Powder Principles


As a kid, Steve Bounous raced NASTAR against his father, Junior Bounous, for milkshakes. He lost every time until he was 16, the same year he became U.S. National Junior Slalom Champion. He went on to become a skiing All-American at the University of Utah, then had a successful World Cup and professional racing career. Along the way, he and his wife, Sue, won the New Zealand Powder 8 Championships. At 39, Steve is now director and head coach of the Snowbird Ski Team. In the complimentary but understated parlance of elite skiers, Steve knows how to “turn ’em both ways.”

His tracks have mirrored his father’s. Junior is a legendary competitor, coach, instructor, resort builder and student of the sport, who was inducted into the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in 1996. He is known, at age 73, as one of the five greatest powder skiers of all time. His title at Snowbird is director of skiing, but his real job is Potentate of Pow.

Steve and Junior remain each other’s favorite skiing companions. Both ski daily. Joyously. Steve attacks powder with disciplined power. Junior relies on touch developed during decades of feeling his feet buried in soft snow. Despite their different styles, they agree on the fundamentals of skiing the deep stuff.

“Bad powder skiing is about freezing at the controls,” explains Junior. “Oversteering, tension and stiffness are the enemies. Patience and fluidity are your allies. The powder greats let the mountain and snow dictate line and technique.”

“New equipment¿wider, softer skis¿makes powder easier for everybody,” adds Steve, “but terrain is all important. To have success in powder, each of us needs to find a pitch where we can balance, feel rhythm and not be afraid to stay in the fall line. The fall line is your friend in powder. So is speed.”

Herein, Steve and Junior explode the myths that commonly hold skiers back and explain powder-skiing fundamentals.