Ever wanted to try a particular terrain and realized your skis are not built to handle that? Because we all know that when it comes to ski gear, skis come in all shapes and customizations made to fit any and all types of skiing – and by extension, are tailor-made for different kinds of terrain as well.
For the powder-filled slopes (which are every skier’s DREAM), you’d ideally need a pair of powder skis which have a broader base which will help you stay steady on top of the very loose and powdery surface.
Carving skis (or on-piste skis) are built to handle much rougher terrain, especially the icy surfaces since they are made to have narrower and thinner make-up. But if carving skis are all you have, and you REALLY want to chase powder, fear not!
You CAN ski powder with carving skis, and all you have to do is understand the structural changes in the two types of skis and adjust your maneuvering and posture accordingly, which I will go through in this post.
How To Ski Powder With Carving Skis?
Carving skis are made to be very thin and narrow so that they will instantly move past the powdery surface and settle on the icy layer underneath.
As mentioned earlier, this structural difference is of course perfect for skiing on ice but is detrimental to the powder skier since the main objective is to stay afloat on top of the powder.
But here we promote the optimistic mind, and we believe any ski will fit any terrain! So here are some ways you can train yourself to ski powder with your carving skis (on-piste).
Also read our guide on skiing in powder vs groomed runs.
Adjusting Your Stance
Since you are not using powder skis or off-piste skis for this, you will need to readjust your overall position to compensate for the narrow gait of the carving skis.
The main objective here, as you may realize, is to minimize the effects of narrowness, so what you can do is hold your feet together as much as possible when you are skiing.
This will create a semblance of having a skateboard or surf underneath your feet and will lessen the pressure on the snow.
Also, NEVER put additional pressure onto the outside ski. What this will do, is cut out the balance you have created by keeping the skis together. If the balance is lost, you WILL tumble and that is not something you want while you’re heading down a slope of powder at high speed.
Keep Going Fast
While this might sound extremely ironic compared to what we’ve just said, it is surprisingly helpful to have a higher speed when you’re chasing powder on carving skis.
A higher speed will make sure that you are floating over the light packs, and will not have enough time for your skis to dig down and get stuck.
So keep buzzing past and you won’t have a problem, which is not a difficult task considering carving skis were made with speed in mind!
Also read our guide on carving vs all-mountain skis.
Bringing Your A Game
You should know that powder skiing with carving skis is NOT for the faint of heart, and certainly not for someone who is not willing to give it their all.
Bringing your A-game is FUNDAMENTAL. You need to always have a consistent ‘attack’ on the slope. If your intensity of skiing begins to vary over time, you will end up tumbling or getting stuck in the snow.
Your starting force and constant acceleration should remain constant throughout the process.
Start Going For The Steeper Angles
If you’re skiing powder with carving skis, you are bound to come across slopes with a deep pack. In these cases, angles will be your friend! You want to go steeper as the powder runs deep.
This will once again ensure high speeds and help you maintain the right posture as well. Always pay attention to the fall line and ski down to avoid any issues with the horizontal gravity pull, and you’ll be fine.
Also read our guide on carving vs skidded turns.
Always remember, practice will always make you better at this and after a while, the movements will come naturally to you!
Regardless, Let’s Talk About Developing Your Own Quiver
If you are an avid skier, it is advisable to start your own quiver and start investing in varying types of skis and other gear. While every ski can be utilized to ski every terrain, you WILL miss out on certain interesting aspects by doing so.
So the best thing is to plan on which resort you are heading to, and what your preferred terrain is so you can build your quiver to fit that particular niche.
If chasing powder is your thing, and is something you will be doing a lot every season, you should go for broader mountain skis. If not, carving skis will be best.
Always make your decision based on your locale and preference, which will most definitely minimize having to make do with what you have, and also combat the possibility of getting injuries especially if you are a novice skier.