Families begin the day heli skiing Canada together, but kids can return to the lodge when they tire to participate in fun, supervised, indoor and outdoor activities.When it comes to skiing, so many people are intimidated by the soft and fluffy. It may be a fear of falling and not being able to get up, it may be a fear of twisting a knee, or it may just be a fear of failure and or embarrassment. Whatever the fear is, there is path to conquer it. If you permit your fears to deny you the pleasure of powder skiing, it’s time to move them over and allow the blissful, sweet powder to lightly puff into your face and experience a new sensation that you will find no where else.
The number one thing you can do to make powder skiing easier, is to take a lesson! There is nothing better than having a professional correct your stance and balance, and build up your confidence gradually, preparing you for steeper and deeper powder days. The second thing you can do for yourself is invest in a good pair of powder skis. They are wide and shaped differently then on-piste skis, they are designed specifically to make powder skiing easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
So let’s address the aforementioned fears:
#1. Fear or falling (and not being able to get up)
First problem solver – always ski with a buddy. Not only is it much safer, it’s way more fun! Your buddy can help you get up if you are stuck, or better yet, take a picture to laugh at later.
Getting up in the powder starts just like getting up from any other fall, first, get your skis below you and together. Step two is to stand up (not an easy feat at the best of times). To make it a bit easier, take your poles, put them together and use them as a brace to push yourself up. If you lose your skis, create a platform in the snow, level and flat, oriented across the slope for which to put your skis back on.
If the fear is still preventing you from skiing powder – go take a few intentional falls in not-so deep powder just off the piste, and practice.
#2. Fear of knee injury
A common skiing injury, and a very real fear on heavy or wet powder days. In difficult conditions the snow has a way of grabbing at your skis, trying to separate them. In these instances, choose a wide ski, with a reverse camber (boat shaped) to allow more floatation on top of the snow. Then, take a narrower stance, bringing the feet slightly closer together than your on-piste skiing to create a platform from which both legs operate simultaneously. Getting your feet working together prevents the pull and split from independent action.
One of the best things you can learn for powder skiing is how to allow the snow to create pressure in the turn (as opposed to the arc of your skis, as what happens on a groomed run). The idea is that you “bounce” through the powder, sinking at the end of the turn and “popping up” immediately for the start of the next. This “popping up” out of the snow, allows us to turn the skis easier, and can only be done once you have simultaneous leg action.
#3. Fear of Failure (and/or embarrassment)
This happens in every sport at every level at every age. Each one of us is different physiologically, psychologically and emotionally, and we cannot all preform at the same level, at the same time, in the same manner on the same day. It’s a fact.
Be gentle with yourself, and enjoy the small gains. It may not be tomorrow, but if you don’t try today, it may never happen.