Tag Archives: skidded

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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How to Snowboard Fresh Powder: Skidded Turns

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My favorite part about snowboarding will always be riding fresh powder. The perfect amount of powder is around 7″ to 20″, because if you get anymore it becomes harder to get out of the powder when you fall down or hit a flat surface. Any less and it’s basically like hitting a groomed run.

Riding powder may seem simple after learning the 8 step of snowboarding, but the techniques you use are completely different. They actually make snowboards specifically designed for riding powder. It really is that amazing, imagine yourself riding on fluffy clouds and that’s the feeling you get riding powder. This doesn’t mean you need go out and buy another snowboard for hitting powder. You can hit powder with just about any snowboard, but you will have to lean back to prevent your front tip from sinking into the fresh snow.

When hitting groomed runs you typically keep you weight equally distributed between both feet. When you start hitting powder, you will distribute around 70% of your weight to your back foot. You can practice this feeling by strapping in at the bottom of the hill and then applying all your weight to your back leg. You will also be using a new type of turn when riding powder, the type of snowboard turn you will use to ride powder are skidded turns.

Skidded turns are used to slow your momentum. You basically make a toe turn and turn your board sideways, so that your board skids down the slope. Then you quickly slide your board into  a heel turn and turn your board sideways. Make these toe turns and heel turns to slow your momentum slightly, you should be able to do these skidded rather quickly. As you practice these, reduce the amount of time between board slides. When your hitting powder with skidded turns, keep your legs bouncy. Don’t try to carve into the snow like groomed runs, instead gently shift your feet and tip your board slightly on it’s edge. You want to glide more on powder and do less carving. It’s basically like going down a groomed run in slow motion, make all the motions subtle.

Never slow down in powder. You always want to keep your momentum up. Remember that when you fall in powder you simply fall on fluffy snow, not some hard compact ice. It’s okay to go faster on powder because you won’t hurt as bad when you fall. Some people even find it fun to pick up speed and throw themselves into the powder. Snowboarding in deep powder will greatly reduce your speed, so when you go down the steep part of the mountain you want to pick up momentum enough momemtum to get you across flat surfaces. If you don’t make across the flat surface. A good technique is to unstrap your boots from your board and lay your body flat on the snowboard. Then pretend like your surfing along the top of the powder. Push yourself across the flat surface. GO SLOW, if you pick up speed doing this technique you could send your board flying down the mountain.  As you approach a flat surface, lean back, and let your board simply straight glide across the flat surface. Remember to keep you knees light and take wider skidded turns on steep slopes filled with powder to slow your momentum. Once you get the hang of riding powder, you’ll want to make sure you get up early when a snow storm hits the mountain, so you can make first tracks in the snow.

The video below brought to you by the SnowProfessor will show you how to hit fresh powder with skidded turns!

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