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How to ski Powder? Please Post your tips and suggestions! - Page 2

post #31 of 267

4estr.... got tired of reading but 4ster hit the nail on the head with one coment. weight almost equal on both skis. Then it doesent matter if it east (cement) or western fluf most fall from the light ski getting cought behind you. Happy pinwheel.

post #32 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

OK, in all seriousness... There is one key thing I'd like the instructor crew to address. As Josh noted, "old" technique works well enough with powder oriented rockered skis. Mostly, at least. However, that technique is really demanding and vastly more time consuming to learn vs the more "neutral" easier approach to using newer rockered designs. Likewise, there are turn styles and shapes that are simple on a more modern ski, but virtually impossible on older school skis. Yet almost no high level instructors seem to have spent any real time on the newer designs. So where does that leave someone looking for powder lessons or coaching? Why would they want to spend a week of falling, sweating, burning thighs, etc, getting to play in powder vs maybe 3-4 hours to accomplish the "same" on newer designs?

 

I'm really not looking to pick a fight. It is something that has really troubled me the past couple seasons wrt to powder and off piste lessons. And has caused me to keep a ton of money in my pocket vs paying for lessons (did one carefully selected private last year).

 

Well, I can't speak for anyone else but one of the first hurdles in any advanced lesson is to get the student on appropriate equipment.  Especially in a powder lesson I want my students on wide, modern powder skis.  I have gone as far as convincing the rental shop to set up my private lesson students on demo skis as part of the lesson when appropriate.   I don't quite get the idea that there are "different turn styles & shapes" on rockered designs.  The basics of physics & bio-mechanics are the same no matter what you are on.  I own a pair of early rise, +100mm waisted powder skis & find them a joy to ski on on the right days.  I don't have any problem skiing anything that my big mountain, full rocker bro brah buddies do & they are often waiting for me.

 

Most of the people I actually ski with on big powder days are on Kuros, S7's & Megawatts.  The guys on the Kuro's are not real happy with the rockered tail but they aren't rich & are kinda stuck with it for now.  These guys were on fatties when everyone else was laughing.  My brother, who we've discovered you know, was one of the first guys to turn the euros onto RD Heli-dogs 2 decades ago.

 

I do agree with some of what you say though.  Not enough instructors are out on the new technology.  Up to this point it hasn't really been a problem as most of the folks who take lessons haven't been on that equipment either.  I believe that is about to change, and look forward to the progression.  I do see more & more instructors getting on board with the new shapes, so this is a step in the right direction.  I am guilty myself, but plan to get on some more designs this season as time & conditions permit.

 

Personally, I jumped on board when the first Elan SCX supershapes showed up, & was an advocate to get the rest of the world on board.  Most people aren't fortunate enough to ski powder very often & when the opportunity comes to actually teach a lesson in the powder, I think most instructors would agree that it is a huge advantage to be on the correct equipment.  With that said, the truth is that people learn good ski technique on the groomers first.  It is a progression, people who have good coaching in any sport get to a higher level faster.

 

I am sorry that you have a disillusioned perception of the ski instructor world, you are not the only one.  Just go look at the PMTS forum.  At the same time try talking to any of the people on this forum who have been to an Epicski academy.

 

http://vimeo.com/3583102

 

JF

 

Edit:  I don't think ski instructors have a problem with rocker in all its forms.  They are more concerned that students show up at ski school with appropriate equipment.  It is my belief that the "carved turn" is the basis of good ski technique.  Once you have that down on carving skis, the possibilities are endless, & technique can be easily adapted to different conditions & equipment choices,


Edited by 4ster - 10/7/10 at 11:53am
post #33 of 267

I can't speak for all instructors at all resorts, but I can say that it isn't too hard to find instructors who know how to ski powder or use the new ski shapes if you go to an area where natural snow is not an uncommon occurrence.  IMO an area like Jackson or Snowbird has instructors who are used to skiing a big mountain in variable conditions.  These instructors are going to use what works the best for what they do and they are going to know how it works.  IMO a lot of the really fat skis and fun shapes are used as crutches by skiers who lack basic skills.  That being said I will be on a pair of S7s this year along with my Gotomas, Jet Fuels, and Contact Limited.  The basic skills make the newer skis work even better and there's nothing wrong with taking the easier road.  Skiing is supposed to be fun and most recreational skiers don't have the time or desire to perfect their basic skills to the point where they can ski deep variable snow on some stiff skinny ski.  A lot of those that can choose not to anyway.  A great big ski with a fun shape will support a skier in deep snow and tolerate a lot of unbalanced movement.  IMO that's why they seem so easy compared to more traditional designs.  Take that same big ski and give it the proper inputs and WOW is it fun and rewarding.  If you want a lesson on how to ski variable snow on a modern ski then go to a place that gets a lot of snow fall where the instructional staff naturally has experience with these things and knows how to do it.  Make no mistake....  Powder is variable snow as it get tracked out very quickly and becomes piles and crud.  Even untracked powder often is wind affected and variable within a single line.  

post #34 of 267

The best way to ski powder is to go skiing either during or right after a snow storm.

 

Seriously , flail around in it a few times and you will get it.  Fat skis make it easier but are not necessary.

post #35 of 267
Thread Starter 
Quote:

 

Powder cords; there have been a few mentions of looking for equipment, and these make it a lot easier.  I use 12' lengths of black parachute cord attached to a binding or brake, and tuck them up my pant leg under the snow cuff.  It is cheap, easy to find, and you never know when you will need a rope.

 


So, let's say I am having a big crash after I lost control and gain some speed, by skiis disconnected, but still attached to my leg.. Does that mean they will hit me on the head as I am rolling down the hill? Do you attach those to you or you tuck them in just so they cam come out when needed.?

post #36 of 267

^Power cords?

 

They are attached to the ski, but not to you.  The cords are just tucked up loosely into your pant leg.  Bright surveyors tape can work in a pinch.

 

In the days before ski brakes, safety straps were what everyone used, & windmilling whacks in the head were not uncommon.

 

JF

post #37 of 267

First, the water skiing analogy;  one day while skiing magnificently on my Majas I stepped off to barefoot ski and went a good 30 feet - STRAIGHT DOWN !  Sort of like falling into 3 feet of powder with your mouth open (done that too).

 

I am not YET a really good powder skier but am moving that way now for 4 years.  Bushwacker/Volantaddict have good philosophies and there are a lot of great tips.  Here are the 2 that I have found are really important.

 

 

Do Not rotate the upper body.  (head, shoulders, chest, stomach).  This bad habit will throw your ass into the snow and will at the same time (if you don't fall) make it really hard to start your next turn.

 

Swing your poles, continuously, never get static (notice I didn't necessarily say Plant you poles but swing your poles)(Scotty Schuler  ESA coach)

 

Those two items were the most important but try to do the others too but I have found that you can Mess Up some technique but NOT the upper body rotation.

 

AND by all means smiles, hoop it up and have fun.

post #38 of 267

Best way to ski powder: Balls-out, fast GS turns (don't forget to smile !).

post #39 of 267

Well, Artemat, we all hope you're correct with regard to snowfall.

 

You've gotten a lot of good advice here.

 

Bob Barnes' words are particularly relevant.

 

If your skiing involves upper body rotation and heel pushing, powder will seem evil. If you sit back, powder will seem evil.

 

Learn to turn by tipping your feet, with minimal twisting to steer. This well-known carving principle works even if your skis are under three feet of snow.

 

Ski with more equal pressure on both feet than you would on the hardpack. It doesn't have to be exactly the same, but you don't want one ski coming to the surface while the other heads to the depths.

 

Stand in the middle of your skis. On most skis, sitting back will be a bit like engaging the skeg on a water ski, and your skis will be reluctant to turn. Yes, I know water skis turn, but the radius is generally pretty large, the mechanics, while similar in some ways, are somewhat different, and there are no trees.

 

Narrower, conventionally cambered skis can be a lot of fun in deep snow, but they can be very demanding as well. Big powder skis are more tolerant of balance inaccuracies and less precise technique.

 

Initially, keep it simple, as described by Bob. Porpoising or bouncing will add a great deal of fun and versatility to your powder skiing, but it can seem complicated and difficult when you're just starting. You may also tend to attempt to perform it far too abruptly at first. You can do your first few turns without bouncing. Bouncing gets easier (and, surprisingly, slower) with confidence and speed.

 

Develop a little speed on a moderate slope, tip both of your feet, and allow the turn to happen. At first, it will be a long turn, but it will happen, and you can start to feel the forces that will ultimately allow you to tip the skis farther and execute tighter turns.

 

As your speed and confidence increase, you can start to feel the skis float. They lift off the hard surface under the powder and they don't sink back down to it immediately. As your skis start to float, you can retract your feet a bit to allow the skis to float even higher in the snow pack. Then you can gently extend your legs to ride the skis back down into denser snow. You have performed your first slow-motion bounce.

 

I won't say that you can't bounce by up-unweighting, but IMHO it's easier to let the snow do the work of pushing just your feet and skis (rather than your whole body) up into the top of the snowpack. Hence the retraction.

 

Once you've done some long turns to learn how it feels to turn with your skis under the surface, and once you've done a few bounces, you can add just a little steering when your skis are close to the surface. Be gentle. It will allow you to tighten your turn radius a bit, but too much and you'll tend to go over the handlebars.

 

Now, of course, if you're on some purpose-built reverse-reverse fatties, you can forget all this and twist to your heart's content. It's fun and you'll have a great time. If it gets so deep that even the big skis don't want to come anywhere near the surface at the speed you're going (go fast enough, and they'll surface, but maybe you don't want to do that), you can still tip 'em and the reverse camber will cut a beautiful carve for you deep in the snow.

 

The hardest part about learning to ski powder is finding it and getting in some mileage (kilometerage in Canada).

post #40 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post

Well, Artemat, we all hope you're correct with regard to snowfall.

 

You've gotten a lot of good advice here.

 

Bob Barnes' words are particularly relevant.

 

If your skiing involves upper body rotation and heel pushing, powder will seem evil. If you sit back, powder will seem evil.

 

Learn to turn by tipping your feet, with minimal twisting to steer. This well-known carving principle works even if your skis are under three feet of snow.

 

Ski with more equal pressure on both feet than you would on the hardpack. It doesn't have to be exactly the same, but you don't want one ski coming to the surface while the other heads to the depths.

 

Stand in the middle of your skis. On most skis, sitting back will be a bit like engaging the skeg on a water ski, and your skis will be reluctant to turn. Yes, I know water skis turn, but the radius is generally pretty large, the mechanics, while similar in some ways, are somewhat different, and there are no trees.

 

Narrower, conventionally cambered skis can be a lot of fun in deep snow, but they can be very demanding as well. Big powder skis are more tolerant of balance inaccuracies and less precise technique.

 

Initially, keep it simple, as described by Bob. Porpoising or bouncing will add a great deal of fun and versatility to your powder skiing, but it can seem complicated and difficult when you're just starting. You may also tend to attempt to perform it far too abruptly at first. You can do your first few turns without bouncing. Bouncing gets easier (and, surprisingly, slower) with confidence and speed.

 

Develop a little speed on a moderate slope, tip both of your feet, and allow the turn to happen. At first, it will be a long turn, but it will happen, and you can start to feel the forces that will ultimately allow you to tip the skis farther and execute tighter turns.

 

As your speed and confidence increase, you can start to feel the skis float. They lift off the hard surface under the powder and they don't sink back down to it immediately. As your skis start to float, you can retract your feet a bit to allow the skis to float even higher in the snow pack. Then you can gently extend your legs to ride the skis back down into denser snow. You have performed your first slow-motion bounce.

 

I won't say that you can't bounce by up-unweighting, but IMHO it's easier to let the snow do the work of pushing just your feet and skis (rather than your whole body) up into the top of the snowpack. Hence the retraction.

 

Once you've done some long turns to learn how it feels to turn with your skis under the surface, and once you've done a few bounces, you can add just a little steering when your skis are close to the surface. Be gentle. It will allow you to tighten your turn radius a bit, but too much and you'll tend to go over the handlebars.

 

Now, of course, if you're on some purpose-built reverse-reverse fatties, you can forget all this and twist to your heart's content. It's fun and you'll have a great time. If it gets so deep that even the big skis don't want to come anywhere near the surface at the speed you're going (go fast enough, and they'll surface, but maybe you don't want to do that), you can still tip 'em and the reverse camber will cut a beautiful carve for you deep in the snow.

 

The hardest part about learning to ski powder is finding it and getting in some mileage (kilometerage in Canada).



Nice description.    Can I watch you ski and get some tips this winter ?  Be real happy to attempt to follow you around at Whitewater.

post #41 of 267

Something I would add to my original post is "patience".  When skiing really deep snow, think of making all your movements in slow motion & patiently wait for your skis & the snow to react.

JF

post #42 of 267

I like this one a lot.  Some of the other tips are very good as well.  Jhcooley covered most of it pretty well.  Of course milage in powder will do more in the end than even the best internet tip list.  Patience is one of my favorites because it is, to me, a very basic skill tip that works for shaped turns in any condition whether carving or shmearing, in powder or on hardpack.  I see a lot of people struggle in powder because they overturn and try to scrub too much speed.  Powder and 3D snow slow you down more than most groomed skiers realize.  Conservation of momentum and maintaining a more or less constant speed is very helpful.  Speeding up and slowing down add an extra challenge to your fore/aft balance and make it harder to maintain a centered balanced stance.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post

Something I would add to my original post is "patience".  When skiing really deep snow, think of making all your movements in slow motion & patiently wait for your skis & the snow to react.

JF

post #43 of 267

Love that Pow Pow!

 

Learn how to get back into your seat so that way your tips don't sink. On the other hand do not forget to update your gear. The New Rocker designs help you ski powder without having to sit back so much. You can get out there and charge that pow without your tips sinking in.

post #44 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powder7 View Post

Love that Pow Pow!

 

Learn how to get back into your seat so that way your tips don't sink. On the other hand do not forget to update your gear. The New Rocker designs help you ski powder without having to sit back so much. You can get out there and charge that pow without your tips sinking in.



all I can hope is that people follow your technique advice.  you could accomplish some real nice damage, reduce the crowds.

post #45 of 267

Quote:

Originally Posted by 4ster View Post

  These guys were on fatties when everyone else was laughing.  My brother, who we've discovered you know, was one of the first guys to turn the euros onto RD Heli-dogs 2 decades ago.

 

 

<requisite heli + profession joke redacted...>

 

This is hard to condense, but here goes.

 

You guys seem enthusiastic about playing  with & evaluating new stuff.  I do not think that is typical in teaching land. I'd love to be convinced I am wrong. However, here's what I see wrt this topic...

 

Conventional cambered skis are optimized for hard/firm snow. Skiing them in powder requires defeating the very core of the ski's design. You guys probably learned to do this so long ago that this is second nature. But it is not. It takes a ton of skill.  It involves unnatural bouncing to decamber skis. It involves two footed balance and sometimes "pedaling" with a degree of subtlety that is just plain hard without a ton of practice. (Since I started skiing in my forties, the pain of this is relatively fresh in my mind.)

 

Modern fatter  rockered skis naturally play well in powder & slush. Sure they do better with "better" technique. But they do not demand difficult and subtle, yet wholly extraneous, technique. 

 

How many powder days does the average skier see in a year? One? Two? Maybe three at the very outside?  Why condemn them to perhaps a few years worth of wasted powder days? Time and again I see students struggling while trying to ski powder. It just does not have to be that way  - because much of "powder skiing" as typically taught today has nothing to do with powder. 

 

My impression is that many of the instructors here, including some involved in ESA, have expressed extreme skepticism about fatter skis in general  and rockered ones in particular. Powder and slush use included. They seem to express a belief hat "the basics" have to come first - without distinguishing which "basics" are truly fundamental and which are, in soft snow,  mere artifacts of increasingly dated equipment.  

 

Am I missing something? How many instructors here have spent much time on meaningfully rockered skis? How many have taught students to ski powder on them? How many have proactively put students on them? How many have pro-actively thought about how to teach on this kind of equipment? I'm guessing very few... In contrast, how many, in say the past year, have taught an off piste or powder lesson  to students on "midfats" or  on what SJ would call "crazy 88s"?

 

The instructional world has an important role to play in the ski industry. And I have a level of respect for it that may not come through due to disagreement on this particular issue. I just wish the teaching world would get ahead of this curve - both with respect to powder skiing and use of rockered ski deigns in general.


Edited by spindrift - 10/10/10 at 4:26pm
post #46 of 267

Edited by slider - 1/30/11 at 4:00pm
post #47 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

 

The instructional world has an important role to play in the ski industry. And I have a level of respect for it that may not come through due to disagreement on this particular issue. I just wish the teaching world would get ahead of this curve - both with respect to powder skiing and use of rockered ski deigns in general.


You & me both.  It does take some time for the trickle down effect to work.  When I moved to Utah in the 2001 ski season, I was appalled at how many instructors were still on straight skis.

 

The latest issue of 32 Degrees, (the national publication for the PSIA) has dedicated a good part of this issue to Rockers, so hopefully they are on the right track.  It is the same with Park & Pipe, IMO, PSIA has been slow to jump on board, but they have made inroads in that direction.

 

JF

post #48 of 267

I really think that the number of resorts that get enough powder on a regular basis to require dedicated powder lessons with specific equipment is relatively low.  At the resorts that have the terrain and the snowfall to warrant it, I'm sure that instructors can be found that have the experience that seems to be demanded in this thread.  For example you could go to Stowe and ski with Bushwacker or come to Jackson and ski with me on my S7s.  Part of the problem is that if the instructor is on equipment that is too different from what their students are on the demos lose effectiveness, as some of the movement patterns are different on rockers vs. traditional skis even if the skills are basically the same.  I think there are instructors out there at big mountain resorts that are all over the new ski design.  Lots of our top people also guide in AK for example.  IMO one of the worst paths this could take is to get PSIA directly involved and producing a curriculum on how to officially ski on rockers and how to handle big mountain conditions.  If they do there will no doubt be a pin or something that can be worn on your jacket that says that you took some clinic somewhere one time.  You will see these pins pop up all over the midwest and small hills in PA and the SE.  Will it have any meaning at that point or will it fuel more PSIA bashing after a lesson from someone with a pin who didn't know WTF they were talking about.  My point is that good instructors are skiers first and will gravitate naturally towards the best equipment for what they do where they are.  Getting some freshly minted instructor parroting the dogma from some clinic is not what, I think, the ski school client base is calling for.  I teach powder lessons when we have powder, to the people that show up.  If they bring rockers, that's cool.  If they bring mid-fats I'll teach to that.  If they want fatter rocketed skis I'll try and get them on some free demos.  If they go for the free demos I warn them first, because a lot of my students buy skis after those demos...  This is why I can hook them up.  The shop is not altruistic or stupid.  Big, fat, rocketed skis are a fun tool that does make it easier to ski in variable 3D snow.  They are easier because they forgive funky technique.  They also reward good technique.  Good technique is good technique on any ski and a skier with good technique is not going to have many problems on the newer equipment and will make minor adjustments almost automatically.  Someone lacking technique will get away with a lot of stuff and have a ton of fun.  Nothings wrong with that.  Skiing is supposed to be fun.  If I had a good job and some disposable income, I would definitely take advantage of any piece of technology or methodology to get the most out of my limited vacation time, especially on a powder day.

 

BTW....  I hope no one is taking the advise put out by Powder7. 

post #49 of 267

Best resort to learn to ski powder is...?

post #50 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

Best resort to learn to ski powder is...?



In the US, it's Grand Targhee.

 

Hands down.  End of story.

post #51 of 267

Yup, that's what I would've thought too. In fact I've been thinking about taking family there one day and getting Mrs Prickly more into powder. Pow Mow might be another good one.

post #52 of 267

Good post TPJ, especially the part about being on the same equipment as your clients.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

In the US, it's Grand Targhee.

 

Hands down.  End of story.


I won't argue with Targhee, & Pow Mow is probably pretty good too with lots of low angle, un-tracked open spaces.  What about Alta?

 

JF

post #53 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post





scotmar16.jpg
 


 



Is that the picture for not having to sit back on rockers or the tip dive on cambered or the sit back on cambered? It's hard to tell. Just for fun, deducting from what little we can see taking the angle of the trees to the plane of the snow looks like about 25 degrees, max. The right arm has given up position and looks to be on its way back as the left comes forward. The hand going back will probably put you in the back seat, as per your advice. Overall the picture shows slight turns in a mellow glade (see track behind). Looks like fun in great snow, but I don't see any powder technique involved, as per this thread.

post #54 of 267

Little or Big Cottonwood for the amount of snow and density (or lack of moisture).  Lots of slope with just the right pitch to learn on whether riding skinny pop up skis or fat slarvers.

post #55 of 267



Absolutely.  Pray for La Nina to be kind out west.  Any powder predictions about what areas will be covered most consistently this winter in Western North America with a colder Pacific? 

 

If I was learning today.  I would want to be on Fats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post

The best way to ski powder is to go skiing either during or right after a snow storm.

 

Seriously , flail around in it a few times and you will get it.  Fat skis make it easier but are not necessary.

post #56 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post


I won't argue with Targhee, & Pow Mow is probably pretty good too with lots of low angle, un-tracked open spaces.  What about Alta?

 

JF


If our hypothetical powder-neophyte can learn to ski powder in the approximately 1.75 hours it takes for almost all of Alta to be tracked out on a new-snow morning, then certainly Alta would be a great destination.

 

I do agree on Powder Mountain, by the way.

post #57 of 267

Beaver near logan is pretty decent for untracked pow skiing. Similar to powmow but samller and even fewer people. Just my $.02.

post #58 of 267

 

Quote:

How to ski Powder? Please Post your tips and suggestions!

 

 

I'm still waiting for someone to post a photo of their "tips" sticking out in front of a white blurry cloud.

post #59 of 267

When the snow is fresh at Beaver for sure.  If it has been a few weeks it can be icy for Utah.  The Ogden spots are winner too.  I am Utahhh biased.

post #60 of 267

How to ski Powder? Please Post your tips


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

 

 

 

I'm still waiting for someone to post a photo of their "tips" sticking out in front of a white blurry cloud.


Like this!

Check out the tips

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