Skiing powder can be an eye opening experience for skiers who are used to hard packed, icy, or groomed trails. If you're planning a big ski trip, or looking to get a better idea of how to ski powder, this guide is for you.
How to Ski Powder
How to Ski Powder Step 1: Stay Relaxed
The immediate reaction of most skiers and snowboarding upon watching their tips dive under the snow is to tense up. Without relaxed legs, it's going to be a very jarring ride down as you'll encounter unseen bumps and varied terrain buried under the snow.
How to Ski Powder Step 2: Keep your weight centered over both skis
Avoid leaning back (if you find yourself consistently in the back seat on powder days it's probably time for a wider set of skis) and try to distribute weight more evenly between your downhill and uphill skis. In powder, you can initiate turns by simply 'tipping' the ski - anything more and you'll be sent tumbling over your downhill ski.
How to Ski Powder Step 3: Start small
Start slow, and with small turns. It's going to feel awkward at first, so better to try tackling low consequence terrain before heading up the bootpack.
How to Ski Powder Step 4: Keep everything pointing (and looking) in the direction you want to go
Start out by aiming for exaggerated, round turns all the way down. It will feel unnatural, but these wider turns enable you to maintain control through the powder.
How to Ski Powder Step 5: Plan ahead
You'll notice pretty quickly that skiing powder is an unforgiving endeavor. You'll need to start planning two or three turns ahead, as last minute adjustments are often out of the question. Map our your route before you drop, and try to stick to it as closely as possible.
How to Ski Powder Step 6: Pedal to metal
Speed is your friend in the powder. Your skis will naturally rise to the surface as you gain speed, and as a result you'll have more control at faster speeds. It can take some getting used to, but don't be afraid to open up the throttle.
Here's a great video to reinforce some of these principles:
Our ski goggle lens color guide below should help to guide you towards the lens set up that works for you. Goggles are one of the most important pieces of gear you can buy for skiing and snowboarding, so it's important that you do adequate research and figure out the best ski goggles or best snowboard goggles for you. Any seasoned skier or snowboarder will tell you that your ability to see through your skiing or snowboarding goggles in adverse conditions can make or break your day on the mountain. To get you heading in the right direction, we've created this ski goggle lens color guide to help you settle on the best snow goggles for you.
Ski Goggle Lens Color Guide
Please see the below lens color guide for an explanation of each of our lenses, and how much light they let in (VLT in goggle terminology).
Low light orange
Ski Goggle Lens Color Guide: Explained
The lenses of your goggles are the most important part, and the aspect of the set that you should spend the most time thinking about. There are different lenses for different conditions, some that perform well in low light, others that perform better on bluebird days, and some that do a little bit of both.
Variable light transmission (VLT)
The amount of light a goggle allows to pass through the lens is called Visible Light Transmission (VLT). VLT is expressed as percentage of light allowed through the lens falling somewhere between 0% and 100%.Low light lensestypically have a VLT above 45%,everyday lenseshave a VLT between 15-30%, andpolarized lensesare usually below 10% VLT.
Cylindrical vs. Spherical
Cylindrical lenses curve horizontally while remaining flat vertically while spherical lenses curve both horizontally and vertically in a more "bubbled" style. While you won't notice a huge difference between the two, spherical lenses tend to have a slightly bigger peripheral field of view, while cylindrical lenses tend to distort light a bit less. Neither of these differences are significant, and you are likely better off just choosing whichever style you like best. Any commentary on significant benefits of either style is just marketing speak.
When light is reflected off certain surfaces, it tends to be reflected at higher intensity through angles perpendicular to the surface. By acting as a filter of vertical light,polarized lensesare able to cut glare much more effectively than a standard mirrored lens while improving overall visual clarity and providing increased contrast and definition.Polarized lensesare great for snow sports and reduce eye fatigue and strain.
These lenses automatically adjust to changing light conditions by darkening when exposed to stronger ultraviolet (UV) light and lightening when there is less UV light. The primary advantage of photochromatic goggles is that the lens will adjust to changing conditions, making it an extremely versatile option on days when the conditions are changing minute by minute.
Double lenses create a thermal barrier that reduces fogging significantly compared to its single lens counterpart – a single lens goggle just won’t cut it for skiing or snowboarding. All of ourgogglescome equipped with this double lens technology.
Anti-scratch treatments can help keep your lenses clean and free of blemishes, while a hydrophilic anti-fog chemical treatment to the inside of the lenses greatly reduces the goggle’s tendency to fog. All of ourgogglescome with both treatments. Check out our in depth write up onanti fog gogglesfor more info.
Ski Goggle Care
There are a few basic things you can do to greatly increase the lifespan of your goggles:
Get a case to protect them when you are traveling to and from the mountain.
Allow your goggles to dry completely before storing them. Never store wet goggles in a case or bag, and avoid storing them in a damp ski bag altogether.
Avoid setting the goggles down on any kind of hard surface in the lodge or at home after your ski day is over.
Use a microfiber cloth to dab at the lens - both inside and out - after each session. Be gentle, you can wipe off the coatings if you are too rough.
Don't hang them from your rearview mirror, that's lame.
The question we get most often:
Q: How many different lenses do I need?
Some people can get away with only one lens option. For example if you only ski or ride in Colorado or Utah a few times a year on bright, sunny days, you will probably be fine with only an everyday lens. However, if you ski in a range of conditions, it is probably best to have multiple lenses to swap out.
The more time you spend in the mountains, the more weather conditions you’ll encounter. Having multiple lens colors on hand can help to maximize visibility and performance throughout the day, as the reality is that no one goggle lens can provide optimal visibility across the full spectrum of lighting and weather conditions.
Ski touring a logical progression for many who find their in-bounds resort experience leaves them wanting a bit more from their ski days. Ski touring is skiing or splitboarding in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas. As with any off-piste expedition, you will need the appropriate education, fitness level, and gear before embarking on your first ski tour.
Before heading out on any out-of-bounds expedition, you absolutely need to take an AIARE Level 1 course to familiarize yourself with how to travel in avalanche terrain. There are a number of courses that combine avalanche education with basic ski touring skill eduction, we recommend taking a course like this for beginners looking to get into ski touring. There is simply no substitute for learning from trained professionals, it may save your life.
Fitness can be one of the biggest perceived barriers to entry to ski touring. Thankfully, ski touring can take the form of anything from a short 1-mile jaunt to multi-day peak bagger. Ski touring is typically done at high altitude, so cardio strength and fitness is the most important factor. We've found that Leg Blasters are the most effective way to get in shape, and stay in shape, for ski touring.
Touring boots have a 'walk mode' which gives the skier a wider range of motion for the uphill portion of the tour. This makes for a far more pleasant touring experience and reduces the awkward motion and fatigue caused by walking in downhill boots.
Touring bindings are lighter than downhill bindings and are built to enable the heel to move freely away from the ski. While there a few different options here, it's important to know that weight and stability play a critical role here. If choose a lighter binding to ease your ascent, chances are that you may pay for it with a less stable downhill experience. However, new binding technology (the Salomon Shift binding, for example) is changing this perception.
Skins attach the bottom of skis and splitboards to create a surface on which the ski can grip as you move uphill. Skins keep the skis in place when placing weight on the uphill, and slide as weight is taken off of them.
Touring poles are adjustable, as you will often need to adjust the height of the pole while traversing over steeps or other instances when one side of the hill is significantly higher than the other.
You'll need a functional backpack with a size that is appropriate to the length of your tour. Check out our in depth look at ski backpacks to figure out which style of backpack is the best fit for you.
Shovel, Probe, and Beacon
You'll need all the proper avalanche gear and training for any off piste adventure. This is your most critical group of equipment.
We recommend a transition / photochromatic lens for most ski tour expeditions. It limits the amount of gear you have to carry (one lens does it all) and covers you through any conditions you might encounter.
While North Carolina might not be the first place skiers and snowboarders think about when they are planning a ski trip, there are actually a number of serviceable ski resorts in North Carolina to help you get your snow fix. Below, we've outlined some our favorite ski areas in North Carolina.
Skiing in North Carolina
Before we dive into the individual North Carolina ski resorts, it's important to understand what to expect when skiing in North Carolina mountains and the duration of the skiing season in North Carolina. Typically the ski and snowboard season in North Carolina begins around Thanksgiving and ends in March. While conditions vary year to year, we've found that the ski season is surprisingly comparable to other areas of the U.S. in terms of duration. The mountains in North Carolina are not as steep as you might find elsewhere, with most mountains only having a few lifts and limited vertical. That said, these mountains can certainly pack a punch and lead to a great day on the slopes.
Surprisingly, Beech Mountain Resort is the highest ski resort in the Eastern United States at over 5,500 feet. With a robust snow making program, Beech Mountain Resort is a good option for skiers and snowboarders looking for good skiing in Western North Carolina.
Another good option for skiing in Boone North Carolina, and less than two hours from Asheville, Sugar Mountain resort is a great option for any skiers and snowboarders in the area. With 100% snow making coverage you can bet on Sugar Mountain to have serviceable conditions throughout the winter.
Suitable for a wide range of skiers and snowboarders, Cataloochee offers something for riders of any ability level. If you enjoy the park, we definitely recommend heading towards the Cat Cage for the day!
If you're looking for the right ski backpack or snowboard backpack there are a number of things to consider. The biggest and most important decision is use case: are you looking for a day bag for in-bounds resort skiing? A light backpack for brief backcountry day trips? Or full on multi-day expedition backpacks? Below, we have compiled our favorite and best performing backpacks used by our team here at Glade:
Our go-to in bounds day ski backpack, the Ortovox Free Rider 18L is the perfect companion for a day spent a the resort. With a built in back protector, eight cushioned pads, and ski and snowboard fastenings, you're set for any in bounds hike or climb. The pack is compatible with any hydration system you might have, and has ample space for extra gear and layers.
The Osprey Kamber 32 is the ideal ski backpack for ski touring missions. The pack features multiple options for ski and snowboard carry and offers easy access to critical avalanche tools like your shovel, probe, and beacon. Ample space for gear, ice axe attachments, and critical padding are all included in this 32 liter pack as well.
Coming in a variety of sizes, the BCA Float series is the standard by which all other avalanche airbag ski and snowboard backpacks are measured. The bag creates buoyancy and decreases your burial depth but also protects your head and neck from trauma in an avalanche. The BCA cylinder system is also sufficiently lightweight, making for seamless backcountry travel.
Dry main compartment
Dedicated shovel and probe sleeves
Diagonal ski carry (optional snowboard carry attachment sold separately)
Dual ice axe carrying system
Compression formed back panel with internal support
Adjustable waist belt for optimized fit and sizing
What should I pack in my ski or snowboard backpack?
While your list of equipment to pack will change depending on the mission and whether you are going in-bounds or out of bound, there are some essentials that you'll always want with you. We recommend checking out our ski trip packing list to help you with this.
Choosing skiing and snowboarding helmets can be one of the most important gear purchases of the season. We are often asked for our opinion on the best ski helmets, but before we get into our picks for the season, here are the different features of a ski and snowboard helmet you should be taking into account:
Skiing and Snowboarding Helmets 101
The easiest way to make sure you have picked the best ski helmet is proper fit. The shake test is the best way to determine whether or not your helmet fits: shake your head up and down and side to side with your helmet on. Does it move around at all? If so, you'll want to readjust the fit or move to a new helmet size.
There are three main types of ski and snowboard helmet construction: In mold, hard shell ABS, and soft shell. The rule of thumb with helmet construction is that most / all helmets are designed for a single, significant impact. After one impact it is almost always a good idea to get a new helmet as the construction has likely been compromised.
Ventilation is important to keep air flowing through the helmet and preventing over heating. This helps keeps your goggles from fogging up and makes your ski day more comfortable. We recommend looking for helmets that have adjustable vents so you can adapt to changing conditions on the mountain.
There are a number of agencies that rate ski helmets for impact safety. In the U.S. the most common certification is ASTM F2040 - you should confirm that your helmet passed this certification before purchasing.
Best Ski and Snowboard Helmets for 2018 - Our Picks
The ultimate in low profile and lightweight protection. With MIPS technology and level 1 ventilation, we find ourselves reaching for the Pret Cynic X over every other helmet we've tried. Bonus: they fit great with our goggles.
Updatedwith a new compression formed convertible liner for this season, the K2 Diversion is a fantastic skiing and snowboarding helmet for someone looking for both light weight and safety. The Diversion's hybrid design combines the best elements of molded and hard shell constructions.
Made with MIPS technology, the Trooper II is our favorite high end free riding ski and snowboarding helmet. The helmet is one of the safest on the market today and includes built in audio capabilities and a 2 year warranty.
MIPS technology reduces rotational forces
TCF shell is lightweight yet strong and rigid
EPS foam provides shock absorption
Impact Shield inserts distribute shock
Occigrip adjustment dial for a custom fit
Other things to consider when purchasing a ski or snowboarding helmet
Compatibility with goggles
Most new helmets on the market have matched the curvature of the helmet to modern goggle styles. To be safe, you want to avoid goggles that are too tight (pushing the helmet up off your head) or too open (leaving a gap between the helmet and goggles). Our ski and snowboard goggles are designed to fit with most new helmets on the market today.
Ski helmets serve as the main source of coverage for your head and face. You'll want a helmet that has adequate lining to keep you warm, and adequate ventilation to keep the sweat away. You don't want to be adding extra layers under your helmet (beanies, balaclavas) as this can change the fit of your helmet and compromise safety.
MIPS is a relatively new technology that consists of a "helmet-integrated, low friction layer designed to reduce rotational motion transferred to the brain from angled impacts to the head." In short, this adds another element of protection that can help prevent certain head injuries.
With ski season rapidly approaching, we thought we'd whip up a list of some of our favorite ski movies to get us fired up for the season. While there are certainly some older classics (Blizzard of AAAHs) as well as some campy Hollywood movies that everyone should see (Aspen Extreme), this list focuses on the relatively new wave of ski movies.
Ski Movies That Get Us Stoked For The Season
Few Words (2012)
Few Words takes us on a journey through the life of Candide Thovex, considered by many to be the best skier on the planet today. As inspirational as it is mind blowing, Few Words deserves a spot on every skiers must-watch ski movies list.
Shane McConkey and company show you how to be the best skier on the mountain. Spoiler alert: you get a lot more points for skiing naked. GNAR is perhaps one of the best ski movies at capturing the true essence of what it means to be a skier. In an industry that often takes itself too seriously, GNAR is welcome breath of fresh air.
Days of my Youth (2014)
A glimpse into a skiers lifelong journey of discovery, Days of my Youth is a poignant look at the highs and lows of a lifetime spent skiing. The first few minutes of Days of my Youth are surefire way to inject stoke straight into the veins.
Part environmental film, part shredfest, All.I.Can. is a masterclass in intertwining a powerful message amongst high octane entertainment. Powder Magazine said it best, "Ski movies are not supposed to do this--leave a sold-out, standing-room-only crowd searching for meaning outside of skiing."
Maybe the most widely popularized movie on the list, we'd be remiss if we didn't include a snowboarding focused movie. Art of Flight without a doubt goes BIG, and is still considered one of the most progressive snowboarding films ever made. Stunning imagery and out of this world talent make this a ride worth taking.
When it comes to buying the best ski socks, it is paramount that you find a pair that is comfortable, warm, and durable. We've had our fair share of mishaps with ski socks, so we thought it would be helpful to outline what you should be looking for, and some of our favorites.
Ski Socks 101
Socks come in a wide breadth of materials. The biggest thing here is to avoid cotton at all costs. Merino wool typically does the best job of moisture wicking and warmth at an efficient weight, but you might have to pay a bit more for this luxury.
The weight of the sock directly effects how warm the sock will be in your boot. This is largely dependent on where you ski and the conditions of the day. Typically anything around mid-weight is sufficient for everything but the coldest of days.
Many ski socks have padding on various parts of the sock to improve comfort on the mountain. If you suffer from shin bang, padding on the shins can help mitigate painful contact with your ski boot. If you have some hot spots in your boots, padding on the ankle, foot, and toe can help relieve some of this pressure as well. If you find that you are perfectly comfortable without padding it's probably not necessary, but it's worth considering if you have foot, ankle, or shin pain throughout the day.
Our go-to socks in just about every scenario. Darn Tough is a Vermont based brand that makes ski socks at the highest level - with a lifetime guarantee. The Function 5 socks are made with merino wool and were developed with boot fitters to protect the 5 most common pressure points.
Another crowd favorite, the Smartwool PhD socks are built to last and offer great warmth to weight ratio. We've found this sock to versatile, turning to it for both in bounds resort days and touring expeditions.
A lot of our customers ask if our goggles are suitable to be used as snowmobile goggles as well as for skiing and snowboarding. As snowmobiling often takes place under the same conditions as other alpine sports, our goggles are well built for a day spent on the sled. That said, there are a few specific lens types you'll want to look at if you're going to use our goggles for snowmobiling rather than skiing or snowboarding.
The main thing you want to look for in snowmobile goggles is ability to mitigate fogging and handling variable light conditions.
With this in mind, we're happy to answer any questions you may have about our lens technology or suitable for a day spent snowmobiling. Just ask!
Snowmobile Goggles - Changing light conditions
Because of the long days and huge amount of terrain covered in an average snowmobiling excursion, you need to make sure you are prepared for all light conditions. We recommend pairing an everyday lens with a low light lens, or going with an all in one photochromatic lens to help mitigate glare and cut through cloudy, overcast, or snowy conditions.
Snowmobile Goggles - Fogging
You absolutely need a pair of goggles that have robust anti-fog features. All of our goggles come with double lenses, anti-fog treatment, and ample ventilation. We're so confident that our goggles won't fog up that we offer a free replacement pair up to one year after the date of purchase!
The Glade photochromatic Flux™ goggle is our most innovative technology packed into one lens. The lens tint changes with the conditions so you are covered in everything from bluebird days to blizzards. With no need to swap lenses, this goggle affords you the luxury of one less thing to worry about while bombing through variable conditions and unknown terrain.
The Glade Pulsar™ goggle comes standard with a polarized lens, anti fog coating, anti-scratch treatment, low light lens options, and a lifetime warranty. The perfect everyday goggle, the mirrored lens reflects glare and keeps your eyes protected during long days on the snowmobile.
All lenses come polarized
Magnetic lens/frame connection for easy transitions
Rimless design for maximum peripheral field of view
We get a lot of questions from our customers about what skiing and snowboarding gloves we recommend. While there are a number of different factors that go into this decision, we've created a basic outline for how you should think about buying gloves as well as some of our favorites on the market today.
Snowboarding Gloves and Ski Gloves - Gloves vs. Mittens
A common debate amongst skiers is ski gloves vs. mittens. Ultimately, you have three separate configuration options with your ski and snowboard glove set up: glove, mitten, and lobster claw. Mittens will be the warmest, but you will sacrifice a bit of dexterity for that added warmth. Lobster claw gloves are usually a good middle ground, and gloves are less warm but offer the most control and dexterity. If you choose to go with gloves, we recommend pairing the set of gloves with some warm liners as this way you're prepared for any temperature conditions you might encounter.
The Best Ski Gloves and Best Snowboarding Gloves for 2018/19
This three finger ski and snowboarding glove is the weapon of choice for our team here at Glade. A great middle ground between glove and mitten, the Hestra Leather Fall Line stays warm through any conditions while still allowing us to have great range of motion in our fingers and hands. We think this is the best ski glove and snowboarding glove on the market today for everyday use.
For warmer spring days many on our team choose the Dakine Phantom glove. The breathability and snug fit mean you'll have maximum pole grip and you can avoid hand sweat on those bluebird April days. At only $100, it's a decent deal as well.
INSERT: GORE-TEX + Gore Grip technology / Waterproof and breathable
For ultra cold days we turn to the Black Diamond Mercury Mitten. At $110, in terms of warmth it's the best bang for your buck you can find. The split fingered liner helps avoid the traditional 'mitten' feel.
100% waterproof BDry insert stays with removable liner
Lightweight, abrasion-resistant, Pertex Shield shell with four-way stretch
Removable liner features 340 g PrimaLoft Gold Insulation and high-loft fleece lining
Goat leather palm, plus palm patch with Kevlar stitching
The Give'r 4 Season Glove is a great insulated glove for warm days on the slopes, a day spent snowmobiling, or working outdoors in the cold. While we wouldn't recommend this as a "do everything" ski glove, it is a versatile option for those looking for a work glove to keep them warm in a variety of situations.
100% Waterproof All-Leather Glove
Customize with hand-branded initials (up to 3 characters)
Optional All-Natural Wax Coating
40 gm Thinsulate Insulation Lining
Other things to consider when buying skiing and snowboarding gloves
Synthetic vs. Leather Gloves
Without getting too deep into the details, we almost always going with a leather glove over a synthetic ski or snowboard glove. Leather is naturally water resistant, and when treated can be completely waterproof. We've found that leather gloves tend to last longer and are more pliable than synthetic gloves, but a bit pricier.
The purpose of the cuff is to keep snow from getting inside your jacket. Because jackets come in many shapes and sizes, we recommend pairing your cuff to your ski jacket. This means your cuff style will largely be personal preference - as there isn't a huge different between short or long cuffs as long as the snow is staying out of your jacket.
The waterproof characteristics are the most important part of your ski glove beyond the warmth. A good skiing and snowboarding glove both prevents water from getting into the glove and allows sweat and other water vapor to escape through a breathable membrane. Breathability is really the key here, as most low end gloves prevent water from entering, but are lacking on the breathability front leaving you with sweaty hands all day. If you ski in drier climates (Utah, Colorado) waterproofing isn't paramount, but this is still something to keep in mind when purchasing skiing gloves.
If you are concerned with having dexterity to maneuver poles, helmet straps, and jacket zippers, it probably makes sense for you to look into getting a pair of gloves with additional liners for especially cold days. Unfortunately dexterity and warmth are often a trade off.