Powder Tips

'Punching through the powder' will help get you through all types of crud snow.

'Punching through the powder' is an action extremely useful to help initiate turns in many difficult powder snow conditions, wet, such as deep, windblown or crusty snow. Every skier who intends to ski 'off-piste' learns this movement so that you have it in your repertory of 'powder turns', and can use it to help you handle the difficult snow conditions.

'Punching through the powder' helps to remove your skis out of the snow, making it easier to start your skis turning. The punching action can be combined with many of the other powder turns.

'Punching' is simply a modification of the basic down-up-down powder turn. To 'punch' your turns all you do is 'punch uppercuts' with your hands, arms and shoulders in the direction of the turn and coordinate the movement with your normal extension so that your up-movement is more powerful.

Image 1 Image 2 Image 3 Image 4

Exercise: Short-radius turns with 'punching'
(Refer to Image 1 - Image 4)

To ski with 'punching', begin on a steep traverse on an intermediate-grade slope of untracked powder. Take up speed, lower your hips, and, as you start your extension, 'punch' your outside hand, arm, and shoulder up and slightly toward the downhill turn so that you feel a strong pull on the outside of your ribcage (as can be seen in Image 2).
As your skis approach the fall-line, begin lowering your hips and your arm so that you are in a solid, stable position at the end of the turn ready to initiate the next turn (Image 3). When your skis cross the fall-line, extend up and 'punch' your new outside hand, arm, and shoulder up and slightly toward the next downhill turn (Image 4). Continue these motions down the slope.

Special Advices: If you punch just your arm to start the skis turning nothing much will happen. You need to coordinate the arm punch with the extension movement. Try to not drop your arm completely down to your side before punching it. Keeping your arms in front of your body helps you maintain your stability.