Snowboarding in powder can be one of the most enjoyable experiences there is. So we spoke to Alyn Nash, lead snowboard trainer on the SnowSkool Big White course, to get some tips and tricks help you (and us) enjoy those endless days of glorious powder…
Tip 1: Stance – Get Back on the Board
If it is one of those days that we all long for, then, before you rush to the hill, it’s worth spending the time to set the stance back an inch or so on your board.
This will typically give you a longer nose and a shorter tail (we are talking about the board here), by putting your weight to the back of the board and helping its nose to rise out of the powder.
Tip 2: Turns – Open don’t Close
Powder tends to slow a snowboarder down so a really simple technique that you can use to maintain momentum, is to change the shape of your turns.
The speediest type of turn to use is an open turn (where the board doesn’t go fully across the fall line) instead of closed turns - where the board goes across the fall line in each turn and slows you down.
Tip 3: Weight distribution – Shift the Hips
A common technique that has been around for years is to shift the hips towards the tail of the board to put more your weight on the back foot - this helps to raise the nose of the board out of the powder.
This definitely works but there are a couple of disadvantages to remember: shifting back can mean that the back leg tires quite quickly (the burn) so you might not be able to enjoy riding all day - and it can compromise your ability to adapt to the continually changing terrain.
A good tip then, but not be used to excess.
Tip 4: Board selection – Specialist Setups
Over the years there have been loads of developments in board shapes and cambers, all of which have their pros and cons.
If you are going on a trip where you are ‘guaranteed’ some powder days then it is worth considering a specialist powder board or one that has a rising nose and tail (this could be a full rocker or a hybrid). Again this helps to keep the board’s nose from submarining under the powder and slowing you down.
Tip 5: Edging – Snowboard like a Surfer
We can use our edges to help keep our speed under control but using a too aggressive edge-angle in powder can cause the board’s nose to sink - losing speed and potentially causing you to send your own nose into the lovely powder.
When riding powder try to think of riding with less edge angle - with a flatter base to help keep the board on top of the snow. Some people liken this technique and sensation to surfing.
Now that the technical stuff’s out of the way - the best tip is to get out there EARLY…riding powder is the best, get up, get the first lift and ride all day.
For more information on the SnowSkool Big White snowboard instructor course: http://www.snowskool.com/snowboard-instructor-courses/big-white/11-weeks