Powder Principles: Law 5-Pressure


The ability to add and release pressure to your skis is essential in any powder concoction. Rather than extending and releasing, newcomers often bounce up and down when starting out. "That's OK," says Junior, "as long as you're on flat terrain. Bouncing leads to unweighting, which is the ultimate goal."

But there's another way to unweight besides coming up. "Lower yourself to plant the pole (A), extend to be light (B), and turn the skis while they are unweighted (C). I call it 'down unweighting,'" says Junior.

"It works in all kinds of powder." Swing the pole forward to plant it (D), quickly lower your hips and pull your legs upward (E), then change direction (F).

"If you unweight," Junior says, "you're likely to get more rebound from the snow than you want. That threatens balance. In advanced powder skiing, there's almost no up and down. Stay at the same level and let extension work for you."

Check out Steve's technique below. First he reaches to the side with his legs to let pressure build beneath his skis (G). Then he releases pressure by sucking his feet up (H). Then he reaches out to the other side to let pressure build again (I).

"It's all about conservation of energy," Junior concludes. "Finesse the edge to replace radical unweighting. It all happens in the lower body."