Scarpa North America Blog

Dancing Through the Deep: How to Ski Powder

Nov. 13th 2014

It’s easy to see why some skiers will go to the ends of the earth for over-the-head powder. Skiing really, really deep powder is in the running for the most fun and sensory-rich experience a person can have: the bounce of skis off the snow; the hiss of the skis slicing through fluff; the kaleidoscope of crystals exploding in your vision. And the best part is that with modern skis, boots and education, this white heaven is accessible to anyone with solid intermediate skills.


When we first stumble onto a truly choker powder day, it’s a bit of a shocker. So what do you do? Nothing really prepares you for deep powder skiing except deep powder skiing, so how do you learn to relax and roll with the rhythm? Like dancing, it’s not that tough. Sure, if you want to rip the most aggressive lines at high speeds it may require world-class athleticism, but most of us are capable of giggling through clouds of snow with little more than a mental shift when the snow gets deep.

Rebecca Selig

Just about every experienced powder skier will tell you that the breakthrough happened in just one day. The story often starts out with some kind of tale of a struggle—maybe losing a ski, or a big crash that gets inches of snow down your long underwear—but then doing one more run, letting go of all expectations, and suddenly feeling the rhythm. And that rhythm, like riding a bike, is something you’ll never forget.

Modern skis are incredibly stable if you let them ride. Modern boots—like the Freedom SL—will hold you in the ideal position. It’s not a fight; it’s a dance. You can study videos, take lessons, and review tips on powder skiing, but when you get out there, and the snow is pouring over your shoulders and obscuring your goggles, none of the best-intentioned technique will help if you don’t relax and get into the music.

Yes, you should listen to the instructors, guides, coaches and your ski buddy, but in between, do some things that are just plain fun. Bounce, shake that thing, fall down, make snow angels, zip up your hood and summersault through the powder, eat snow off tree branches, do a little Michael Jackson with your shoulders, forget about your boots and poles for a little bit—just ski. And always remember to stop and look around at the incredible scenery.

We’ve seen really good hard-pack skiers struggle in the deep powder, as well as timid hard-pack skiers rip some rowdy lines when they crank up the fun-o-meter in the pow.

So next time you’re on the dance floor, think about skiing—and next time you’re skiing, think about the dance floor. You don’t have to be a great dancer to ski well, but you have to dance if you want to get it on at the disco of the deep. Shake your booty in the deep stuff!

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