Riding Powder: Weight on, weight off

At a glance, experienced snowboarders make powder-riding appear effortless, but thegraceful sinking and rising motion that makes it look so easy requires a certain technique. In deep powder,where edges are ineffective, fluid riding depends on the amount of pressure, or weight, applied to yourboard.

This pressure constantly changes as you move through deep snow. Smooth riders adjust to thechanging pressure- naturally feeling and adapting to the terrain under their boards. A rider’s best means ofadjusting pressure in the powder is by flexing downward at the ankles and knees while entering a turn, andextending the lower body out of it. At the top of the extension, the board will be light (unweighted) and easyto steer into the next turn.

These movements will cause the board to porpoise naturally through the snow andcreate rhythm. It’s rhythm and timing that set riders apart in the powder-some of it comes with experience,but some through technique. Because a snowboard essentially becomes a plow when turning inpowder-building up a pile of snow and resistance (pressure) beneath it-the board must be released from theturn earlier than if you were on hardpack or it will stop dead. End turns early-releasing the board from thesnow and allowing it to rise to the top and plane-by focusing on your upward extension more than thedownward flex.

This will let the board skim the surface of the snow and drift across the hill, building speedbefore being buried again in the next turn. Riding powder is not inherently effortless, but it can become easierby flexing down into a turn, and rising strongly out of it.

-K.H.