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Powder Skiing Resources?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am new to powder skiing but am incredibly excited to try it out. Before I go though I want to make sure I know what I am "supposed" to do so I don't develop bad habits. What are the best resources out there (besides the opinions of those on this board, which I have read through thoroughly already and have found very helpful)? I am thinking videos or good books on powder skiing technique would be useful so I could see visuals of what people are talking about. A picture is worth a 1000 words afterall.

FWIW, it sounds to me like bouncing and carving through the deep stuff both have their place and time... seems to me it would depend upon the terrain and whether you need to turn quick, like in tight trees, or whether you have lots of open space to carve, like wide-open faces.

Thanks all, JC
post #2 of 17
Lito's video on bumps and powder has a pretty nice how-to section with visuals on powder. he goes over both the bouncy method and the retraction method. www.breakthroughonskis.com I think. it's pretty basic.

My humble advice, worth every penny paid for it :-) is to wait to ski the trees until you've gotten the feel of it in more open terrain. Patience is a big thing in powder and if you're too focused on making a quick turn to avoid a tree, it will slow your powder progress (IMO).
post #3 of 17
Definitely stay out of the trees. You could kill yourself. Wait 'till you get some control.

Don't wait around to start skiing new snow (without trees). Just do it and see what happens. Then look at the pictures and read the descriptions and talk to the experts. What you see and what they say will make a lot more sense if you have been there already.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
I had no intention of going into the trees until I am pretty comfortable with the open terrain. I'm daring but I'm not an idiot... well, my gf would disagree I'm sure but you know what I mean.

Thanks for the info on the video. I saw a link to that one earlier in my readings but its nice to see some confirmation that its worth the money... afterall, $75 for three videos is a whole days worth of skiing.

Now, how about books? Anything you'd reccomend from Chapters or Amazon?
post #5 of 17
Yikes! 75 bucks? sheesh. see if you can get just the one on bumps and powder. Or check amazon for used ones.
post #6 of 17

Books

Lito also has a book that you can probably get at a used-book store. That's where I got mine. although I like the video because I'm a visual learner, the book provides some more good information.
post #7 of 17
Your search for an entire book on powder skiing leads me to believe that you might think powder technique is very different. I know you're not looking for member advice, but FWIW, a good skier needs minor tweaks, not wholesale changes.

Anyone Can be an Expert Skier by this board's most talked about author/instructor has a section on powder.
post #8 of 17
Best advice is to wait until there is some powder Then take a lesson. If you have the basics down a one day on snow will do more for you then watching a tape or reading any book. Chances are if you sign up for a group lesson It will be a very small group.
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49
Best advice is to wait until there is some powder Then take a lesson. If you have the basics down a one day on snow will do more for you then watching a tape or reading any book. Chances are if you sign up for a group lesson It will be a very small group.
Ditto

If you're coming this week and hitting summit county or winter park, you couldn't pick a better time - winter storm warning until tomorrow morning - 1 - 2 feet anticipated.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49
If you have the basics down a one day on snow will do more for you then watching a tape or reading any book.
I totally agree. I am a go-anywhere skiier out here in the East, and just got back from Utah 2 weeks ago, having never EVER skiied deep pow. I spent my entire Thursday at Brighton in "18 doing lap after lap, getting time in, and I can't say that any advice I was given before my trip, nor the video my buddy lent me before I went helped as much as just getting in it and learning! If you are a strong skier and are on a budget, trust me, you'll be able to teach yourself (with a few face plants along the way, hooting and hollering the whole time!). If money is no thing to you, or you are more a blue run/easy black skier, get a lesson. But again, like I said, the "expert advice" I got for the month before I went, and the video I was lent did nothing near the trick compared to just hitting it and making it happen! Good luck, I had the best day of skiing in my life that Thursday!
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Truth is, I'm probably not even an advanced skiier yet. I can do black runs although I wouldn't say I'm graceful doing them by any stretch of the imagination. But, since I'm in Alberta, I should be able to find some powder soon. I just know that I went in some shallow powder the other day (maybe 6-12 inches deep), my skis got caught under the snow and turning was near impossible. That being said, I had very little speed to work with and almost no pitch so I think maybe just getting out there an trying it is the way to go.

In the end, I just wanted to read up on the stuff so that when I get out there, I'm not like "Holy $hIt! What the heck do I do now?? Do I jump? Do I just turn like I normally would on piste?" as I plummet down the mountain at breakneck speeds. lol

As for taking advice from those on this board, if you want to give it, I'll certainly listen. I just didn't want anyone to think I was starting another "powder technique" thread for fear of the dreaded "do a search!!!" comments.

goldsbar, Where is this powder skiing instruction info on this board that you mention? I looked but perhaps not quite hard enough... I'll try again. EDIT: Found it! Thanks!
post #12 of 17
Powder do's & don't:
-Don't try stiff ice carver skis unless you're a really strong skier.
-Don't have really stiff boots
-Don't put more weight on the outside ski
-Don't try to skid your turns
-Don't try to turn more quickly than the snow will let you
-Don't sit back
-Don't just rocket over the snow at mach schnell speeds
-Don't look at the trees, and don't even look just at the gaps between the trees...look beyond the gap between the trees to know which way you need to be ready to turn after you ski through the gap
-Don't ski close to trees...people die every year in tree wells.

-Do ski on soft flexing skis with wide tips & tails. The middle of the ski can be narrow if the snow is no more than 8-12" deep...more than that, fatties are a help.
-Do keep your weight equally on both feet
-Do keep your feet close together...not locked together, but close
-Do loosen your top ski boot buckle and power strap
-Do keep your weight centered...you'll have to constantly readjust to achieve this
-Do use a strong blocking pole plant way downhill to start your turn. Stretch the poleplant way downhill as a way to help tilt your shoulders downhill
-Do always use good carving technique. You want your skis to edge and "bank" through the snow like an airplane banks in a turn, while your body angulates and the shoulders tilt downhill
-Do try a "go slow" contest with your friends. The winner is the skier who skis the slowest with excellent form. This is tough--give it a try. You only need speed to turn if you do not have technique. If you edge your skis in the turn, they turn you, just like a good turn on packed snow.


Ken
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by thejean
I just know that I went in some shallow powder the other day (maybe 6-12 inches deep), my skis got caught under the snow and turning was near impossible. That being said, I had very little speed to work with and almost no pitch so I think maybe just getting out there an trying it is the way to go.
This will seem very counterintuitive, but skiing steep powder (up to a point!) is much easier than skiing flat powder. Once you get the technique down, the steepness almost does the work for you. The powder will control your speed.

Some very easy things to remember that I've read and have worked:

*Feet close(r)
*Hands/poles out wide (the combination of these two = balance)
*Body generally facing downhill
*DONT LEAN BACK
post #14 of 17
I'm an East Coast girl and it took some adjusting to powder. With some practice and a few tips, you’ll be great. I’m going to try to elaborate on some of the advice already given.

Powder creates more resistance than groomed snow or hardpack. It will slow you down, so you do not need to finish your turns as much.

At tighter stance works better in soft, deep snow as this creates one wide platform instead of two narrow ones.

Distributing weight more evenly over both feet will prevent one ski from diving into the deep stuff.

I think about keeping my elbows in front of my ribcage and my hands slightly wider than my elbows. A strong consistent pole plant will stabilize the upper body, create a good rhythm to your turns and help you maintain balance.

Keep your shoulders, torso and hips pointed more or less down the hill and allow your legs to move under you easily.

Keep elasticity in your legs. As terrain changes, allow you body to flex and absorb it, then extend to keep in contact with the snow. This will help you stay in control instead of the terrain bouncing you around. Low visibility has a wonderful way to getting you more in touch with your feet.

Enjoy
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well, everyone, I ended up driving 5 hours to Big Mountain in Whitefish on friday night. On the hill the next morning at 9 am. My buddies took me straight to a treed black run... Hellraisin basin for those of you that know the hill. Powder was about thigh deep. I fell about 10 times in the first 500 feet of that hill. Remembering all of your advice I was nervous as hell in the trees, which severely limited my ability to learn.

Later on we tried a run called Evan's Heaven and while steep, there were nowhere near as many trees. I went for it. I started floating. My skis naturally came up out of the snow (probably because I was riding in the backseat a bit) and I began the "bounce"... not a quick up and down bounce like you see on Warren Miller movies but a "semi-carve, up out of the snow pole plant and jump turn" type of bounce (haha, I just dubbed a new phrase! lol). It was a lot of work but it was some kinda fun! My buddies couldn't believe how I went from a bumbling baffoon to a semi-agressive powder skier one run later (to be honest, neither could I). Next time down was near the end of the day and I was getting tired so I tried carving that run instead of "bouncing and jumping". That was a lot easier and I even went a little slower when intuitively I though I would go faster. It was easy to steer and not get crossed up but you really have to plan your turns ahead of time. I found that the biggest issue is overcoming the fear of the speed and trusting that the turns and powder will slow you down. I even went off a 10' ledge or so and stuck landing without incident. I'm hooked. What a glorious way to ski!!

Thanks folks for all of your tips. While I agree that you do have to "just do it", knowing what you are "supposed" to do in the back of your mind really speeds up the trial and error phase.

JC

EDIT: Now if I could just learn how to ski moguls! :lol:
post #16 of 17
Good on ya, thejean!

Moguls are not that different... you'll get there when you're ready. But, for now, I'd encourage you to work on ingraining your learning.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy
Powder do's & don't:
-Don't try stiff ice carver skis unless you're a really strong skier.
-Don't have really stiff boots
-Don't put more weight on the outside ski
-Don't try to skid your turns
-Don't try to turn more quickly than the snow will let you
-Don't sit back
-Don't just rocket over the snow at mach schnell speeds
-Don't look at the trees, and don't even look just at the gaps between the trees...look beyond the gap between the trees to know which way you need to be ready to turn after you ski through the gap
-Don't ski close to trees...people die every year in tree wells.

-Do ski on soft flexing skis with wide tips & tails. The middle of the ski can be narrow if the snow is no more than 8-12" deep...more than that, fatties are a help.
-Do keep your weight equally on both feet
-Do keep your feet close together...not locked together, but close
-Do loosen your top ski boot buckle and power strap
-Do keep your weight centered...you'll have to constantly readjust to achieve this
-Do use a strong blocking pole plant way downhill to start your turn. Stretch the poleplant way downhill as a way to help tilt your shoulders downhill
-Do always use good carving technique. You want your skis to edge and "bank" through the snow like an airplane banks in a turn, while your body angulates and the shoulders tilt downhill
-Do try a "go slow" contest with your friends. The winner is the skier who skis the slowest with excellent form. This is tough--give it a try. You only need speed to turn if you do not have technique. If you edge your skis in the turn, they turn you, just like a good turn on packed snow.


Ken
Good stuff here...

I would add:

Relax. Seems like most people starting out in powder tend to force things and use too much muscle. Skiing powder is very relaxed, soft and balanced. When I was a kid they told me to think I was skiing on hot potatoes in bare feet... meaning stay light on your feet. Works well in the bumps too.

Good luck and enjoy!

<M
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