Today’s reader question:
I read your other blog on correct snowboard body position, but I’m confused. You said to keep my upper and lower body lined up, but I always see people riding powder without keeping their upper body aligned with their lower body. Why?
The thing about powder is you still want to keep your upper and lower body aligned to initiate turns in powder, but after that you’ll find some differences in how you can ride deep powder vs. regular snow.
While there’s nothing particularly wrong with keeping your snowboarding body position aligned from head to toe, you’ll start to move towards more of a ‘surf’ style to deal with deeper powder.
How your body position & turns will change when riding powder:
Besides the fact that you’ll be shifting your weight towards your back foot to keep your nose up, you also don’t have as much of a powerful, gripping snowboard edge when you’re riding deep powder.
The deeper the powder, the more you’ll be leaning towards floating over the snow, instead of trying to power your snowboard’s edge through each turn. This is why you see deep powder riders resemble surfers in their style and technique.
Watch the very experienced snowboarders ride powder. Their bodies stay aligned when they aren’t turning or pivoting, but as soon as they turn they swap into that surf-like body stance as they float through the powder.
In deep powder the fun is being able to feel that floating feeling as you push snow out from under your board and do big powder turns that throw a big slash of snow everywhere.
You know when someone does one of those big powder slashes in the snow and rides through it? Yeah… those are a ton of fun. That’s why you’ll often see people counter rotate their bodies on purpose just to spray more snow as they turn.
One more thing…
If the powder is really deep, you might be seeing people with poor snowboard technique purely because it’s hard. Deep powder can make good riders look like beginners again.
I’ve mentioned the story previously of my trip to Mt. Baker where my group had a lot of pretty good snowboarders training for their Level 2/3 snowboard instructor’s test and nearly everyone in the group was bailing and faceplanting in the 50 cm deep powder.
It can take time to get used to riding powder because of that shift from regular snowboard turns to needing to float over the snow instead, so don’t be shocked if it takes some getting used to at first.
If you’re lucky enough to have a big powder day, go out there and enjoy it. Float over that powder and work on surfing your way over it. Powder riding is one of those things that you just have to try and learn from experience.