Learn to snowboard in powder.
A snow storm is probably the best snowboarding you’ll ever get. While die-hards quiver with excitement looking at the snow report, many snowboarders don’t know how to tackle powder. In this episode we cover tips and techniques so you can make the most of powder days.
Improve powder riding by changing your snowboard bindings
You can improve your powder riding by making simple adjustments to your equipment. If you have an all mountain or park snowboard, consider setting your stance back 1-3 inches from center to help keep your tip up. Serious powder riders can set the bindings back as far as the inserts allow. If you have a powder specific snowboard, you’re ready to hit first chair.
Practice sitting back
On a powder board, you can float without having to sit back. For everyone else, you’ll need to lean back slightly in powder to keep your tip up. Sit back too little and you risk burying your tip and crashing. Too much and you’ll be slow to react and get tired faster.
Instead of being equal, you should have about 60-70% of your weight on your back leg. Think of the subtle way you shift your weight when standing. You don’t want to do a manual here, just put more pressure over your back leg. Practice this at the bottom of the hill. You’ll notice that your back leg will get a little tired.
Practice powder turns
On groomed snow you can make any number of turns: carved, skidded and basic. You’re options are limitless. In powder, you’ll want to use skidded turns that are dynamic.
Practice these turns on a steep groomed run (steep terrain will make it easier to be dynamic). Stay bouncy with your legs and keep your snowboard pretty flat to the snow. You don’t want to dig in and carve powder, just subtly tip your snowboard to surf your turns.
Keep movements subtle
Your motions should be very subtle. Since your snowboard will be floating across several inches of billowy snow, you‘ll feel like you’re in slow motion. When you push down, soft powder won’t hold you up. While you can quickly dig in your edges on packed snow, you’ll sink if you try in powder. Motions should be subtle to avoid burying your snowboard with abrupt reactions.
Maintain speed in powder
Though movements should be slow, you want to keep your speed up. Deep powder will slow you down so make bigger turns to maintain your speed. Going fast will make deep snow easier because the added momentum will help you float and maneuver your snowboard. If you’re too slow, you’ll sink down and have to dig yourself out.
Be dynamic and bouncy
To stay bouncy, imagine lifting your feet to your chest between turns. The snow can hide obstacles so look ahead and keep your knees soft. Soft legs will help you absorb and recover from any bumps. Although they say, “no friends on a powder day,” it’s safer to ride with a buddy.
If you feel like you’re floating or surfing, you’re doing it right. If it’s the best day of snowboarding you’ve ever had even though your back leg is super tired, you’re doing it right. If you start saying things like, “wooo!” while turning and high-five strangers in the lift-line, you’re doing it right.
Related videos: Introduction to dynamic riding