1September 2020

Q&A: What’s the secret to skiing powder?

I’ve said this before: “If you want to get better at skiing, don’t go shopping. Go skiing.”

The point being, sometimes it can be too tempting to think that there’s a purchase, out there waiting for you, that will change everything. That the new piece of gear will have the magic touch.

When the reality is: gear can’t erase a deficit of experience, fitness or skill.

It can help, but the harder, slower, more gradual work of getting in lots of miles (stubbornly) remains.


When it comes to fine tuning fluid pow riding technique, the gear does matter.

They used to call those 80s skinny skis ‘misery sticks’ for a reason. (Ask Rudi. His knees still have stories to tell.)

skis waiting in the snow

You need proper powder gear for proper powder conditions. The width, the flex, the fat noses on snowboards, the reverse camber: it all makes deep snow skiing AWESOME, and better.

(What should the right powder gear look like? Check out our gear guide here.)

And once you’ve got the right shape under your feet, what’s the secret to the flow, the bounce, the shred?

Don’t change anything else.

Seriously. Trust the equipment to do what it’s designed to do (be the right match for the conditions) and ski or ride like you always do.

The equipment is different so you don’t have to be.

Yes, with the wrong equipment (too skinny, too short of a board) you’ll need to lean back. And in short order, you’ll feel like your quads are going to spontaneously combust.

But with proper powder gear of the right size? Nope. Stand right over your feet. Initiate the turn the same way. Carve just like you would.

The gear will give you the float you need, all while you maintain the same centered stance.

The only thing to finesse from here is fluid balance. A more equal balance on both planks for skiers, less hard-driving pressure on the downhill edge. For snowboarders, feel the shape of the carve all the way through instead of relying on flipping to a hard edge to get control.

heli skiing canada

Ready for a powder day? Change the gear. Don’t change anything else.

You do you. Just add a bigger grin.


Looking forward to your first days in the deep stuff? Check out 5 Tips for Powder Newbies next.







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