How to ski powder?
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KevR
January 21, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
For those of you that followed this thread over from the discussion on where find challenging runs in the area ... here is something i found online WHICH seems to be spot on from my own observation of those around me and also my immediate friends who can actually ski the stuff.
http://skiing.about.com/c/ht/00/07/How_Ski_Powder0962934507.htm

You can laugh if you want to! ;-)

JohnL
January 21, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
I'd be curious to find out what some of the posters on this site who are ski instructors think about the "bouncing" suggestions.

The "bouncing" technique did help me when I first started skiing powder, but it seems like it could be overdone and lead to bad technique.

Powder turns are nearly identical to pure carved turns on the groomed runs, the main exception being more of an even weight distribution between your feet.

Crush
January 21, 2004
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
It's a feel thing ... I don't really bounce per se, but at the end of a turn its more like I have my legs extended and then I relax the pressure on my skis, like abosrbing a bump, and let my knees come up ... I move my torso and center of mass forward into the next turn and start the turn by rotating my skis while they are "ight" and then extend my legs into the powder, where once again the pressure builds up under them and I again relax and release the pressure and let my knees come up. I guess it looks like I am bouncing in and out of the snow but really extending my legs into the snow and then releasing the pressure and letting my knees come up. You get into a rhythm that is dictated by the snow somewhat and by your skis' flex. I just try to follow the rhythm (sort of like something else nice you do with someone you like hee hee hee) and keep it going. Eventually your skis sort of start going in and out of the snow with the same rhythm.

As was said, you must allow your skis to arc around themselves; if you try to force them around with rotary it just won't happen and you will go down.

I keep my skis fairly close together, as if I am mogus skiing. This not only creates a platform under you, but also keeps both skis going in the same direction and avoids one diving down while the other one floats.

I try to weight my skis fairly evenly, like 60% outside 40% inside. I think about actually trying to ski on the outside edge of my inside ski, similar to (and per previous comments) monoskiing.

I don't sit back except in heavy deep snow (like over 3 feet). When it is deep even with fat skis your tips will dive sometimes unless you lean back a little. Especially when you transition from a steep to a flat there is always a deep pocket of powder in the transition and you have to sit back on your tails or you'll go over the handlebars.

I ski with my weight very neutral most of the time, with only a touch of pressure on the shins. When I start a new turn, I make sure that I have both of my feet pulled back under me to insure a good turn initiation.

I tend to ski with a break at the waist as I do when racing (but make sure not to squat and drop your hips back over your heels) and keep my stomach tight. I feel sort of compact, rather than standing tall in a "proud position".

But mostly skiing powder over 8" deep is the like best thing on Earth (besides the other thing you do rhythmically LOL) .. sking *in* something is so totally dreamy, with face shots coming up and choking you with light fluffy snow. And it is sooo cool to look up at your S shaped tracks and say to yourself "hey I did that" like it's your signature on the snow.

JohnL
January 21, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
>> My observation was that people kept their skis MORE together as a single unit vs keeping their feet farther apart in groomed carving (as is currently being taught).

I'd be curious to hear what ski instructors think about this one. The main thing is a roughly equal weight distribution on both feet. Some people may find it easier to do this if they move their feet a *bit* closer together. You most certainly don't want to keep your feet pressed together.

>> Also there seemed to be an unloading of the skis that begin (or ended?) the next turn, or set one up for the next turn in powder... suspicious this is more pronounced on regular skis vs fattier skis..

When you are carving a powder turn, you skis are at their deepest point in the snow. The forces of the snow pushes against your skis. If you time it right and your turn is shaped properly, the force of the snow can be used to lift your skis out of the snow and into the next turn. It's similar to using the rebound energy on a groomed run turn to help start the next turn. On regular skis you sink deeper into the snow than with shaped skis, hence the forces are greater and the rebound out of the snow is greater.

On mid-fats and with enough speed, you don't need to have this sort of rebound out of the snow. I'll use a lot of rebound on my turns cause I like the sensation of sinking into the snow and popping out of it.

WRT what comprex says about not jamming a turn in powder, you can't jam a carved turn on the groomed either. Think about executing a pure carve. Since the snow is slowing down your forward speed, you be going slower than you would on the groomed for a turn of the same size. So I can see how someone may try to rush a turn.

This built-in speed control provided by the powder means you can ski steeper and tighter terrain (trees) than you normally would. If you are a powder newbie, one of the worst mistakes you can make is to try to ski a run that is too flat. You won't have any momentum and turning will be difficult.

Not a skiing instructor either. I'll be real curious to find out how right/wrong my perceptions are! This topic is more fun than helmet use and service problems!

Remember, no friends on a powder day.

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comprex
January 21, 2004
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Crush writes:
I don't sit back except in heavy deep snow (like over 3 feet). When it is deep even with fat skis your tips will dive sometimes unless you lean back a little. Especially when you transition from a steep to a flat there is always a deep pocket of powder in the transition and you have to sit back on your tails or you'll go over the handlebars.

Comprex asks:
Do you think of it as leaning back, or pulling up your toes? Guy Duquette had a very interesting article in Ski Presse last year about a sort of abdominal "scrunch" required to stay on top of the ski while letting it float. Sort of like a lemon being squeezed, exactly for the sort of transitions you speak of. He does emphasise that it is a dynamic thing, not a static posture, and he talks of toes up and forward.

Oh, Crush, is Birdmon on the list?

[This message has been edited by comprex (edited 01-21-2004).]

comprex
January 21, 2004
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Hmmm, must have been 2002, and I can't seem to find it in english.

These are not the article I remember, but they're nice pix though. Click on the picture to view it in large format.
http://www.skipressworld.com/ca/fr/magazine/2003/Vol18No3/Hiver2004Vol18No0317.htm
http://www.skipressworld.com/ca/fr/magazine/2003/vol18no2/Pre-saison2003Vol18No0217.htm

[This message has been edited by comprex (edited 01-21-2004).]

JohnL
January 21, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
>> Especially when you transition from a steep to a flat there is always a deep pocket of powder in the transition and you have to sit back on your tails or you'll go over the handlebars.

Two things on this one. 1) The steep to flat transition 2) Hitting a deep pocket of powder.

1) When the terrain transitions abruply, you have to dynamically match your upper body to the direction of the slope. This seems to be the analog of anticipating a sudden drop-off and leaning forward prior to the drop-off.

2) When you hit deeper snow, your skis will slow down, and your upper body will tend to move forward of your feet. If your upper body is too far forward, your tips will drop too much into the snow. This seems to be a similar situation to entering a crud snow section from the groomed. For that case, I was taught to jet your feet forward slightly from your upper body to anticipate the increased drag.

I'm 6'1" tall. Seems like a lot of us posters are over 6 feet. I was instructed to slightly lower my center of gravity by bending by knees and lowering my hips. This helps mimimize the torque if my upper body gets too far forward.

comprex, I've also heard about the pulling up your toes tip, but I can't remember where.

JohnL
January 21, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
I liked Crush's description of the "bouncing" during powder turns. He added a good point - you can actively control/time the rebound energy by relaxing your legs to start the next turn.
comprex
January 21, 2004
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
JohnL emphasises:
I liked Crush's description of the "bouncing" during powder turns. He added a good point - you can actively control/time the rebound energy by relaxing your legs to start the next turn.
Comprex waxes on:
Yep, that's the bit where you actually get to adjust rhythm, and, actually, is one of my weak spots on difficult snow. I try to fix a lot of things with speed and turn radius and generally wind up expending too much energy trying for a uniform rhythm. I am especially bad about this in crusty windpack over fluff.
KevR
January 21, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Ok, I can only add to what I actually do know about it and that's groomed carving -- the rest is pure conjecture on my part.
Currently being taught (as I just had a lesson!) is to move the feet farther apart than is traditional and also edge both skis. The suggestion was to think about leading with the inside ski and toss the stem christie right out the door (no matter how slight, in my case). Edge both skis by kinda diving with the knees in the direction you want to go, while keeping the feet somewhat farther apart than traditional (knees do not CUP each other) is considered more reactive and more ideal for shaped skis. I honestly didn't ask too many questions and just did what I was told and I do believe it helps my skiing so I am going with it. Also if you ever watch a race video of say slalom or super-G I think you will see my poor description perhaps makes sense.

I can see that this technique slightly modified for powder would be helpful. Perhaps for powder pushing the feet in closer together would add some surface area and help with float too. Likewise, a nice OPEN CARVE (non-jammed) it going to look and feel better, and remove any potential sliding & forced rotation .. which might work somewhat on groomed snow but would be death in powder I think.
To transition to the turn, it does seem that you unload slightly which perhaps becomes totally unconscious and fluid in the expert powder skier, but in the beginner the sensation of bouncing might be helpful (just a guess) to get you going ...
From what I have been told by folks that have done this for some time, the neutral weight over the ski is right vs sitting back. however, I am suspicious like all things athletic that there are no true hard and fast rules that cover every situation and much is done by feel, so there probably are sitations where sitting back a bit makes sense...
Unfortunately all my comments practically are not based on experience so take it for what's it worth!!! ;-)

Crush
January 21, 2004
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
comprex - LOL I use to ski with Birdmon with Team Z! Last time was in 2002 before I moved to Utah but yup know him well.

The leaning back thing .... drop your hips back over your heels, lower your hips, be back on your tails , move your feet forward, curl your toes up .. whatever you want to call it it all ends up being the same thing body, wise ... as was said by JohnL it is like anticipating heavy snow ... I call it sitting back because I feel the backs of my boots (which use to freak me out) ... the idea is to get pressure off the shovel so your tips don't dive, and to move your center of mass back so when you encounter the resistance of the snow about your feet and ankles (and boy will you feel it it is like being lass roped sometimes) you don't get too far over your tips and have them dive and do a digger. The problem is if you get thrown to far forward by the deacceleration, it's a vicious cycle ... the more you get forward the more yout tips dive which makes you get even more too forward which makes your tips dive even more and ... WHAM! Powder Splash!

Mostly though it is a feeling of being kind of quiet with your body. The bouncing thing I don't recommend because it throws you around... that platform unweighting thing works at low speed on flat stuff but you'll end up killing yourself on the steep and deep.

And yes it is true because powder slows you down soooo much you can ski (and have to sometimes to keep up momentum) pretty much in the fall line on a 35-40 degree slope and still be going not too fast.

Good luck!

Crush
January 21, 2004
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
OOpppsss forgot to address this .. no I don't think Birdmon is a regular here.

Oh and KevR said that he suspects it is not one single body position and he is soooo right.

Every second I am adjusting my balance when I powder ski and being adaptive ... that is the fun!

KevR
January 21, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Here's a fun little article I dredged up on the web on steepness... BUT nice pic at the top of someone in steep&deep at Mecca... I mean Jackson Hole!!!

http://www.skimag.com/skimag/fall_line/article/0,12795,325926,00.html

Looks like a 'bout 45 degrees to me... Note that it does LOOK like his body is not tangent to the slope and he sitting back in the skis with the tips up a bit coming out of the turn...

At least that's what it looks like to me...!

It's all feeeeeeeeel!

Helps to learn when you are 3 too I bet.

;-)

KevR
January 22, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
My observation was that people kept their skis MORE together as a single unit vs keeping their feet farther apart in groomed carving (as is currently being taught). Also there seemed to be an unloading of the skis that begin (or ended?) the next turn, or set one up for the next turn in powder... suspicious this is more pronounced on regular skis vs fattier skis..
NOTE -- I am NOT a ski instructor!! ;-)

Once again, that being true, I can see my tendency to stem chistie a turn works fine on groomed although perhaps NOT ideal, and that if I can advance to the technique of simply pointing both skis to initiate the turn, that this will improve both groomed skiing and powder skiing on my part.

comprex
January 22, 2004
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
The key here is that that very unloading is slow and gradual, never jammed. It is that very unloading that gives you the sense of weightlessness and slow-motion at speed that powder addicts crave.

It is the mental predilection to jam turns like each one is an emergency, and to be afraid of straight-line speed necessary for float, that I see as key to most folks' powder blocks.

The best thing I ever did for my powder skiing is spend half a day on a monoski. If you even _think_ of jamming a turn, you've just done a 180 back up the hill, promptly to fall over because your upper body hasn't caught up.

Ski fast softly. The rest is style and gear.

(Edited to say that I am not a SKI instructor either, just an inveterate powder, chute, bump and gear junkie).

[This message has been edited by comprex (edited 01-21-2004).]

Denis - DCSki Supporter
July 14, 2004
Member since 07/12/2004
2,171 posts
I'm an instructor and there is only one way to ski powder - FIRST!

Seriously, both powder and ice, covered on an adjacent thread, respond best to the same technique elements. You must stay centered and apply turning movements smoothly and progressively. Ice and powder are at opposite ends of the spectrum yet both will reward good technique and quickly punish bad technique, especially harsh abrupt movements, and being out of center. Powder also requires that you keep the two skis running at the same depth. This means near equal weighting, and an ability to sense and transfer weight to the other ski when one ski starts to dive.
PhysicsMan
July 14, 2004
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
Quote:

I'm an instructor ...


Your last name wouldn't happen to start with "Bo", would it?

... excuse the interruption ... back to your regular programming ...

Tom / PM
Denis - DCSki Supporter
July 15, 2004
Member since 07/12/2004
2,171 posts
Yes it is. Send me a PM, PM. I tried to send you one but I couldn't get this feature to work.

Denis
PhysicsMan
July 15, 2004
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
DCski just switched over to this software, and I'm not sure if the private messaging works yet, so check your regular email addresses (ie, work and yahoo).

Tom / PM
wojo
February 19, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
294 posts



.. sking *in* something is so totally dreamy, with face shots coming up and choking you with light fluffy snow. And it is sooo cool to look up at your S shaped tracks and say to yourself "hey I did that" like it's your signature on the snow.




I am a powderhound too and got a few pointers from a ski instructor friend. I found that for me, most of it came naturally. I thougth that the descriptions of turns and transitions were excellent by Crush and John L and should be printed out and passed on to newbies on powder days. Thanks.
Crush
February 19, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
You know what is real funny WOJO -JohnL and I skied together here just a little while ago and we both are pretty similar the way we ski we did not have anything real deep to ski but ungroomed steeps we had a blast on ... he is taller than me I am only 5' 8" and he is over 6' tall but we both like steeps and stuff. He was great to ski with!!!!
wojo
February 19, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
294 posts
I was very lucky to be in Denver and skiing loveland on Thursday (about 18 inches) and had several of the problems you guys described. One major face plant, no broken bones what a great time. Probably will be at Whitetail tommorrow with a few kids hoping the snow hits early there.

cheers
JohnL
February 20, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Wow, this old post is pretty funny. Better be nice to your fellow posters, cuz you may end up skiing with them some day!

Too bad Crush and I didn't get a chance to practice our powder technique at The Canyons, but he found some steep slopes with really soft snow. One thing I did learn when skiing with Crush: either Crush goes first or JohnL goes first, starting at the same time is not a good idea. When we start cranking out Super G turns the trail is not wide enough for both of us.
KevR
February 20, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
It is, nor did I update it after skiing in it in utah last Mar. So let's see - 3 days of six we had fresh stuff. One day was about 2 ft or so, and some pockets deeper (this is of course on or NEAR a trail in my case, not deep in woods off it). I found if you simply let the skis turn, and lead the turn with your inside ski (i.e. no stem christie, wedging or anything like that) -- that it seemed fairly straightforward and this worked well. No doubt the better powder skier can get beyond the rather simple "floating" I was mainly doing in fairly wide open spaces. BUT I think the idea is basically the same. It's also clear to me I was helped by the super light fluffy snow they get in Utah. (about the deepest I was *briefly* in was waist deep, or ~3ft... but mostly knee height or so, give or take...)

Actually turns out mogul stuff seems similiar, lead off with the inside ski around the mogul and its much easier...

???

Comments?
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JohnL
February 20, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Wojo,

Check out: Ski The Whole Mountain

Took clinics from those guys. A very, very good read and the pix and stories are good. Well worth the price.
tromano
February 21, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Well on saturday I got my first powder day EVAR! knee deep lake erie powder. I was skiing a small resort north of pittsburg to "beat the crowds" (Cockaigne ~450' vertical). Most of the snow was groomed. There was No One there, and I had untracked on their wider runs and under a couple of lifts until noon.

It wasn't as hard as I had though to ski but I was slow becuause my Volkl 5*s are short stiff slalom carver not wide floppy powder boards. And The slopes were pretty shallow for powder skiing. Still I had fun and I was wroking on my "patience turns". That is a tiny bit of edge and even weighted skis. And boy did I have to be patient. I was moving really slow in some of the flatter spots.
KevR
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
You don't need wide powder skis to ski powder. right or wrong, some folks think that's cheating anyway. 'Spose if i lived out west all the time and knew i'd be in search of really deep stuff it be tempting to get some of them or at least a pair a bit wider than a pure carver which is out there too.

ANYWAY, hardly any powder this time in Utah -- dang it! 2-4" inches near the top of Snowbasin last tuesday did produce that "floaty" feeling. Then pockets of UNTRACKED powder to be found off trail here and there, especially Powder Mtn "Powder Country" area -- I'd say up to one ft or so in tree stands that didn't get direct sunshine -- light and fluffy!.
..
Alas, I can BARELY capitilize on such finds which is a cryin' shame.

KevR
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
i ordered it!
Roy
March 9, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
If you're skiing backcountry the fat skis probably make more sense. I've had no problem skiing powder with regular all-mountain skis. In fact, if I float too much, how do I get to ski waist deep powder?
JohnL
March 9, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Consistent, untracked powder is relatively easy in just about any type of ski. And a lot of fun.

I think fat skis are the most useful for crud, chowder, and other variable, chopped-up conditions. It doesn't take long nowadays for powder to get tracked out. And weather/sun exposure can degrade snow quickly. Unfortunately, the latter conditions are more frequent than the former.

This season I bought a pair of Salomon Pocket Rockets (93 mm waist) for out west. 80-90 percent of my skiing out west is ungroomed snow, but unfortunately, the true powder days are not too frequent. The Pocket Rockets rocket in the difficult skied out conditions.

(I'm also pretty skilled at finding the good stuff. )
KevR
March 9, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
What I meant to say was I ordered the book you referenced and another amazon suggested. They are:
"Ski the Whole Mountain: How to Ski Any Condition at Any Time"
"All-Mountain Skier : The Way to Expert Skiing"

I read the first chapter online of the first one and i believe i have the duel ski carving down fairly convincingly on any groomed trail of pitches up to 74% ( highest documented pitch i've skied on). I feel fairly comfortable on most ungroomed areas if the snows not too deep, and there aren't too many tree squeezing me about - something like the Hobacks for example. I faulter otherwise and usually traverse to find an easier way out which frankly sucks. Likewise if the pitch in a bowl jumps to say 70%? I think my carving dissapates a bit and tend to slide turn -- i think this all in my head, the same techniques should work. In deep powder (2ft+) in an open area I don't seem to have too much trouble if its not too steep, gentle turns seem to work just fine. If its less than say mid-calf, again not too much trouble in a tigher area moving the skis about ... but mix the two up and i can't really ski it, that is deep and steep. (at least based on my one real data pt which was 2 seasons ago at JH)
Obviously the right answer is I NEED MORE data pts!

jimmy
March 17, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

It's a feel thing ...

<P>But mostly skiing powder over 8" deep is the like best thing on Earth (besides the other thing you do rhythmically LOL) .. sking *in* something is so totally dreamy, with face shots coming up and choking you with light fluffy snow. And it is sooo cool to look up at your S shaped tracks and say to yourself "hey I did that" like it's your signature on the snow.




Hey Crush, thanks for the *powder primer* last week; Bruce and I got the hang of it pretty well by Thursday at Brighton. That little bouncing drill was a good way to feel the snow under you with skis evenly weighted. Had problem with my rhythm, told you i can't dance too good (unless i'm drinking then i THINK i can dance), hips wouldn't start the turn. I found once i got my hands into the action, kindof like reaching for the pole touch in moguls that was good for me to start a new turn.

The cool thing about more than 8" powder, i could feel it on my legs after it got over the boottops, coolness creeping up my legs to my knees , dropping back down , creeping back up to my hips , rolling off my belly and blowing in my face . Thanks bud, i'm addicted now.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 17, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004
3,062 posts
Jimmy,
Some years ago on a trip to Utah I skied on 5-12 inches of new powder each day for a week. Once I figured out how to ski the stuff without sinking under, it was wonderful. It truly is the ultimate ski experience. Folks back here think that skiing on 4+ inches of fresh snow is "skiing powder". It isn't. As long as your skis can find the hard pack it is not bottomless powder. Problem I found is that unless you ski it often you tend to forget the technique and when you try to get it back, it's like golf when you think of all the things you are supposed to do in order to do it right.
But, real powder skiing is the ultimate...and if I remember correctly, tiring.
Have a great time at Snow Luau at Timberline...I'll be at Snowshoe.
The Colonel
jimmy
March 17, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Also much more pleasant than frozen groomed granular when you fall. Have fun at the shoe, pray for snow, i know this'll rile the pinners up but ski season's not over til they turn the lifts off .
fishnski
March 17, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005
3,530 posts
Your too sexy for your ski's..too sexy for your ski's!! Dang Jimmi, I feel like I just read my 1st Ski Porn!!
Crush
March 17, 2006
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
Jimmy - Yo Bro' that *was* fun eh? Like sorry I could not hook up with you later in the day but I guessed you were knocking a few back at some undisclosed watering hole in the afternoon.

The most awesome thing that day was your "woo-hoos" as we attacked that stuff ... and I might add that it was not exactly light-n-fluffy pow.

I have to say that the funniest thing was after I just met you guys you clicked in (you thought) your binding and your toes did not lock in and you went down on your back ... I looked over at you lying on the ground with a surprised look on your face and said WTF Jimmy are you f-ed up already lol!

That was a gas, man. Anytime. Anywhere!
Murphy
March 17, 2006
Member since 09/13/2004
618 posts
Quote:

Your too sexy for your ski's..too sexy for your ski's!! Dang Jimmi, I feel like I just read my 1st Ski Porn!!




I like to call it Snorn.

...and yes, I'm an addict.
jimmy
March 21, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

I have to say that the funniest thing was after I just met you guys you clicked in (you thought) your binding and your toes did not lock in and you went down on your back ... I looked over at you lying on the ground with a surprised look on your face and said WTF Jimmy are you f-ed up already lol!

That was a gas, man. Anytime. Anywhere!




Yah E, still LMAO about that, the look on my face had to be priceless , good reason to wear a helmet that was.

andy be careful readin that stuff or you may growup(not) just like me.

colonel, the biggest difference i found with powder out in Utah is that it was generally on top of a foot and a half of packed powder. Do you all think the pow is easier to ski after it gets cut up a bit or was it just me?
KevR
March 21, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Personally I think utah powder is the easiest to ski in i've experienced, which ain't saying a whole lot really.

I've only skied powder above my boots or higher a few times in my life and in recent memory that would be jacksonhole, and utah. In utah the snow is even lighter and fluffier than the two-foot snow we had in JH that year.
In utah on a say a wide open cruiser like Millicent at Brighton, a few feet of snow makes for a fun easy "magic carpet ride" down -- just point the skis and go. Then turn gently as needed (wide arcs, almost like 'railing')
In trees or other places where I really have to turn, the small amount i've learned is:
-- widen stance slightly
-- stay balanced on the skis, maybe tips up slightly if you are transitioning into deeper pockets
-- let the skis turn, don't force them around -- this is compared to groomer skiing where one can turn the skis forcably at will (only the truly strong powder skier can probably do this)
-- don't STEM or pick up the skis in any way in the turn, no wedging, tip or tail crossing, anything like that -- even for a millisecond or you will likely go down ...

I can't say i've ever really skied in truly waist deep powder off trail on a steep enough incline to actually have to do much more than let the ski work easily side to side. (for example some have suggest bouncing is required for truly deep powder) Keeping the skies slightly farther apart but parallel, more or less like groomers BUT without forcing any turn... seems to work ok in powder up to my knees say...
Also of note -- in JH, that was 4 yrs ago now I think, I was still slightly stemming my turns, which DID NOT work in the powder as it got deeper. I don't do that any more...

And finally -- regular all-mountain skis.
comprex
March 21, 2006
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Quote:

-- let the skis turn, don't force them around -- this is compared to groomer skiing where one can turn the skis forcably at will (only the truly strong powder skier can probably do this)
-- don't STEM or pick up the skis in any way in the turn, no wedging, tip or tail crossing, anything like that -- even for a millisecond or you will likely go down ...




Next time you're out there, try pushing down on the uphill ski when you want to start turning. Just a little eensy bit, see if it does anything for ya, then m'be, jess m'be a bit more.

(Somewhere in SkiMagInternetLimbo is Gordy Peifer's very excellent article on this, I'm thinking '00 or '01).
Crush
March 21, 2006
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
... and learn to make turns on your tails .... I did a great endo today skiing some heavy-deep b/c I was not riding back far enough ... oh well!
KevR
March 21, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
I found turning on my tails to be somewhat useful at brighton this year in the trees. But i have fairly soft skis... it was more of the "oh shit" type of turn than anything, typically i don't turn that way.
As for pushing the outside ski -- carving on hardpack responds well to really jamming the ball of foot on the outside ski thru the arc.
No idea if this would be helpful in powder.
When I say powder, I mean above the knees... not a few inches, or several inches ... but deeper stuff.
The deepest i've been in is around waist deep but not for more than a few yards (a 'hole' i guess) ...
We'll see how the hobacks treat me next year.
comprex
March 22, 2006
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Quote:


As for pushing the outside ski -- carving on hardpack responds well to really jamming the ball of foot on the outside ski thru the arc.
No idea if this would be helpful in powder.





KevR, I feel I should emphasise this distinction. I say nothing about inside or outside ski. I mean push the uphill ski in the direction gravity pulls (not down the slope but along a vertical) as you start the turn.

The move is not a jam. To me it feels very much like pressure on bicycle pedals, one foot pressures down the other foot comes up, the two perfectly even as you cross the fall line.

Quote:


When I say powder, I mean above the knees... not a few inches, or several inches ... but deeper stuff.




yep, that's the stuff, Tahoe crud too. Especially if you feel you're "caught in a traverse" and have no eazy powder rhythm to guide you.
KevR
March 22, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Largely I can say this is what i do while carving on packed powder, does this also work in deeper powder? that's my question...

Since my experience is limited in deeper powder, i can't say i know.

related -- on packed powder at least, i think you could say that skiing is a "ball of the foot" type sport. pressuring the skis through the balls of the feet does wonders for carving ...

I think applying the MOST pressure to what BECOMES the outer ski in the carve makes the biggest difference. Again -- powder? no idea.

I think about railing -- reallying JAMMING hard on ball of the foot, that really "sets" the line well.

Can you do this with powder?

When I've been in deeper snow, I've taken a much lighter touch for sure.

Bottom line -- I just don't have enough ski days in deeper snow.. Dang it!
comprex
March 22, 2006
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
KevR, the move I attempted to describe works on all terrain.

I might agree with some of your observations, but inside/outside ski, was/will be, previous turn/next turn, ball of foot or weight on heels, this is all too much to think about whilst skiing.

Let's keep the mental cue dirt simple: push down on the uphill ski.
KevR
March 22, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Alot of new skiers seem to have problems "sitting back" -- often when i tell them to think about the ball of the foot, and pressing that in the turn (starting at the top arc) -- this makes a big difference.
I think for myself, this is something i *do* think about and it does help me make a good carve or BETTER carve.
Now -- all I need is to 2-3ft of fresh powder to try it there!
Maybe next season...
JohnL
March 22, 2006
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

Next time you're out there, try pushing down on the uphill ski when you want to start turning. Just a little eensy bit, see if it does anything for ya, then m'be, jess m'be a bit more.





Quote:

KevR, I feel I should emphasise this distinction. I say nothing about inside or outside ski. I mean push the uphill ski in the direction gravity pulls (not down the slope but along a vertical) as you start the turn.




To translate into different terms, would this be the Inside Leg Extension often discussed on Epic?

Quote:

The move is not a jam. To me it feels very much like pressure on bicycle pedals, one foot pressures down the other foot comes up, the two perfectly even as you cross the fall line.





Quote:

Let's keep the mental cue dirt simple: push down on the uphill ski.




My mental cue is the opposite, relax and tip the downhill ski. I learned this at several X-Team Clinics (E-Ski), and it works/makes sense for me. I think it's different means to the same end.
comprex
March 23, 2006
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Quote:


To translate into different terms, would this be the Inside Leg Extension often discussed on Epic?





I wanted to avoid calling it 'ILE' because it is 'ILE' on the previous/unfinished/unreleased turn. That sort of requires memory on part of the skier (oh, yeah, this was the inside leg on the -old- turn) and considerable presence of mind in a possible panic situation.

Quote:


My mental cue is the opposite, relax and tip the downhill ski. I learned this at several X-Team Clinics (E-Ski), and it works/makes sense for me. I think it's different means to the same end.




I would agree. I reckon I prefer yours on the steep and icy. (Not to mention on inlines). Yours is a bit harder to explain, tho, since it is sort of a negative/withdrawing/relaxing action with an implicit balance transfer. How to tell someone to command themselves to relax?

Much easier to explain and convey an active cue in this world of stairmasters/elliptical machines/miscellaneous whatsits that people stomp on to get ready for skiing.
kennedy
March 23, 2006
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
Too much thought and effort required for this

Try this
1. Buy freeride board with plenty of float.
2. Ride

Now I brace myself for the barrage of snowboard slander.
comprex
March 23, 2006
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts

We shall say 'Alta!' to you again if you do not appease us.
JohnL
March 23, 2006
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Alta! Taos! Mad River Glen!

Some of the best terrain in the world...

kennedy
March 23, 2006
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
I hate you all
POWPOW
March 27, 2006
Member since 05/10/2005
124 posts
Dont know about boarding too much but as for skiing,

1)rent wide boards if you dont have any. The new wider skis float sooooo nice. Around a 90 underfoot is good.
2) tail skiing is for gapers, learn weight distribution for and aft.
3) expand on weighting and unweighting yourself and skis in turns WAY more the deeper it gets.
Crush
March 27, 2006
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
.. let's go skiing on a heavy-steep-fast day .. bet I do less head-plants than u lol ....
jimmy
March 28, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

Dont know about boarding too much but as for skiing,

2) tail skiing is for gapers, learn weight distribution for and aft.





YO POWPOW, tail skiing definitly not for pinners, weight goes back all fall down, all *you* gotta do is drop that knee, as for me sometimes i gotta feel the light touch of the back of my boot, sort like the back of somthin else i used to get when i was a kid, gives you discipline you know, you callin me a gaper?? and another thing, that dogfishhead, was that the 90 or 120, can't find anything but 60 up here, that stuff still for sale in your holler?
jimmy
March 28, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

Quote:

Next time you're out there, try pushing down on the uphill ski when you want to start turning. Just a little eensy bit, see if it does anything for ya, then m'be, jess m'be a bit more.





Quote:

KevR, I feel I should emphasise this distinction. I say nothing about inside or outside ski. I mean push the uphill ski in the direction gravity pulls (not down the slope but along a vertical) as you start the turn.




To translate into different terms, would this be the Inside Leg Extension often discussed on Epic?

Quote:

The move is not a jam. To me it feels very much like pressure on bicycle pedals, one foot pressures down the other foot comes up, the two perfectly even as you cross the fall line.





Quote:

Let's keep the mental cue dirt simple: push down on the uphill ski.




My mental cue is the opposite, relax and tip the downhill ski. I learned this at several X-Team Clinics (E-Ski), and it works/makes sense for me. I think it's different means to the same end.




Comprex, like a short tele??.... moving the uphill ski forward and/or the downhill ski back or do you mean down as in more pressure?

Seems i remember that looking where i wanted to go was a pretty good way to start a turn, ya?
Crush
March 28, 2006
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
Jimmy-yo PowPow is a three-pin tele-guy ... take it all with a grain-o-salt. The front foot of those tele guys are always pressuring the tail in pow ... and PowPow *did* do a few endos on his own video this year lol ... 'nuff said!
comprex
March 29, 2006
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
jimmy, down as in more pressure.
POWPOW
March 29, 2006
Member since 05/10/2005
124 posts
Quote:

Jimmy-yo PowPow is a three-pin tele-guy ... take it all with a grain-o-salt. The front foot of those tele guys are always pressuring the tail in pow ... and PowPow *did* do a few endos on his own video this year lol ... 'nuff said!




thats a good call out on that one crush,
POWPOW
March 29, 2006
Member since 05/10/2005
124 posts
Quote:

Quote:

Dont know about boarding too much but as for skiing,

2) tail skiing is for gapers, learn weight distribution for and aft.





YO POWPOW, tail skiing definitly not for pinners, weight goes back all fall down, all *you* gotta do is drop that knee, as for me sometimes i gotta feel the light touch of the back of my boot, sort like the back of somthin else i used to get when i was a kid, gives you discipline you know, you callin me a gaper?? and another thing, that dogfishhead, was that the 90 or 120, can't find anything but 60 up here, that stuff still for sale in your holler?




Thats the 90 minute, the 60 is pretty much always available , the 90 is a little tougher (comes in a 4 pack) and the 120 is hard to find.
Crush
March 29, 2006
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
Quote:

thats a good call out on that one crush,




lol PowPow I did a few that scared me crazy like I was totally upside-down in about 3 feet of snow and it was freaking me out because I could not breath!! Talk about the mother of all endos!!!! Yeah it's that last 5% out of balance that is the killa!
tgd
March 29, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004
585 posts
I've never bought beer or alcohol over the internet, but I like the idea:
http://www.liquidsolutions.biz/main/ (click on their "Wall of Beer" and search for dogfishhead - they stock the 60 and 90 minute IPAs.
POWPOW
March 29, 2006
Member since 05/10/2005
124 posts
Quote:

I've never bought beer or alcohol over the internet, but I like the idea:
http://www.liquidsolutions.biz/main/ (click on their "Wall of Beer" and search for dogfishhead - they stock the 60 and 90 minute IPAs.




Stone makes really good beers as well, like as in 3 and your on the couch kinda deals.
comprex
March 29, 2006
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
check the honey rum
SCWVA
April 3, 2006
Member since 07/13/2004
1,049 posts
Comprex,

Based on your recommendation, I tried a Dogfish Head Brown Ale this weekend. It was quite tasty.

I guess you're a Beer Geek as well as a Gear Geek.

I may have to give you another star!
comprex
April 4, 2006
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
SCWVA, we all come to these later-in-life direction shifts . . .
canaanman
January 27, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
Quote:

When you hit deeper snow, your skis will slow down, and your upper body will tend to move forward of your feet. If your upper body is too far forward, your tips will drop too much into the snow. This seems to be a similar situation to entering a crud snow section from the groomed. For that case, I was taught to jet your feet forward slightly from your upper body to anticipate the increased drag.<P>I'm 6'1" tall. Seems like a lot of us posters are over 6 feet. I was instructed to slightly lower my center of gravity by bending by knees and lowering my hips. This helps mimimize the torque if my upper body gets too far forward. <P>comprex, I've also heard about the pulling up your toes tip, but I can't remember where.



While you're correct about lowering your center of gravity, what you're not condsidering is that there is no outside force making your upper body go forward... it appears to because of your moving frame of reference. What is really happening is your entire body wants to continue going fowards at the same rate it was before, but the deep, fluffy stuff is applying a greater frictional force... so to counteract this you can either a: lean back, or b: get low. Lowering the center of mass will "connect" you better with your plank(s). Leaning back will tend to put you in "the backseat", causing a loss of control.
Roy
January 27, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
canaanman it's funnny that you have revived this post. Just last week I was thinking about this.

I just returned from a 2-week vacation from Colorado. I skied Vail, Copper, Breck, Keyston, A-basin, Telluride, Durango (formerly Purgatory) and Wolf Creek. Summit County had nice coverage but we dropped down into Southern Colorado when that big storm came through. Telluride had 9 inches, Durango had 20, and Wolf Creek had 50 inches of powder! Needless to say, Wolf Creek had the better conditions.

I had skied powder like this before but it was 6 years ago and much of my powder knowledge since was fuzzy on making comments on skiing the fluffy stuff. While many in this post (and ski instructors I worked with) have stated to lean back in powder, canaanman is right that you lose control when leaning back. Losing control in deep powder will cause you to fall. And when you fall in deep powder, it is much harder to get up. The pow does not give you any solid base in which to get up, as everytime you exert force in the snow, you tend to sink even further.

However, you do not want to "lean" forward, as this will tend to make your skis sink into the snow, thereby driving you deeper into the snow, slowing you down (which happens in deep powder anyway), and making you fall as your skis can stop (eventually the tops of your planks are hitting a bigger mass of the snow creating a braking motion).

I took more of the advice of a Level 3 instructor that I worked with (who did all of his skiing out west until a couple of years ago). He stated that you have to keep your body more centered (forward centered, not back centered). I did this while trying to keep my body "light" on my skis. By this I mean that I did not try to make too many forceful moves and I let my skis float on the powder.

It also helped that my new Nordica Nitrous Hot Rods (123-78-108) where wider than my K2 Axis X from last year. The wider head allowed the skis to break through the snow and rise to the top. But to do this, I had to keep one basic ski move that applies to all skiing: keep your shins in constant contact with the tounge of the boot.

While in typical East Coast skiing, we do this by keeping our body forward and constantly moving our bodies downhill. You can't do this in powder (as I stated above). So I would raise my toes (or better the front of my foot) to keep that constant contact. This in turn raised the front of my skis, allowing the wider head to float to the top.

Another tactic that I discovered was just as important was to constantly find the fall line. When I taught beginners on the flatters surfaces of the green runs, I had to find the small fall lines to put beginners on for the first part of the lessons. You did not want a big fall line as this would induce more speed for beginners and more fear. While I always thought this skill would only be used for beginner lessons, I've learned how useful it is on cattracks and in deep powder (why pole and skate so hard on cattracks? too much work).

You cannot ski fast on powder (unless you're on 45+ degree slopes). I would feel the fall line and steer my skis left and right, once again using the toes and feet and not making sudden moves. This also helps in continuing to float through the powder.

Needless to say, this was a dream ski vacation. Wolf Creek was my #1 resort to ski (that I had not skied yet). With the 50 inches of powder, it lived up to the dream. We hiked Kniferidge and this is where we found our best powder. There was a field with only 3 tracks going through it. Not totally virgin snow but close enough. We had powder consistently above our waists and I got a huge face shot when I jumped down a 5 foot drop.

Coming back to reality at home was tough, but at least the weather here had turned cold and we got some snow. I still haven't skied here this season but I hope to next week.
Crush
January 27, 2007
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
ok this is amazing b/c now it has been 3 years since I first wrote about this subject. Have I revamped my statements in page 1? no! but.....

Over the last two years I find with a big mountain ski like my Dynastar Inspired By Nobis (gawd ... old school now ... 89 mm waist) on a 35-45 degree slope with 1-2 feet of powder I now pretty much attack with my feet fairly close together, 60/40 weight distribution, back rounded and compact stance w/ sight waist break, "average" neutral balance on my skis (that means 50% of the time I am in the back seat, 50% of the time I am too far forward), constant balance adjustment, goin' waaay too fast, turn size gs to super G (for me about 30-60 meters/yards radius), my grip on my poles as loose as I can, relax and stay loose, breath like you are lifting weights, look all the way down the fall line, stand tall tall tall on the turn transitions and keep arms wide and forward during for balance, try to keep ski tips even, stay with the rhythm, use a near-center-mounted ski (PocketRocket/Gun, Inspired, Scratch BC, Snoop, Mantra, etc) for even round flex. That's all i know.
fishnski
January 27, 2007
Member since 03/27/2005
3,530 posts
That was as good & honest a post I have heard on how to ski powder Crush! I was coming down the MTN with you...I could FEEL it! Unfortunately My 1 & only Chance so far was a bust when I went out west a couple of years ago. A whole week of staring at the Weather Channel showing snow in WV while I didn't see a flake (Beaver Ck/Vail). Same thing happening now Except our Powder is mixed with Manmade Because of the late start...SOOOoo still no powder deeper than 6 to 8 inches under my belt. I hope to experience the "experience" one day...hopefully this Feb with a cold NEaster combined with getting on the slopes before the Groomers!...Don't see me heading back out west...My new boat I want will cost 50 Grand!(Priorities)
fishnski
January 27, 2007
Member since 03/27/2005
3,530 posts
Sorry Roy,..Great Points & Post! I Just took the Last Post As Ref. Its All GOOD!It All Seems to Come down to your F-ward/Backward Stance. Keep the ski's not too wide or tight. Stay Loose!
ono
January 27, 2007
Member since 01/26/2007
5 posts
how to ski powder? well, it's pretty simple, really.
1. distribute your weight more evenly between both skis,

2. stay forward/over your knees (leaning back is bad form/unnecessary- counterintuitive maybe, but you'll see)

3. smile/hoot/holler as you realize that powder skiing is simply the greatest experience ever.
Roy
January 28, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Quote:


3. smile/hoot/holler as you realize that powder skiing is simply the greatest experience ever.




I think all the posts forgot this comment. That is absolutely the truth. My entire time at Wolf Creek I thought I was drunk or high or something because I felt the smile and I was euphoric for 3 days. I hope everyone gets that chance to ski deep powder in their life.
JohnL
January 28, 2007
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

"average" neutral balance on my skis (that means 50% of the time I am in the back seat, 50% of the time I am too far forward)




LOL! Averages don't lie. Word to the wise, Crush has a speed envelope that few skiers reach. Groomed, steeps, bumps, trees; doesn't matter.

Hard to believe this thread is three years old.

Best advice I can give for powder and steeps: when in doubt, don't fall. And as I believe Denis said earlier in this thread, always go first.

I'll add some extra thought to my earlier posts based on some added deep powder experience since the thread started.

In deep powder (knee to waist+ deep - not too common in the Mid-Atlantic), staying balanced is key, but the consequences of getting too far forward are a lot worse than the consequences of getting too far backward. Get too far forward, at least one tip will plant deep into the snow; when this happens, at best you'll get stuck dead in your tracks, at worst, you'll flip over the handle bars, leaving your ski buried in the snow, possibly taken a long time to find the ski even with powder straps. Even the best case scenario can really suck. Until it occurs to you, you don't realize how tough it can be to dig yourself out of the snow; from a scientific viewpoint it's pretty impressive how far the human missile can penetrate the snowbank and how deep your tips can sink. I've had a couple of situations where the tip of my still-attached ski is easily 8 feet below the surface of the snow. I'd rather hike 10 minutes at altitude than dig myself out of a situation like that.

As a tactic, I'll often lean far back on the tails of my skis to get through flat sections where deep snow has accumulated. If I was on the groomed, I'd be leaning back so much that I'd be poppin' a wheelie down the trail. I'll do this a lot on powder days when I'm skiing staircase terrain; steep section, followed by flat (where I lean back), followed by steep. The snow often piles up real deep on the flat section, and if you don't adjust your fore-aft balance quickly from the steeps, you're at best stuck/stopped. I've found from experience that in certain situations like this, over-compensation is needed on the less-steep sections. Nothing worse than seeing people go by you on a powder day.

Short of this extreme scenario, Roy's advice of lifting your toes to the top of your boots (keeping moderate shin pressure on the boots) is good advice to not put too much pressure on your ski tips causing them to sink.

As another tactic, if I find I'm sinking forward to the point of no recovery, I'll commit to the forward fall and deliberately flip over the handle bars. Done properly, you land on your feet with your skis still on. I've seen this done a lot at Alta.

The toughest situation in powder skiing is hitting a hidden mogul or tree stump or rock under the snow. &^%$*!# snowsnakes. (This situation is where I fall the most in powder.) This happens a lot at a place like Alta where the bumps get very, very deep, and it takes a lot of snow (even by Alta standards) to fill in the bumps. If you keep the same amount of shin pressure as you would on the hardpack, you'll greatly increase the odds of losing your skis. In conditions like that, I'll make certain I'm not too far forward, which means in reality I'm probably leaning back a bit.
JohnL
January 28, 2007
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
One more thing, when skiing on 90mm+ skis you can ski powder faaaaaaaaaast! I still sink in as much as I did when skiing on mid-fats; the extra float of the ski is offset by the added speed/kinetic energy (which causes you to sink in deeper on each turn.)

You can still get faceshots on powder boards skiing low-angle terrain. Last year I had to bail when skiing a low-angle meadow at Solitude. I was going so fast that I had faceshots on three straight turns; it's was a bit unnerving not to be able to see a thing that many turns in a row. On mid-fats, I wouldn't have dared to go that fast.
Crush
January 28, 2007
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
JohnL -
Quote:

.. In deep powder (knee to waist+ deep - not too common in the Mid-Atlantic), staying balanced is key, but the consequences of getting too far forward are a lot worse than the consequences of getting too far backward. ..




t/y my powder bro; we both know the low-down. the psia stuff is nice in theory, but in practice we know what's what. i think bushwacky would agree; not elegant, but damn it does work! ;-)
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
February 1, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004
3,062 posts
JohnL,
You mentioned one thing that I want to emphasize, use powder cords. Falling and getting up in deep powder can be really difficutly and really causes the perspiration to flow. But having to dig around and dig deep and MAYBE finding your missing ski makes it all the worse. It is not unususl at Alta to find skis on the slopes after all the snow has melted.
But skiing powder is really the ultimate...but it has been so long since I have really experienced that I know I would have to learn how all over again.
The Colonel
comprex
February 5, 2007
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts

Stay away from trees, particularly when the lower branches are buried in snow.

You really, really, really don't want to be stuck in a tree well.

You really, really, really, really don't want to be stuck in one upside down.

(Been there, done that, toughest half-hour of my skiing life. The snow around trees is different, more sugary than on the rest of the slope, because it is a)filtered by the needles b) re-warmed by the tree metabolism/sunlight energy. I had to make an X of my skis above the well then do an upside down situp Rocky Balboa-style to shove an arm with a pole out and down slope for something solid to grab. Fortieth try is the charm.)
Roy
February 6, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
I didn't get stuck in any big tree wells (this time) but I whole-heartedly agree. The trees that are the prettiest are the most dangerous.
TerpSKI
February 18, 2007
Member since 03/10/2004
167 posts
Quote:

ok this is amazing b/c now it has been 3 years since I first wrote about this subject. Have I revamped my statements in page 1? no! but.....

Over the last two years I find with a big mountain ski like my Dynastar Inspired By Nobis (gawd ... old school now ... 89 mm waist) on a 35-45 degree slope with 1-2 feet of powder I now pretty much attack with my feet fairly close together, 60/40 weight distribution, back rounded and compact stance w/ sight waist break, "average" neutral balance on my skis (that means 50% of the time I am in the back seat, 50% of the time I am too far forward), constant balance adjustment, goin' waaay too fast, turn size gs to super G (for me about 30-60 meters/yards radius), my grip on my poles as loose as I can, relax and stay loose, breath like you are lifting weights, look all the way down the fall line, stand tall tall tall on the turn transitions and keep arms wide and forward during for balance, try to keep ski tips even, stay with the rhythm, use a near-center-mounted ski (PocketRocket/Gun, Inspired, Scratch BC, Snoop, Mantra, etc) for even round flex. That's all i know.




Good info ^^^

I'm no powder expert, but I can and do ski it when I can find it. Though people ski powder and do it well using all manner of ski, (I typically use 76mm waisted ski) your learning curve will be much shorter and more fun if you rent some wide boards. I demoed some Rossi B4s (95mm waist) this week in Vermont with great results.
atomicdog
March 6, 2007
Member since 03/6/2007
7 posts
I've had a hell of a time trying to learn to ski soft snow - my tips keep plunging and I get thrown face first. Most of what I've dealt with has been pretty dense stuff, like you find at Squaw Valley, Kirkwood and Whistler. But earlier this year I was skiing in Michigan in about six inches of new stuff, pretty well chopped up, and my tips just suddenly dug in and I got launched head over heels, landing on my back and breaking my collarbone. Fortunately, they patched it up pretty well with a plate and I'm well on the way to recovery. But for the life of me, the only thing that seems to work is sitting back on the skis and skidding them, but I keep hearing that's not the way to do it. Any time I try to center myself with my shins in contact with the front of the boot and my toes curled up/ankles raised, it's a recipe for disaster! I'm generally an ok skier, handle groomers and bumps ok, but the dense, soft stuff just kills me! Any suggestions?
comprex
March 7, 2007
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
What skis are you on? The pat answer would be to get something with more float and mount the bindings further back.

I no longer buy into that wholesale, however. Two of our group skied all week in Utah on 155cm and 166cm Fischer SL skis.

-You don't have to shin the tongue all the time-. It is far more important not to lose rhythm. It's when you want to turn that you pressure the front corners of the boot. In fact, you could try loosening your top buckle to broaden your balance envelope.

- adapt your rhythm and line so that moves don't have to be rabbit quick. If you've seen 2001:a Space Odyssey, you want the weightlessness of a Blue Danube soundtrack.

-If you have the core strength, you can anticipate these little slow-downs and pull both skis forward in front of you just before they hit the slow snow pile. Guy Duquette up in Sutton used to call this 'squeezing the lemon' when done on flat skis; I can't seem to find the Ski Press article at the moment. Bode Miller does this at the top of the turn on edged skis-that's real core strength.


PS. Do as I say not as I do. I found a tree well. My knee isn't thanking me for it.
atomicdog
March 7, 2007
Member since 03/6/2007
7 posts
I'm on Atomic Beta Ride 9.22s, 180 cm. They might be a bit long for me, but when I demo'd them, I found them more stable in the heavy stuff than the 170s or the Salomon X-Screams, which I also tried. I also have the adjustable Atomic bindings, so I can set them forward or back, depending on conditions. I've been pretty happy with them for the most part, but like I said, I seem to keep catching my tips in the dense stuff.
JohnL
March 7, 2007
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

Any time I try to center myself with my shins in contact with the front of the boot and my toes curled up/ankles raised, it's a recipe for disaster!




When you curl your toes up, your ankles press downwards, not raise upwards. Am I misunderstanding your explanation?

You need some shin pressure on the front of your boots, but if you apply too much forward shin pressure, your tips will sink even if your toes are raised.

It sounds like you may have equipment/body alignment problems or fore-aft balance problems. Consult a competent boot fitter or ski instructor. I suspect this is a problem even when you are skiing groomed runs, but skiing powder/crud just makes the alignment/technique problems more evident.
therusty
March 7, 2007
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Nice Doggie, down boy! oops - that is the problem isn't it?

You most certainly can ski powder sitting back and pivoting. It does work. But it also is so inefficient that you quickly tire your quad muscles. But when all else fails, this technique can at least let you enjoy a little powder.

The biggest problem with powder is that the adjustments you need to make vary with powder depth, consistency, slope pitch and speed. Often times, similar to water skiing, you need to sit back in order to get up to speed before you can get the skis to "plane" within the snow pack. Raising the toes/closing the ankle is the key to lifting the ski tips up to allow planing to happen. But this move is unfamiliar to many skiers. And, like many beginning water skiers have discovered, getting from the back position to the forward position can be tricky. Getting a lesson may help identify why the toe raise/ankle close thing is not working for you and how you could do it more effectively. In the mean time, the key point here is that you bring your weight to be centered between the bindings while your ski tips are higher off the ground than your ski tails are. You can't do this on a packed snow surface, but you can when your skis are traveling inside the snow pack.

Another technique I've sometimes used is to add to the submarining effect instead of fighting it. This causes the ski tips to rebound off the bottom, firmer layer of snow underneath the powder and then come back to the surface. But you can't do this until you get up to speed and you can only use this technique under specific conditions.
atomicdog
March 8, 2007
Member since 03/6/2007
7 posts
I mean flexing my ankles so that the front of my foot is raised - I guess the ankle itself really doesn't go up or down.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Would these also apply to chopped up stuff (fresh, dense snow) or is that more properly described as crud or mashed potatoes? (That's what I broke my collarbone in - it may have been as I was initiating a turn, but I'm not sure).

Also, what adjustments would you make for Sierra Cement-type powder vs. light, fluffy Colorado/Utah snow?
comprex
March 8, 2007
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Quote:

. Raising the toes/closing the ankle is the key to lifting the ski tips up to allow planing to happen. But this move is unfamiliar to many skiers.




Are you speaking of just closing the ankle, that can be practiced on the chairlift (if the pesky foot bar wasn't in the way) or compensatory movements higher up that cannot be?
crunchy
March 8, 2007
Member since 02/22/2007
596 posts
I'm by no means an expert powder skier, but for me, the key was mainly the mind-set. Keeping the tips up (just lift the toes) and keeping the skis fairly close was the easy part. The hard part is the mind-set to first just "let go and go" and not to think too much about about it, but instead realize that you are just floating on top of or thru the snow. When I first felt that feeling of floating/flying it was like the light in my head turned on and told me this is no longer skiing as i thought i knew it. Im a hovercraft floating through the snow
therusty
March 8, 2007
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Quote:

Quote:

. Raising the toes/closing the ankle is the key to lifting the ski tips up to allow planing to happen. But this move is unfamiliar to many skiers.




Are you speaking of just closing the ankle, that can be practiced on the chairlift (if the pesky foot bar wasn't in the way) or compensatory movements higher up that cannot be?




You can close your ankle by bending your knees and/or raising your toes. On a chairlift, your ability to close your ankle by bending your knees is limited to how far back you can pull your foot (i.e. not much - and a move that risks falling out of the chair). But on a chair you will get much more sensory feedback from trying to raise your toes. On the snow, it does not matter what you focus on to get the movement to occur. Some people need to try many different approaches before they find one that achieves results.
therusty
March 8, 2007
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Quote:

I mean flexing my ankles so that the front of my foot is raised - I guess the ankle itself really doesn't go up or down.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Would these also apply to chopped up stuff (fresh, dense snow) or is that more properly described as crud or mashed potatoes? (That's what I broke my collarbone in - it may have been as I was initiating a turn, but I'm not sure).

Also, what adjustments would you make for Sierra Cement-type powder vs. light, fluffy Colorado/Utah snow?




You generally do not "float" through crud or mashed potatoes, even though you are riding in the snowpack versus on it. I'm trying to make a subtle distinction here - what I'm trying to describe is when the depth that you're at does not change much relative to your speed. In these conditions ankle flex to raise the tips is not nearly as important as using your ski edges to maintain stability through variable conditions.

In Sierra cement you do float. My basic adjustments for heavy snow are increased speed and shallower turns (keeping the skis more in the fall line than letting them get across the fall line). Also, the heavier the snow, the more critical it is to make smooth movements. Sudden movements in heavy snow usually lead to sudden stops.
Crush
March 8, 2007
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
Quote:

... Would these also apply to chopped up stuff (fresh, dense snow) or is that more properly described as crud or mashed potatoes? ..




hee hee hee dude i just finished skiing with JimmyZ umm there was 4-6 inches of heavy wet cut-up snow all over. my advice is..

charge it and slam it !

yeeeaaaaaahhh. supersonic is best and rellllaaaaaaxxxxx. i even got JimmyZ to start chargin' it was great to see him wailing down kestral under the super condor lift makin' big fat turns and rollin' over the crud. my man turned into a beast!

i'm still tranced out ! excellent day started with heavy snow and then sun awesome awesome; speed, sun, fun oh yeah put the smack down listening to gin blossoms and danced to madonna. way way fun blew through soft powder bumps, sucked up terrain, air time, oh man.

fire fire fire attack, sensuous feelie cream grooves two lines bucking ride ride push harder take it;

rock thrust hips center center tip dip again again dip - dip and here it comes , slow careful gentile through and press go go go again now now press and go again forward fire fire fire;

fire, buck sweaty bucks yes another here it comes shove and press and exit end end, now slowly grooves carefully thoughtfully - gentile slow and gentile and smooth and creamy and quiet quiet quiet.

still - again.
atomicdog
March 9, 2007
Member since 03/6/2007
7 posts
Quote:

Sudden movements in heavy snow usually lead to sudden stops.




Sounds like that might have been my problem - are you saying that initiating a turn too aggressively in chopped up snow could cause the tips to dig in and launch you downhill? 'Cause I really got catapulted.
atomicdog
March 9, 2007
Member since 03/6/2007
7 posts
Quote:

hee hee hee dude ... my advice is..charge it and slam it ! yeeeaaaaaahhh. supersonic is best and rellllaaaaaaxxxxx.





Um -- what you are describing is exactly how I broke my collarbone.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 9, 2007
Member since 07/12/2004
2,171 posts
Quote:

fire fire fire attack, sensuous feelie cream grooves two lines bucking ride ride push harder take it;

rock thrust hips center center tip dip again again dip - dip and here it comes , slow careful gentile through and press go go go again now now press and go again forward fire fire fire;

fire, buck sweaty bucks yes another here it comes shove and press and exit end end, now slowly grooves carefully thoughtfully - gentile slow and gentile and smooth and creamy and quiet quiet quiet.

still - again.




Nice, I've got to ski with you sometime Crush.
Crush
March 10, 2007
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
Quote:

Um -- what you are describing is exactly how I broke my collarbone.




... you didn't read the poetic prose! it's in there ....
Crush
March 10, 2007
Member since 03/21/2004
995 posts
[quote
Nice, I've got to ski with you sometime Crush.




... anytime, D-man!
therusty
March 12, 2007
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Quote:

Quote:

Sudden movements in heavy snow usually lead to sudden stops.




Sounds like that might have been my problem - are you saying that initiating a turn too aggressively in chopped up snow could cause the tips to dig in and launch you downhill? 'Cause I really got catapulted.




Good question. Although I can't think of a likely sudden movement that would directly lead to the tips digging in, there any number of sudden movements (e.g. trying to force the skis into a new turn) that could cause a loss of momentum. That would cause the tips to start dropping which could quickly lead to submarining. With that caveat, the answer is "yes".
atomicdog
March 12, 2007
Member since 03/6/2007
7 posts
Quote:

Good question. Although I can't think of a likely sudden movement that would directly lead to the tips digging in, there any number of sudden movements (e.g. trying to force the skis into a new turn) that could cause a loss of momentum. That would cause the tips to start dropping which could quickly lead to submarining. With that caveat, the answer is "yes".





Thanks - I'm still not sure what triggered it, but this sounds like a possibility. Odd thing is, there was only about six inches of fresh stuff, chopped up pretty good, on top of a firm base of packed artificial snow - wasn't enough that I was even worried about catching my tips until it happened. I'd been racing that morning, so I might have still been focusing a bit much on keeping my weight forward, which probably didn't help.
KevR
March 13, 2007
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
I've dug a tip in on softer snow by aggressively leaning hard on the tips of my skis, which works great on hard packed groomed slopes for rapid turns. I guess in softer snow I find if I get back to being more "centered" over the ski and then "let" the skis due their job instead of forcing it, like I OFTEN do on harder groomed trails -- that this is helpful too.
On the other side of the coin, I was recently skiing in incredibly soft SLUSH and I found if I actually sat on the tails *somewhat*, and BENT the tails thru the turns that this was actually somewhat effective.

Now, I might add this may have been the softest slushiest snow I've ever skied in, and it was near the end of the day, and my experiment was relatively short lived, and I was on reasonably gentle slopes at the time.
jimmy
March 13, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

Nice Doggie, down boy! oops - that is the problem isn't it?



Hee, I just got this one rusty .


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Sudden movements in heavy snow usually lead to sudden stops.




Sounds like that might have been my problem - are you saying that initiating a turn too aggressively in chopped up snow could cause the tips to dig in and launch you downhill? 'Cause I really got catapulted.




Good question. Although I can't think of a likely sudden movement that would directly lead to the tips digging in, there any number of sudden movements (e.g. trying to force the skis into a new turn) that could cause a loss of momentum. That would cause the tips to start dropping which could quickly lead to submarining. With that caveat, the answer is "yes".




Dawg are you sure you are sticking your tips? Maybe a little stem in u turn causes you to catch an inside edge, same result, OverTheBarExperience?
KevR
March 13, 2007
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
I had the same question but since he said he was racing, I assumed that was unlikely.

However in general -- stem == death in powder, especially as it gets deeper.

Also true for moguls, uneven terrain, trees...
atomicdog
March 20, 2007
Member since 03/6/2007
7 posts
Jimmy/KevR -

I wasn't actually racing at the time it happened - I was racing earlier that day and was rec skiing when the accident happened. In between, we got about six inches of fresh stuff on top of the hard-packed artificial snow we'd been racing on.

I've thought that I might have caught an inside edge, like Jimmy suggested, but my recollection is that the tips stuck and catapulted me forward - I got tossed so hard that I did an almost complete flip, landing on my back with my head uphill. In fact, my first reaction was that I was glad I was wearing a helmet, because I hit the back of my head so hard.

The good news is, the surgery I had to fix the collarbone enabled it to heal faster than it would have if left by itself, and I was able to go on a long-planned ski trip to Vail this past week - the doc said it was ok, so long as I took it easy. During that time, I encountered a lot of slushy, very soft snow that gave me relatively little trouble. That makes me suspect that my accident may have been caused by jamming my tips in a snow-covered rut left from the morning's racing, rather than simply burying them in the soft now itself.

Thanks to everyone for their help - any other comments/observations are welcome, naturally.
KevR
March 21, 2007
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
well once i had a headlong toss on one of those blue runs at wt -- the dealeo was i was bombing the dang run and it just so happened that the extreme right of the trail, about 6 feet of it was just super soft snow -- while the rest was hard packed groom stuff. I had no idea what hit me except that my right tip or left, not sure, DUG deep into the soft snow when I was coming through the turn at the transition from hard pack to soft, and sent me sprawling headlong down the trail -- i bet i slide a good solid 20 ft or so! I thought: MAN THAT WAS STUPID! So never trust too much on the slopes -- perhaps the lesson there -- especially on the trail sides.

Anyway -- I did something similar once before but at a far slower speed on a fully groomed and wide open trail once out west but i was really forcing the tips hard and fiddling around with my turns... the snow was a consistent and it was just me, really leaning on the tips a bit and one dug in a tiny bit and I fell over... that wasn't nearly as exciting!



Good to hear modern medicine has you back on the up & up!
therusty
March 21, 2007
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
The extreme right of trails like Snow Dancer and Limelight often are marked with "lollipops" (orange poles with orange circles on top) to mark the edge of where the snowmaking and the grooming go. With the installation of fixed snowmaking equipment, covering the far edge of some trails becomes a lot of work and not really necessary. While there is often snow covering the ground past the edge of what the lollipops are marking and there may even be tracks in that snow, there is no guaranteed base over there. When you've seen the size of the loose rocks on the slopes during the summer and the size of the water bars that may only be partially covered and you are over 30 years of age, you will begin to have second thoughts about chasing soft snow on the other side of the lollipops, especially if you are on your own gear.

BTW - sliding 20 feet is nothing at Whitetail. If it's under 200 feet you won't even get applause from the lift.
KevR
March 21, 2007
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
Yeah it was only "half" of a yard sale... ;-)

everything you said I knew at the time, just knew better -- I 'spose we should put this under the heading of how NOT to ski powder!

:-)
Roy
March 22, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Quote:

well once i had a headlong toss on one of those blue runs at wt -- the dealeo was i was bombing the dang run and it just so happened that the extreme right of the trail, about 6 feet of it was just super soft snow -- while the rest was hard packed groom stuff




I did the same thing at Liberty once. Instead of the super soft snow, it was machine made powder. Well, it wasn't the light and fluffy stuff and my skis stuck in the snow and I went flying. I wound up pulling muscles in my rib cage (which by the way is one of the most painful, long lasting injuries I've ever had, especially when sneezing!). On the bright side, it did get me out of teaching kids the rest of the season.
comprex
April 13, 2007
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Quote:

The extreme right of trails like Snow Dancer and Limelight often are marked with "lollipops" (orange poles with orange circles on top) to mark the edge of where the snowmaking and the grooming go. With the installation of fixed snowmaking equipment, covering the far edge of some trails becomes a lot of work and not really necessary. While there is often snow covering the ground past the edge of what the lollipops are marking and there may even be tracks in that snow, there is no guaranteed base over there. When you've seen the size of the loose rocks on the slopes during the summer and the size of the water bars that may only be partially covered and you are over 30 years of age, you will begin to have second thoughts about chasing soft snow on the other side of the lollipops, especially if you are on your own gear.





Heh. NOW you tell me.

I was skiing some old p40s on purpose just to play in there, they never noticed nuthin'. No falls, just some sticky spots. Not one base dimple, not an edge marred. It was when I got to the bottom that I noticed the toe buckles missing off the boot, the second buckles barely hanging onto both boots, and grass bouquets trapped in all remaining buckles.

Eeesh, the glories of night skiing. Ya gotta wear old skis AND boots.
tromano
April 14, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
I had a buckle fall off this spring. I got it replaced farily easily.
Roy
April 15, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Where did you get it replaced? I had a buckle bent and I can't force it back (it's the toe buckle which I rarely buckle anyway).
comprex
April 15, 2007
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Replaced 3, straightened one, new rivets all round.

Ski Center has a fairly sizeable stash; the Dolomite/Tecnica/Nordica ones are pretty interchangeable.

Don't buckle the bottom eh? Is your water dam taped?
Roy
April 16, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Quote:

Is your water dam taped?




???????????????????

Just a personal preference to not buckle. I don't know why but I've never felt a difference in performance.
comprex
April 19, 2007
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts

I'm convinced that one of the major roles of the toe buckle is to keep the two sides of the shell overlap square with each other during boot flexion, and pressed down onto the rubber water dam at the very toes.

So, my unsubstantiated hypothesis is that you either have medium-narrow feet or you have duct tape across the toes?
jimmy
April 19, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
.....but... Wouldn't he have his toes taped because his feet got wet?
comprex
April 20, 2007
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Quote:

.....but... Wouldn't he have his toes taped because his feet got wet?




That's what I'm saying: the front buckle helps keep that seal watertight.

I could show you a really bad case in about 15 seconds, but you can do the test yourself: use a sharpie to mark a line spanning the shell overlap. Now put the boot on and flex all the way forward. Do the two parts of the line stay aligned?
JohnL
April 21, 2007
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

That's what I'm saying: the front buckle helps keep that seal watertight.





It probably does, but I'm like Roy and I never ski with the front buckle tightened. I've never noticed excessively wet feet, but I am surprised I haven't lost a buckle or two during deep powder skiing. I'll look down, and the buckle is often twisted at a very weird angle.
tromano
April 21, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Quote:

Where did you get it replaced? I had a buckle bent and I can't force it back (it's the toe buckle which I rarely buckle anyway).




Ski Center.
Roy
April 24, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
I've never had my feet get wet except for sweating.
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