We all dream about floating through perfect snow with perfect balance. But wind-packed snow and crust can, with the right technique, also offer great experiences. Above all it is difficult to predict the snow during an off-piste ski session. The conditions change rapidly so being able to adapt your skiing is key!
The forces of nature affect the snow and under a single session you can experience ice, dry powder and everything in between. Today's wider skis and rocker designs provide us with some help, but still require a good and well-adapted ski technique.
Wind packed snow is common in Scandinavia. Wind packed snow usually provides a good grip for your edges, sometimes so good it over steers your skis. The wind also creates waves in the snow that can vary in size and hardness. The key is to constantly adjust your speed and especially your edging, since the edges easily get stuck in the snow. To purposely skid your skis a bit gives you a good smooth and controlled ride. Sometimes you may even be lucky enough to find wind-blown areas spreading out widely in front of you. Then, just give her and enjoy the wonderful solid surface wind packed snow can offer.
Watch the movie on balance and position for skiing off-piste, HERE...
Be careful and always keep track of the amount of snow that's drifted in on various mountainsides. The more wind and snow drift, the greater avalanche risk! Learn more about snow safety and avalanches HERE...
Power control – Keep your eyes up and be less aggressive with your edges. Wind packed snow vary a lot, which is why your bending and straightening motions are particularly important. It's important that you stay flexible and agile on your skis so you can absorb bumps and adapt your skiing to how hard the snow is. Always ski with slightly bent angles in all body joints, especially important are your knees, and remember to keep your hands in front of body.
Balance – Your quest will be to stand on the middle of your foot and skis with a dynamic body position. Strive to continuously correct your balance, forwards - backwards, upwards - downwards and sideways. Especially important is your ability to adapt your balance forwards - backwards since the wavy formations in wind-packed snow shift in hardness, sometimes they can be run through and other times they must be absorbed.
Edge – The right feeling comes when correctly combining the twisting and edging regulatory movements. It is important to search the balance on the outer ski early in the turn, bearing in mind not to completely get on that edge since the wind packed snow may grab your ski then. It is often better to search for the feeling of floating a bit on top of the snow, distributing your edge evenly throughout the entire turn. You don't need to aim for equal angles in your edge regulating body parts (full body, hips, feet and knees) but strive for the smaller adjustments and finding that right sensation. Usually you'll find that fine motor sensation through edging and un-weighting the edge with your feet and knees.