How to Snowboard in Powder
Learning how to snowboard in powder as a beginner, intermediate or expert rider can be a challenging experience.
There is a certain kind of day in snowboarding where one person has the best day of their life, is whooping like an idiot and high out of their mind.
And another person is mentally and physically exhausted, crying and screaming at their partner
That kind of day is the pow day. And the person screaming is my girlfriend
It’s (Christian) from Shred School.
And today, we’re going to teach you how to ride pow like a pro, so your next pow day is one of the best days of your life
Tips For Snowboarding In Powder
Look, I know not everyone loves pow, but when you ride the chairlift up on a pow day and see hundreds of people whooping like toddlers, and making noise they NEVER ever make in any other area of life, you have to admit that there must be something to the feeling. Plus, if you want to get good at snowboarding, riding pow is an essential skill to have.
Now, if you’re already a powder hound, but don’t ride very often, I have one word of advice for you. Move away from the east coast or midwest to somewhere you actually get pow.
And if you’ve never done it, well, you might sink like a rock and have to climb out of the powder like 20 times” And you’ll probably cry, but don’t feel bad. You’ll get better next time.
Some people describe riding pow as learning to snowboard all over again, but with this video, you can learn in a fraction of the time.
I grew up on the east coast, so I didn’t really get to ride pow until I had been snowboarding for about 8 years.
In fact, I’m still learning some of the finer details about riding pow.
What Snowboard to Ride In Powder
Like board selection.
You can also ride a directional pow board that’s made to float, although I have found that my high performance park board, the Rome Mod, still crushes it in pow.
You can ride pow with any kind of board, just set your stance back.
What to wear snowboarding in Powder
Next – outerwear. Ditch the sweatshirts and wear actual outerwear to the mountain to keep you dry. The problem with pow is you get sweaty coming down the mountain and then the sweat freezes on the lift.
Wear a proper base layer and waterproof outerwear, keep your jacket zipped up at all times, double check your pocket zippers and setup your powder skirt on your pants to keep the snow out.
Even better, get bibs for snow pants, and stop getting a snowy lower back.
Now.. on a pow day, you want to be the first person in line when the lift starts turning, even if it means waking up at 4am. Trust me, it will be worth it.
The first run of the day on a pow day might be 100x better than the second run, if it’s crowded that day. Pow tracks out fast, and the sooner you can get to it, the better chance you get the goods instead of someone else. Don’t be afraid to arrive well before the lifts open.
Sometimes I take one run, and say to myself “if I don’t get to snowboard another run today, that one run was worth all the effort and I can die a happy man”
It’s that good when it’s untouched.
Alright, you’ve got a pow board, stance is set back, bib snow pants, waterproof jacket zipped up.
You roll off the lift and get stuck.
JK, you wouldn’t make that mistake because you know that in pow, you need to ride steeper terrain than you’re used to.
If you normally ride blue squares, try stepping up to a black diamond.
Pow is slow, and you need steep to keep momentum. Plus, it’s soft and if you fall, you won’t get hurt as easily, and it’s easier to get back up from a fall on a steeper slope.
If it’s your first time, try to pick a groomed run to dip in and out of the pow along the side of the run. That way, you can try it out without getting stuck and use the groomer to get your speed back if needed.
How To Snowboard In Powder – 6 Steps
Let me be clear, riding pow is not like riding a groomer.
1. You have to lean back to snowboard in powder.
Depending on how deep it is, it’s almost like you’re doing a tail press on the ground. The more your stance is set back, the more your board will do the work for you. You can practice this on a groomer by leaning back and making some turns on your back foot.
Keep your nose up and your tail down. This is going to BURN that back leg, so if you’re out of shape try adding squats to your pre-season workout routine so you don’t get worn out in one pow run.
Because you’re floating, you Don’t want to lean too hard on your edges.
The back foot isn’t just for keeping your nose out of the snow to avoid ragdolling, it’s also to Steering in powder – turning on the back of your board – can do a little wheelie on the run and try it out
2. You have to go fast to snowboard in powder.
#1 tip for riding pow…..ride with speed…it makes everything easier..it's just like a boat in the water. The slower you go, the more you’ll sink. The faster you go, the more you’ll float on top.
Pow slows you down a lot, which means.
Not only can you ride steeper stuff, you can stop faster. You can hit a line with a short runout that you could never hit without the pow.
You can charge down mogul fields full speed, and hit a kicker into the trees, because with pow, you can stop on a dime.
Which also means, if there is a flat area ahead —
When you come to a flat area, get out of the powder, and get in to someone’s track so you don’t lose all your speed and get stuck. If you’re the very first on the mountain like I suggested, try to avoid flat areas and run outs all together until they have some tracks in them.
3. Move like water
You never know what’s underneath the pow, so avoid areas of low coverage and watch out for tree stumps, rocks etc… Don’t be tempted in the early season to launch into what looks like a perfect pow field, it could be full of rocks. I know from experience.
Second, even when there's snow underneath, it can be crunchy, ice, moguly, or any other conditions. Like here when I thought i would sink in on the landing, and instead
You can see how different this snowpack is even from turn to turn. To deal with the variable conditions, use
Loose hips, loose knees, strong core. Let the board find its way like water searching out a path down a stream. This way you can quickly adapt to whatever is underneath.
If you’re leaning back and riding loose, you can ride over almost anything in the pow.
4. Be careful
Tree wells, avalanches, concealed rocks and getting stuck in a flat that takes two hours to hike out of are just some of the dangers of riding pow.
Always ride with the accountability system on a pow day, stay in bounds, don’t duck ropes and don’t ride outside the resort unless you have training and the avalanche
DON’T be tempted by one good pow line, it’s not worth losing your life over.
Common things that go wrong riding powder on a snowboard is you catch you nose in the powder.
This is usually called a “rag-doll” when you tumble head over feet, because you look like a limp rag doll with how fast you’ll tumble.
Beware of the scorpion when you catch your nose, which is where instead of rolling over, you just plan your chest. This can really mess up your back, so always tuck your lead shoulder when you catch your nose so you roll over instead of scorpion.
5. Getting stuck
You WILL get stuck in powder, and it will be frustrating. Try to keep your speed up, bend at the knees not the waist, point it out of flat areas and keep your nose up.
When you do get stuck, plant your tail in the snow, and swivel around so your nose is pointing straight up out of the snow, even if you’re leaning the whole way on your back.
Use your tail as a pivot point, and push yourself up and down the hill while leaning back.
If you do have to dig yourself out of powder, it will get hot quickly. Don’t take gloves off, don’t unzip your jacket. This will only fill your outerwear with snow and when your sweat freezes it can get very dangerous very quickly. Stay dry out there.
My biggest tip to avoid getting stuck would be, don’t stop. Beyond that if you have to stop then don't sit down! It's so hard to get up again as you just sink.
6. Goggle Fog on a pow day
The best way to deal with goggle fog snowboarding is to take off your goggles, or just your lenses, put them in the goggle bag, and put them in your armpits in the lift line. Don’t wipe snow off the inside of your lenses, just shake out the goggle and let it thaw in your jacket.
Is Snowboarding in Powder Worth it?
Snowboarding in Powder It will ruin snowboarding for you and you’ll never be able to go back.
You’ll quit your job, leave your family and chase storms all around the world. How do you think I know this? Whether it's worth it or not is up to you, but I can tell you, it's one of the best feelings in life.
That’s it, riding pow. Set your stance back, lean back, upright posture, steer with your back foot like a rudder on a boat, avoid flat areas, beware of what’s underneath the snow and send it full speed.
Ride with a friend, be safe, and most of all, make some noise.
And if you want more in depth videos like this, come check out 170+ videos we have inside shred school at EdShreds.Com and learn everything from how to get on the lift to how to do your first 540