is hiding a tree stump or a rock, is the best thing. It may cost a few extra dollars, but it is well worth it. Then you can identify the difference between the good and the bad and have information you will need for skiing powder.

Anything Else?

Yes. When you have fallen flat on your face, which you will, don’t get disappointed – “It” happens. Give yourself time to catch your breath before continuing. Secondly, when you have had enough for the day, get down off the mountain and head for the après bar and order yourself a large one of whatever takes your fancy. Or preferably two or three!

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