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!
Final Note: Check back here, where I’ll teach you more about snowboarding!