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Freeride Technique - Powder

Freeriding is all about enjoying the mountain in any conditions but best of all… it's is all about the powder!


Something that catches a lot of people out in powder and other off piste conditions is knowing how to deal with steering and the pressure that builds up against the skis to create a firm platform at the end of a turn.

When you make your normal turns on piste you are usually quite familiar with how pressure builds up as to go through the turn, usually with the pressure increasing towards the end part.

You normally get to a stage in the last half of the turn on piste where you try to be skilful with your pressure control, leaning, steering and end up with a strong platform to push off from to help to move into the next turn and your new direction.

Learn your ski technique from Warren Smith's Ski Academy
Learn to Ski Powder with Warren
1/ In powder and other conditions where the snow is soft and the skis can be submerged, it doesn't take so much effort to make a good strong platform at the end of a turn.

On piste the platform is always created by the ski tilting and the edge biting into the snow.

In powder you need all these elements but because the snow is soft or loose it builds up against the ski and acts as a natural platform.

If you can become aware of this factor you will start to work out and realise just how much you need to steer and lean to get the balance right for a perfect supporting platform.

It's kind of like a snow wall being made against your ski. This is what sometimes catches people out. If all the effort you use on piste to create the platform is exercised in powder - with the added natural platform that the soft snow makes - it can sometimes be too much and almost stop you in your tracks.

If you've ever skied powder or deep snow you've probably experienced this at some stage.
2/ Something worth thinking about is being more progressive with your steering, and not rushing the turn.

It's usually the rushed movements that cause the skis to create the type of platform that will halt you in you tracks.

Become aware of this point and use progressive movements when freeskiing so as to spend more of the time on your feet enjoying the ride.