Powder Prowess Retract to take the reins Riding powder is all about the amount of pressure, or weight,applied to the board when turning. While most any up-and-down movements will affect the way your boardsinks and floats in deep snow, advanced riders extend and retract their legs for precise control. Powderinherently offers little resistance (or base of support) on which to turn-it either gets pushed aside orcompresses beneath you.
But by extending your legs into a turn and then retracting them as you exit, you cancreate a platform for consistent turning, controlling both the pressure on the board and your speed. As youenter a turn, extend your legs, basically pushing the board against the snow. That push, combined with somespeed, will build pressure against your board’s base, enabling it to bend, bank, and turn. As you increase thepressure, with either a more forceful or more prolonged extension, you will rapidly slow down. At the peakof resistance, before your board burrows in completely and comes to a stop, pull it out of the snow andunweight it by retracting your legs (bring your knees toward your chest). If the timing is right, you’ll beskimming the surface of the snow, free to redirect the board however you like-preferably extending intoanother bottomless turn.
By extending and retracting, you’ll have increased control in the powder. Go for alonger extension and a glory plume, or bring your board up early to keep your speed, just barely dipping intothe powder on each turn. Retracting is more dynamic and difficult than simply sinking into a turn and risingout of it, but it affords you as much pressure as you want, when you want it-regardless of how deep thesnow is. -Kurt Hoy
Kurt is Snowboard Life’s senior editor and rides as much powder as he can get hisgreedy board on.