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Snowboarding: Slush

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It’s important to remember that you won’t be riding with perfect snow conditions every time you head up to the mountain. There will be times of fresh powder, hard ice, and slush. You need to prepare yourself for riding in any kind of weather, because each snow condition feels different and requires different techniques.

When you happen to hit a slushy part of the run, it’s easy to catch an edge. You’ll be carving down the mountain like normal, and then suddenly your board will slide out in a weird direction. If this has happened to you before, then you probably hit some slush. This happens because the soft snow makes your edge dig in deeper, so when you sink deeper into the snow your snow boot has  a higher chance of coming in contact with the snow. In order to prevent this, you want to keep your eyes peeled for parts of the run that might be slushy. You can spot slushy spots by looking for loose snow that has a clear smokey look. If you happen to go across a slushy spot, you want to keep your edge angle low and dig in less. I recommend trying to straight glide across it and look for the nearest groomed terrain.

On warm days the whole mountain can be filled with soft, slushy snow. If this happens you can use skidded turns to ride your way down the mountain. I’ve seen experienced riders wipe out at the end of runs because they weren’t aware of the slush in front of them. Use this as a reminder to take it slow at the bottom of  runs near the lift entrance, because this is wear it tends to get slushy. At the bottom of runs, riders tend to put on the brakes to enter the slow zone for the lift, so the snow loosens up rather quickly and turns to slush.

The snow tends to soften up and turn to slush during the afternoon as well, because this is when the sun is at full strength. The hot sun will loosen up the snow and it will turn to slush. The snow may be nice and compact during the morning, but during the afternoon it may get soft and slushy. With the right techniques and awareness you’ll stay on your feet and won’t look silly falling from the slush in front of everybody at the lift.

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