Powder Mountain Catskiing
Canada: British Columbia
Love fresh powder? Get 2-3 times more than Whistler with Snowcat Skiing at Powder Mountain! No crowds! Just epic runs, Powder Mountain style!
Don Schwartz Owner & Head Guide & Canadian Snowboard Legend
Ken Achenbach Owner & Snowboarding Hall of Fame Member
We know powder. We've traveled the world looking for it and this is it. Come skiing or riding with us and you'll have your best day in the mountains ever.
What iscatskiing / catboarding?
Snowcats (or "cats") are the machines you see grooming ski hills. Ours are specially modified versions with a heated passenger cabin containing seats to transport twelve guests, two guides and a photographer into the backcountry safely and comfortably. The snowcat will take you to some of the best untracked snow you will ever get the chance to enjoy. With a strictly controlled number of people per day you always get first tracks. The only people you see are your friends and the guides
What ages do you accept?
It doesn't matter how old you are, as long as you want powder runs!The youngest we usually accept is 14 years, unless you book a private cat. Then as it's your cat, you can bring the kids and ski at the speed you want. Our average age is mid-20s to mid-40s. If you want to bring your kid or kids, please keep the rest of the group in mind when you judge their skiing or riding ability. If the kid cannot keep up with the group they will have to ride in the cat for the day with no refund.
What type of Snowcats do you use?
We use fully equipped Pisten Bully 300 Snowcats especially designed for catskiing. They have comfortable bucket seating for twelve, two guides and a photographer, as well as panoramic view windows for checking out the peaks and runs that have made Powder Mountain Catskiing legendary.
Is it safe?
Snowcat skiing is as safe as we can make backcountry skiing. Each cat has two highly trained and certified guides who are constantly monitoring snow and weather conditions so you can be as safe as possible in an uncontrolled backcountry environment. Every morning our guides have a safety meeting covering everything from A-Z to make sure your day with us is safe, fun and enjoyable.
What happens if I get hurt?
Our guides are all trained with Red Cross Industrial First Aid. If you get hurt skiing or riding, the guide will assess the situation and take whatever steps are necessary.
What about the risk of avalanche?
Your safety is our prime concern. Therefore, our guides constantly monitor snow and weather conditons throughout the day so you can be as safe as possible in the uncontrolled environment of the backcountry. Every guest wears a transceiver and is shown how to operate it.You're also given a safety orientation session for your general backcountry awareness.
Is there ski patrol in the backcountry?
No, but all our certified guides are all trained with Red Cross Industrial First Aid. If you get hurt skiing or riding, the guide will assess the situation and take whatever steps are necessary.
What is a "transceiver"?
A transceiver is an electronic beacon that you wear on your body when ever you are in the backcountry. It sends transceiver out a signal whenever it it turned on. If ever needed it will lead us right to you. All guests are provided with transceivers which must be worn.
What abilities do you accept?
We match groups to terrain .We accept people with moderate to high skill level in powder, we will take you powder shredding even if your not the best rider but if you are holding up the group you may be asked to sit out a run or stay in the cat for your own safety. Please determine if this is for you. If you are asked to sit out there is no refund. Please respect the guides decision to keep you safe.
Suggested skier ability
You should have intermediate skiing ability with experience in a variety of conditions including powder, trees and steeper terrain. Our more relaxed experience lets you concentrate on enjoying the day and learning to ski better. Our guides are all fully certified ski instructors who can help you with tips and pointers throughout the day to help you get comfortable in powder snow and ski better. Untracked snow is great for learning to ski in powder.
We highly recommend that you rent fat skis from Summit Sport Rentals in Whistler. They make skiing or learning to ski powder easier and take less energy than regular skis. Rent some. You'll be glad you did.
Suggested snowboarder ability
There is no need to be intimidated about going catboarding if you can link turns with proficiency on a blue run. If you can do that you are ready to start catboarding. Riding powder on a snowboard, if you have never done it, is one of the easiest things to get the hang of. Our more relaxed experience lets you concentrate on enjoying the day and learning to ride better. Our guides who are fully certified instructors can help you with tips and pointers throughout the day so you'll quickly get comfortable in powder snow and ride better. You will learn so much about riding powder from them that you will be an expert in no time.
If you don't have a powder specific board such as a Burton Malolo or Fish we recommend using one of our demos or renting one from Summit Sport Rentals. They make learning to ride in powder the easiest thing ever. The correct board is everything. You won't use all your energy fighting with your board to stay afloat.
What kind of physical shape do I have to be in to go catskiing or catboarding?
Obviously, the more fit you are the less tired you will be at the end of the day. The cool thing about the cat is that if you are tired you can "sit out" a run and ride down in the snowcat while you re-energize. Our highest elevation is about 6,500 feet, so altitude is not a problem. Our runs range in vertical from 800ft to around 3,000ft. Most runs are in the 1200-2200 vertical foot size. Having runs of this size means you spend less time in the cat between runs and more time skiing or riding. It also means you can charge down each run without getting worn out. We also highly recommend renting fat skis or a Burton Fish or Malolo from Summit Sport Rentals. Having the right equipment will make it so much easier that you will use all your energy skiing or riding instead of using all your energy fighting with your board or skis to stay afloat.
What I see in the magazines and videos seems so extreme. Is that what I'm going to experience?
As much as we'd all like to be extremenators, what you see in magazines are professional riders paid to do amazing and carefully planned things.
Real powder skiing and riding is different. With most of our terrain being descents ranging from 20 degrees to 45 degrees, we can pick lines to suit the group's ability and aims. Imagine a perfect day at your favorite mountain riding powder with no one around. That's what catskiing is every day. The only people you see are the other people in the snowcat you came with. Once people have been catskiing once, they understand what the excitement is all about, how easy it really is and they start counting the days till their next trip.
My buddy isn't as good as I am, will we have fun if we both go at the same time?
Absolutely! With our two guide system, everyone skis and rides at their own pace within the group. This makes for a relaxing day without the intimidation that is sometimes felt by friends "trying to keep up".
One of the nicest things about catskiing is that people of different abilities can ride together because the cat can only get to the bottom of the run at a certain speed. This means you go at your own pace to the bottom. You won't have the feeling that you are "holding up the group". With two guides everyone gets the same experience: guided powder skiing in the mountains, safely, with more fun and great times than you can imagine. If part of the group is slower, one part of the group goes with the lead guide and the other part of the group goes with the second guide. No stress, no vibes from the rest of the group, just happy smiles and jokes about wipeouts and epic face shots. Exactly what a day in the mountains with your friends should be!
If you are unsure of your ability book into our "Learn to Ski and Ride Powder" Cat days that go once a week. A cat dedicated to everyone getting better at powder skiing and riding. The perfect confidence builder.
Is catskiing a good place to learn to ski / ride powder?
Catskiing is a great place to learn if you are willing. Please understand that if you feel you are ready to go Catskiing but end up holding up the group you may be asked to sit out with no refund. Please respect the guides if they ask you to sit out for the happiness of the group or for your safety.
Do we have to hike at all?
There are only a couple of our runs that are only accessible with a short hike. They are worth the hike. In general though there is no hiking involved: that's why we
What is your average vertical?
Not less than 7,000 ft, but mostly 8,000ft to 10,000ft per day. You can expect six to ten runs, depending on the conditions and the group. Our runs range in vertical from 800ft to around 3,000ft. Most runs are in the 1200-2200 vertical foot size. Having runs of this size means you spend less time in the cat between runs and more time skiing or riding. It also means you can charge down each run without getting worn out.
Is the terrain shared with any other tour operators?
Where does Powder Mountain Catskiing/ Heliskiing operate?
We are based in Whistler, BC, Canada and operate in Tricouni Peak and Cypress Peak areas, 20 minutes south of Whistler (1hr 20mins from Vancouver).
How many different runs are there?
We don't have an exact number as we are always discovering new ones. With over 4,300 acres of powder, there are more runs than we know what to do with. The coolest thing is we always have your best run, and there is always “one more”.
Where do you meet in the morning?
Free pick up at Our Village location 4145 Village Green. If you are in the Village Square, look Starbucks on the main drag. Be dressed and ready to ski . We drive you and your equipment to our base lodge where you meet your guides.
The Powder Mountain Lodge is about 20 minutes south of Whistler on Highway 99 at the Chance Creek turn off.
There is no breakfast, so make sure you eat before we take off. Time wasted cuts into the amount of skiing you get in a day. Every turn you miss is one you are behind.
Do you pick us up at our hotel/condo?
We cannot do pickups at anywhere other than The Village. If you are coming from a hotel in Whistler, your concierge can point you in the right direction or order you a cab to drop you off at TheTaxi Loop. If you have booked a private cat for the day we can pick you up at your hotel or condo.
What time will we be back?
Every day varies according to snow conditions, group ability, weather and other factors, so we can't give you an exact time. Plan on returning to Whistler at around 5:00 PM.
Is tipping the guides allowed?
Yes, tipping is allowed and encouraged.
How many people are in a group?
We have one group of twelve people, two guides and a photographer in each snow cat. The most we ever have on the mountain is two snowcats. Unlike heliskiing, you have your own machine so you can bring a pack with anything you think you might need and leave it under your seat in the cat.
How long is the cat ride up to do one run?
The first ride up in the cat takes anywhere from 25 minutes to a hour minutes before we drop in for the first run, depending on which of the 5 peaks we are skiing that day. After that the runs come quickly. The average cat ride time is 10- 15 minutes for each run. Just enough time to recharge your energy, grab a snack or something to drink crack some jokes, make some friends. Sometimes it seems like you just got in the cat at the bottom of the run and then suddenly you are back at the top getting ready to drop in. It's amazing how much fun and how social catskiing is.
How many runs can I do in a day?
We guarantee 7,000 vertical feet of skiing. On an average day you can expect to do six to ten runs.
Can or will I ride with famous skiers or snowboarders?
Absolutely! Whistler has pro skiers like a hot tub has water.
There's always the off chance a famous skier or snowboarder will be part of your group. They know how much fun catskiing and riding is.
Is there a photographer available to shoot pictures or video of me and my friends?
We have a professional photographer on the cat with every group.
You can pre book him to shoot photos of you and your friends when you ski or ride. It's all shot on digital so at the end of the day we can burn you a CD with the photos of you from the day. Also included on the CD is a greatest hits package of photos from Powder Mountain Catskiing/ Heliskiing. Who knows, maybe you will make our greatest hits slideshow.
The photographers are with you the entire day, not just for a run or two. They chronicle the whole day because we understand that this is a day you have been dreaming of and an experience that no matter many times you've been, it's always amazing and filled with moments where you think: "Man! I wish I had a picture of that". Our photographers get all those moments. Your day never ends because of the photos - you can re-live that perfect turn or slash forever.
What kind of skis do I need?
Fat skis make powder easy and require less energy to turn so you have more energy all day and get more skiing and more fun.
If you don't have fat skis, rent them from Summit Sport Rentals. You can thank us afterwards.
What kind of snowboard do I need?
Snowboards: We use and recommend Burton Fish or Burton Malolo model snowboards as they are designed for backcountry snowboarding. Not everything works in powder anymore. Get a powder specific board and double the enjoyment of your day.
Do I absolutely need powder skis or a powder board?
Not at all. Whatever makes you stoked works. Dedicated powder skis and boards just make it easier. Trust us though, we get so much snow you'll be glad you had the fattest skis you could rent. Suffering is optional. We have Burton Malolo and Fish boards to demo. Just let us know in advance
What if I don't have my own equipment?
You can rent all the ski or snowboard equipment you need at Summit Sport Rentals. Their service and selection are the best in Whistler. Click on the button to book your rentals.
What should I wear?
We recommend the same clothing as you would wear at a ski resort. As the snowcats are heated, there are plenty of opportunities to warm up between runs. Unlike a ski area where you have to carry everything with you, you can bring extra clothes as you can store them in the cat in case you need them. Dress in layers as we have a wide variety of weather conditions and you may need to add or subtract a layer.
Goggles or sunglasses?
Bring both if you wish. Most of the time we all wear goggles, although once spring rolls around sunglasses are great. As we are in the alpine some form of eye protection is necessary.
What else should I bring?
You may want to bring a backpack to carry your spare clothes in. Our guides use and recommend dakine backpacks. You can leave your bag in the cat so your gear is always close at hand. We have water, drinks, snacks and food on board but your own stash never hurt. All safety equipment is provided, but if you are more comfortable with your own by all means bring it.
How much snow do you get?
The Tricouni area typically receives 60% more snowfall on average than Whistler/Blackcomb. Our Cypress area recieves double the snowfall of WB. Our average snowfall is approximately 18 meters/60 feet per year. This makes for more powder days than you can imagine. With only two cats with twelve people per cat on the whole mountain you can imagine how long the powder lasts. FOREVER!
When is the snow best?
The beauty of cat skiing is that the snow is always great. If it isn't we don't go skiing. Your experience is the most important thing. We won't take you skiing if the snow is bad just to "make money" We know you would be way more stoked on the truth. If the snow is good, which is 99 day out of 100 we go. Otherwise we don't.
Our season starts in mid December and goes to mid April. December, January, February and March are the prime powder months where we have fresh snow all the time. April has great snow with awesome corn after the spring hits. Three years ago our best day of the year was April 18th. With 4,300 acres of untracked snow, when you come with us you are going to get the goods. Spring time also means longer days so you get more skiing for the same money.
How cold is it up there?
The temperature is typical for winter weather in BC. One of the best things about the snowcats is that after every run you have time to warm up in the heated passenger cab as it carries you back up the mountain for your next run. That's better than long cold lift lines and freezing charilift rides. You can store extra clothes in the cat so that you are always dressed correctly for the temperature. Gloves got wet? No problem, grab your extra pair from the cat.
Powder Mountain Snowcats
There is no snowcat that can compare to the power, reliability, comfort and speed of the Pisten Bully Snowcat.
A couple of years ago we made a huge investment and sold all our Bombardier cats and entered into a lease purchase agreement for Pisten Bully 300's from Cold Smoke Leasing Co. We went from a really good day being 9 or 10 runs to an average day being 9 -10 runs. The old record for most runs was 11. Now it's 15. That's why we made the investment to run Pisten Bully snowcats. The new cats are so fast that our old "fast cat" the Pisten Bully 280 was sold last year because it just couldn't keep up. We wanted everyone to have the same experience, epic powder skiing from a Pisten Bully 300.
It's also nice that the Pisten Bully’s offer superior comfort and reliability when it comes to getting up the mountain to get the untracked snow. The cats have bucket coach seats in all our passenger cabins. The bucket seats really let you relax on the way up the mountain in between runs. It's amazing how much less energy you use over the course of a day not having to hold on to the seat in front of you and just settling back into your seat. Some guests said it made their day. Every one said they had more energy to ski. That was cool, we just wanted them because they were more comfortable. Classic!
To ensure that your ride up is as comfortable as your run down is fun, the passenger cabins are especially designed for your group of 12, 2 guides and photographer. The cabins are heated so even on the coldest day, catskiing is a warm fun powder adventure. When it’s minus 20’ and the snow is a good as it will ever get, having a heated 10-15 minute ride up for your next run will make you ready to really charge on each run. It might ruin you on chairlifts and t-bars forever. With the cabin's big windows, you get the best view of the surrounding peaks that have made this part of the world legendary.
On the first run of the day it takes about 25 - 40 minutes depending on which peak we are skiing, to get up to the peak from our base lodge - about the same time it takes to get from the village to the top of 7th Heaven on Blackcomb. We have done extensive route work and road cutting in the last two years to make the run up from our base lodge as fast as possible. No matter how powerful and nice the cat is or how comfy and relaxing the seats are... we're here to ski and ride. We want that first run to come as quick as possible.
After the initial run to the peak the runs come quickly. Your average cat time is 10-15 minutes per run. This gives time to catch your breath, grab a snack or a drink, compare face shot stories with your new best friends, and be ready and rested to hit it when you get to the top.
The biggest thing to learning to ski or ride powder is having the right equipment. You don't surf on water skis so why waste a great powder day on the wrong skis or board? Getting the right tool under your feet on a powder day will blow your mind and make your learning curve look like a shuttle launch, straight up.
· The Right Skis
When your skis "float" it makes turn initiation so much easier because you aren't sinking down into the powder as far so you get up to speed to make that first turn quicker. You aren’t struggling to get two anchors out of the snow to start a turn. Fat skis pop right out with minimal speed, so you use less energy actually skiing. It’s not the skiing that exhausts you on the wrong skis; it's the having anchors on your feet that won't pop out of the snow that wastes all your energy. You use all your energy trying to keep the skis on top of the snow; fat skis get rid of that problem and make it so you actually use your energy skiing. We recommend K2 Coomba's and Pontoons. Two guys that know a lot about skiing powder are Doug Coombs and Shane McConkey. Use their skis and you can't go wrong.
· The Right Board
The Burton Fish is the ultimate board for learning to ride powder.
We've had people that were ready to sit in the cat for the day after trying to ride the wrong board for a run. We won't let you ride the wrong board for more than one run; it kills us as much to see you struggling, as it does you. We'd swap the person onto a Burton Fish and it was like one of the first lines in the Bible… In the beginning there was nothing and then there was light and it was good. Just change the word "light" to "Fish" and that is almost what it's like. You can see people go from worst day ever to this is the best day ever in 50 feet.
But the Fish isn't just for beginners... many of our photographers and guides ride them because they're also the ultimate "tree board".
There are many other powder boards of course, and they all work. You need to be slightly careful though, as boards designed for open glaciers (often European) aren't necessarily particularly well suited to Canadian terrain, where the tree line is higher. You won't see many Swallowtails in Canada, for example.
Features to look for in a powder board include taper, a nose big enough to float, and a soft tail to work in the low resistance snow we get. Most powder boards have some set-back in the default stance, which should work fine
A good hot wax is like magic. It makes your skis and board slide easier when you're going slowly.
People tend to think wax is just to help you go fast. Sure you want a good wax job for speed, but it's super important for low speed manoeuvrability too.
The easier you glide, the easier you can initiate turns, and the easier you can get up to speed for that all important first turn.
Good wax helps you get across a flat section., which in powder is one place you don't want to stop (because you'll use lots of effort trying to walk through waist-deep powder).
If you are soaked with sweat you get cold faster. Simple fact. If you aren't falling, you aren't learning. After you fall you start sweating because you expend a lot of energy getting up out of the hole you just made. Once you get the trick to getting up in powder it will be just like getting up on hardpack, you don’t even think about it, you just pop up. Until you "Get it" you will sweat up a storm so having the right clothing makes all the difference in whether you have a warm fun day or a soaked cold day that sucks.
· Base Layer
Dress in layers and avoid cotton like the plague. Nothing gets you colder quicker than a cotton layer. It soaks up all the sweat and the snow that turns into water when it goes down your neck. Once cotton is wet it will stay that way. Brrrrr. The new tech fabrics from all the major companies make playing in the snow such a much more pleasant experience that you definitely want to invest in a tech base layer. All the fabrics wick away moisture keeping you warm and dry unless you go swimming.
· Thermal Layers
Over your base layer you'll want to throw on some fleece or wool layer. It continues the wicking and the warming. It's better to have multiple thin layers than one thick layer so you can take off a layer when you are too warm. Being to warm is the same as getting snow down your neck. You'll be soaked in no time.
What you have on top is just as if not more important than what you have underneath. We all swear by Burton's AK line. We've haven't had one pulled stitch in 5 years of using their clothing for our guides and staff. They all get at least 110 days on them and they are still as waterproof and breathable as they day they were new.
When you are looking for clothes for powder you want to make sure that you can seal up the waist with a powder cuff or a zip that attaches the jacket to the pants. It is the most important feature on your jacket.
Some people like hoods and some people don't so it's more of a personal thing. When you are looking at outerwear for riding powder, a slimmer profile is better as when you gt better and start advancing from riding glades to riding trees you won't have all the bulk snagging on branches.
· Tuck in your powder cuff at the waist and the ankle
Tuck your powder cuff into the waist of your pants instead of over top if it doesn't have any loops to keep it from moving. Before I had a zip to tie the waist together I’d tuck the powder cuff into my pants so my belt would keep me from "Blowing the seal" on a good wipeout. We joke there is nothing worse than a wipeout where "You blow the seal", the seal between the jacket and pants or your collar and neck gaiter.
Most pants come with waist as well as ankle powder cuffs to pull over your boots and hook onto your laces. I personally like to tuck them in between the boot liner and the outer shell and then lace or buckle up my boots so the laces completely seal the ankle from getting snow in your boots or up your pant leg. If you end up walking a bit in deep snow you will be stoked to have used this tech. The snow will push up the outer fabric of your pants but your powder cuff will be still securely tucked into your boots so no snow ends up where it shouldn't. When it’s over the boot and the snow is light it goes into the space between the elastic and the boot and ends up down you boot. The thing with powder is it seems to find the little gaps in your powder armour you didn’t know about.
· Hockey Lacing
Having never played hockey, I was amazed at age 38 to learn a new way of tying my boots from Andrew "Rookie" Hicks.
When you tie your boots put an extra left over right and under on it before you make bunny ears and the extra wrap will keep the start of your bow from coming loose. Rookie still laughs at how amazed I was at this one.
· Gloves and Mitts
Gauntlet gloves and mitts are great. They keep your wrists dry when you are digging around in the snow looking for your goggles, and when you are digging yourself out by going over the cuff of your jacket sleeves. You can usually pull them tight with a drawstring.
Moms test baby bottle temperature on their wrists because wrists are super temperature sensitive. Your wrists work the same for cold snow as they do for too hot milk, they don't like it. Once your wrists get wet the water soon makes its way down to your hands and then your hands are cold for the day. A good seal on your wrists is important to having a good day. As much as I like being in the snow, the only place I like to feel snow is on the small parts of my face I couldn't cover.
When you wipe out in powder it's really easy to fill your goggles with snow. Once they're wet, it's downhill all the way for most goggles.
One technique is to make your goggle strap just a bit tighter than usual so the goggles don't come off your head as easily. As dumb it sounds that's the biggest tip: keeping them on your face keeps a lot of the snow out of the goggle. It also keeps your hat on more too so you don't get so wet.
When you yard sale and everything is full of snow, your first instinct is to reach into your goggles and dig out the snow. That's the worst thing you can do. Instead of digging, hold your goggles in one hand and tap them against something so you knock as much of the snow out of the frame as possible. You can usually get 95% of the snow out this way. When your fingers touch the antifog layer when you are digging the snow out of the goggle you are condemning yourself to ever decreasing visibility over the course of the run. It's better to look past a bit of snow inside your goggles than to wipe them "clean" with your hand.
The best thing about catskiing is you can give your goggles to the cat driver and he'll put them on the heater in the cab and dry them out for your next run.
Bring a goggle cloth or two and keep them dry so if you really have to you can wipe the goggles, but check the instructions: some goggles shouldn't be wiped at all.
If it's sunny you can always bring sunglasses as well as goggles, which gives you a backup whilst you wait for the goggles to dry.If you're lucky enough to have a back up pair you can always bring them and swap when necessary (if you lose your goggles our guides carry spares). If you're even more tech then you can try the goggles with the built-in fans, which work well.
Speed is your friend in powder. You don't need to ride at race speed, but you do need enough speed to get a rhythm going. It's easier to make sequential turns than it is to make the first turn, so a little speed is a good thing.
It takes more skill to ride well slowly in powder - that's one reason that riding through trees is a challenging thing to learn.
If you feel like you are going too fast in powder… just sit down. Works every time.
· Play Leap Frog
If the snow is deep or the slope a little flat remember the "Leap Frog". Leap frog is when one person goes first and blazes a trail and the next person rides in their track and because of the extra speed from riding in the track will pass the first rider and go further across the flats. Try get as close as you can to the first rider when you pass them so they can get onto the track with minimal effort. The next rider or the first rider hops in the track and leap frogs past the second rider going further across the flats. Keep going as far as you can and you will be amazed how little walking you will have to do.
· Look where you want to go instead of looking at what you don't want to hit
It sounds simple but once you get in the trees for the first time there is lot of new stuff coming at you. It's not your fault you start thinking of Kennedys and Sonny Bono. If you don't want to hit that tree or rock, don’t look at it. As soon as you look at them you start heading for it. It’s like a magnet. If you are skiing or riding the trees, look at the spaces in between the trees instead of looking at the trees. The spaces will get bigger and the trees will get smaller and you will find yourself having fewer close calls with inanimate objects.
Don’t be too scared of the trees though. The most dangerous things on a powder day are your friends, that, and playing football in the trees.
Lee Anne Patterson's Ski Tips
There are a few simple things you can do to make skiing really, really easy. The number one thing is being in terrain where you can enjoy a free fall feeling. Turning should not be about slowing down, turning is used to guide you through the terrain so you can play and make the most of it. If you are turning to slow down all the time, the terrain is too steep and you will never learn the flowing, freefalling sensation of powder that people become addicted to.
Even though skiing is a technical sport once you understand the feeling you are going for in powder skiing the sport becomes more about athleticism. To set yourself up to be more athletic in your skiing there are 3 easy things you should do and always do.
1. Always ski with your abdomen muscles contracted.
2. Always have both elbows in front of your core.
3. Always make sure your collarbone lines up over your knees.
These three “must dos” set you up to be in balance with the unpredictable nature of powder skiing.
The unpredictable nature of powder skiing is created by the fact that the speed of you ski isn’t as consistent as in on piste skiing. For an example put your weight too far forward and your tips dive and voila…head over heels…fast, because your ski has just slowed down way faster than you, leaving your feet way behind your body. Too far back and only your tips are out and you can’t change your direction… you feel trapped and just keep moving faster with your feet way in front of your body. None of that happens in groomed skiing, it just can’t because your ski can’t sink creating the speed changes. But being able to stay in balance with your ski changing speed is the free flow of powder skiing. So be athletic, stay on terrain where you can let it go and find the freedom.
· Point your hand where you want to go
As simple and as dumb as it sounds, that’s all there is to riding powder on a snowboard. If you let your arms flail all over they will take your body with them. Try not to let your front arm cross the plane where it is not in front of you. Once your front hand is past the line your shoulders form, your body will start turning whether you want it to or not. Keep your hands on the front side of your body. Point your hand where you want to go and your body will follow. Don't point at trees or rocks. If you are having a hard time keeping your hands from flailing around, put up your dukes. Pretend you are going to fight someone and put 'em up. If they are in front of you they won't drag your body off in strange directions you don’t want to go.
· Don’t pat the dog
A lot of people think they should be dragging their hands in the snow when they make a turn. It's not your fault. When you look at a picture in a magazine you will see the rider with their hand in the snow. You just can’t see that in the photo they are going mach 7 on a steep slope, so you think you need to drag your hand too. Don't pat the dog.
As soon as you drag your hand it pulls you off balance and usually makes you wipe out. Stand up. Don't crouch. Keep your hands up. Put up your dukes and point where you want to go. Don't pat the dog until you hit 40mph. Don't feel bad, just think how Tony Hawk feels watching twelve year olds skateboarding with video game style.
Your safety is our prime concern. We constantly monitor snow and weather conditions throughout the day so you can be as safe as possible in the backcountry. Everyone wears a transceiver and is trained to use it during our safety orientation session.