Raise your Cool Factor in Powder & Bumps

July 11, 2022
Amy McCarthy portrait
When skiing steep powdery bumps, good skiers will make a lot of good turns and a few not so good turns. When the resistance on your feet changes quickly (i.e. skiing through a pile of deep snow followed by skiing into someone else’s track), the result can mean getting caught in the backseat as the skis run away.

Every skier will occasionally “get caught back” in challenging conditions. The good skiers will know how to quickly recover.

I see some skiers, when they get“ caught back”, going into a traverse to control their speed and then trying to somehow find a rhythm. That is of course until they are again thrown back by the inconsistencies of the snow at which point they will attempt to collect themselves – again!. The end result is a run through the powder and bumps that lacks flow, excitement, fun, and the all important “cool factor”.

When you get caught back in powdery bumps, you need to figure out a way to slow your feet down so you can re center without traversing. One such strategy is to immediately get into the next turn while aiming your skis straight into a big fluffy mogul. This will increase the resistance on your feet, slowing them down, and giving you a chance to get back in balance. If done properly, you can maintain the flow of the run while receiving the highly coveted “face shot”. Now that’s what I call turning a negative into a positive! You’ll want to combine this move with some flexion to absorb some of the impact of the bump so you don’t pull the classic “wheelie”.

Some of the coolest powder/bump runs can look like a series of linked recoveries blended with some wicked face shots. This is great fun! (Both for the skier and the observer) This is what the sport is all about! Have you ever seen someone ski a wicked powder bump run, get a few face shots, maybe toss a couple of “beer cans” and not end up with a huge smile on their face when it’s over?

Me neither.

So…Please don’t look for perfection in imperfect (variable) snow conditions. Expect to get into the back seat occasionally. Just make sure you have a plan and strategy for when it happens. Steering into a huge pile of fresh pow is one such VERY COOL strategy.

That’s it for now.

Keep your eyes open and your mouth closed.

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