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If You’re Not Having Fun in Powder, You’re Doing It Wrong

Professional ski instructor Ann Schorling troubleshoots the most common powder skiing mistakes and how to fix them.

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We’re not saying skiing powder is always easy, but it should be fun. If you find it more frustrating than fun, chances are, you’re falling into common powder-skiing pitfalls.

“The most common mistake people make in powder is trying to make really round turns all the way across the hill,” explains professional ski instructor Ann Schorling, who’s also a member of the prestigious PSIA Alpine Demo Team. “What happens when we do that is we slow ourselves down and get bogged down in the powder. Then it becomes much harder to make the next turn.”

In this video, Schorling addresses the three most common mistakes skiers make in powder and how to fix them. Troubleshoot these issues, and you’ll never shirk another powder day again.

Watch: 3 Common Powder Skiing Mistakes and How to Fix Them

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3 Common Powder-Skiing Mistakes

1. Turning too far across the slope

The problem: Round turns are great for speed control, but in powder, they can slow you down too much.
The fix: We need some speed to stay afloat in powder, so we need to use more open turns that allow us to travel down the fall line instead of across it. Instead of skiing round turns that leave your skis pointing across the fall line at the end of each turn, end your turns when skis are still slightly pointing down the fall line.

2. Not standing on the outside ski

The problem: You find your skis traveling in opposite directions at the end of your turn, with your outside ski pointing down the fall line and the inside ski pointing towards where you want to go.
The fix: Shift your weight to your outside ski in each turn. If your outside ski is not traveling in the direction you want it to, it’s because you don’t have enough weight on it. Practice balancing on the outside ski as much as the inside ski so that the outside ski bends as much as the inside ski in your turn.

3. Pushing against the powder

The problem: Powder snow doesn’t respond to skis the same way groomed snow does. If you push on powder in the middle of your turn, it will give way.
The fix: Soften the amount of pressure you put on your skis in powder turns. Think about keeping both of your skis and legs beneath you instead of stemming against them like you would when carving on groomers.

Ann Schorling is currently a member of the prestigious Professional Ski Instructors of America Alpine Demo Team. When she’s not traveling the world on skis, you’ll find her coaching steeps camps and training other instructors at Jackson Hole, Wyo.

More Skiing Tips from the Pros

How to Manage Speed When Skiing Trees
Essential Skill: The Pivot Slip
How to Ski Fast and Stay in Control on Any Terrain