Heelside powder turns are essentially surfing layback slashes. If you do ‘em right. Here’s how…
From Whitelines Basics 2013
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5.Get face shots.
This is going to cause a problem: when you push snow out in front of yourself, that snow is going to blow up in front of you and blind you. This is the so-called ‘face shot’, and it feels amazing. You’ll get ice-crystals on your goggles, you’ll get snow up your nose, and if you’re inhaling then prepare to get a lung full of icy, fresh air. It’s amazing. Just don’t panic when everything goes white – you’ll soon emerge from the smoke like Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder…
6. Don’t leave the brakes on too long.
As with the toeside turn, the key thing here is to not push too hard for too long. You’ll have to work the balance out yourself, but stopping in powder can be a pain, so as you slow down to a near stop, simply unweight that back leg, and turn your board straight again, aiming to keep enough speed and momentum under your board to stop it sinking.
7. Now you’ve got turns down in flat meadows, look for features to slash.
The heelside powder turn is best done against things; cornices and banks being the most popular. And once you’ve got them on lock-down, you’ll be able to judge how much extra energy you can take into the turn in order to properly lean back and really kick into the snow. So hitting a cornice becomes something like a wall-ride, where you’re literally jumping against it and two-foot slashing into the thing, knowing that the push against the cornice will push you back into the turn, kick up an ENORMOUS plume of snow, and still allow you to carry on riding upright. Good luck, and remember: the sweeter the cushion, the harder the pushin’. Or something like that...
“Remember: the sweeter the cushion, the harder the pushin’. Or something..."
Give it some
When riding powder, it pays to be aggressive. A lot of people approach it too timidly, without the necessary speed, and then lean gently on their edges as if they’re turning on the piste. The result? They sink and fall over. If this sounds like you, then try pointing the board straighter so you pick up more speed, then really shove your tail into the turns.