Originally Posted by habacomike
I just got back from Aspen were I skied with Schanzy. He suggested taking the powder cat for a day to work on powder skiing technique. It was a great day. It is so hard to get the opportunity to ski repeated runs of untracked powder to be able to work on your technique and figure out what is working and what is not.
There is a different mixture of ingredients in good powder skiing from those used in groomer skiing. YOu need to learn how and when to pressure the ski platform so that you are light in the transition. And the width of the ski will dictate, in part, how down the fall line you must be. In powder skiing, speed is your friend. Schanzy had us start straightline down the hill and delay the first turn to ensure we had enough momentum to allow the ski to work.
As others have suggested, powder skiing is about working your platform. The skis have to work as a unit. Using a long-leg short-leg technique is not a good idea, as you will inevitably overpressure one ski whilst catching the tip of the inside ski, resulting in the diverging windmill fall. Powder skiing reveals all of your faults in your upper body as well. It's a great place to work on refining your off-piste mixture of tools and technique.
Lots of variables there. But the way to get better is to have ample opportunities for repetition. A snowcat provides those, as might a heli trip.
She's got plenty of ski under her to learn to ski pow - I'm a heck of a lot bigger than she is and just this season started skiing more than 88mm underfoot. Any more than what she's got and she'll pop out of the snow like a cork. IMHO, of course, and I know that everybody on the board has their own HO.
Today is another chance for you to practice powder technique. You should really consider a powder lesson. If that's not in your immediate future, though, try a couple of things:
1. Ski in a straight line where you're moving reasonably well but at a comfortable speed. Keep your feet close together, and practice bouncing up and down as you go. That bounce is what you're trying to feel in a powder turn. Platform is a good word for you. The turn, once the light goes off in your head, feels like you're bouncing from one turn into the next. You're not trying to feel the hard snow under your feet, you're hoping to feel the float. That feel can be disconcerting at first but that's what you're shooting for. Trust your skis, they can turn just fine while you're floating above the hard stuff.
2. Skiing powder successfully requires skiing lightly, being balanced over your skis AND between your two skis. If your quads are starting to burn then you're leaning too far back. If your skis are taking off in different directions then think in terms of keeping your feet closer together and moving more in unison.
3. Remember that the powder will slow you down. That means that you can try terrain that's a tad steeper than what you're usually comfortable skiing. You don't have to head for Catherine's Area right away, but the black runs or steeper blues off of the Supreme lift, for example, should be worth trying. Or head for the Ballroom or Sunspot/lower West Rustler off of the Collins lift. There are some blacks off of Wildcat that they usually groom... if they haven't they might be good for some powder practice. The runs through the gates off of Wildcat will have huge bumps and probably are more than what you're going to want to tackle today. The stuff through the Cecret gates won't be steep enough to keep you from getting bogged down, and Vail Ridge is marked as a black but isn't worth your time.
4. Alta gets tracked out fast on a powder day, so you won't have more than a couple of runs to practice your powder turns until you get a little more comfortable with it and are able to hike for steeper lines and explore little pockets in the trees. Again, a lesson will maximize your opportunity and make your next powder day more successful.
Enjoy the day, guys, I'm off to hunt for some powder! :D
(Disclaimer - I'm obviously no instructor and would never have commented if this were in the instruction forum... just sharing what worked for me when I was learning this stuff.)