Pack Vs. Powder in Snowboarding

Man Snowboarding

Most people think that once they learn to snowboard, they can take the skills they learned on the bunny hill and apply them to all kinds of terrain. The truth is, snowboarding on the packed snow of the bunny hill and most trails on the mountain is much different than riding through a couple feet or more of fresh powder. Learning how to ride in both conditions, and how to set up your snowboard for each, can help you advance your skills on both types of terrain.

Set Up for Packed Snow

There are two different binding placements recommended for riding on packed snow. Mounting your bindings on the center holes of the inserts will give you plenty of speed control and will allow you to turn easily. If you want to hit jumps or carve steep hills, having your bindings one inch closer to the tail will help you ollie higher and make more aggressive turns. Both of these set ups are perfect for digging into the hard packed snow for sharp turns.

Riding on Packed Snow

When riding on packed snow, you'll use the same skills you learned on the bunny hill but more aggressively. Keep your body centered over the board with your shoulders, hips and knees in line. Alternate pressure between your heels and toes to turn the board back and forth down the hill. Apply more pressure to carve deeper into the snow and make more defined turns. On packed snow, you can carve or do basic turns, or do a combination of each on every run.

Set Up For Powder Riding

Unless you have a board made for powder riding, you'll have to make some adjustments to your bindings to help you ride through powder and turn more easily. Move your stance from its position in the center of your board toward the tail two to three inches. Setting your stance a few inches back will put your weight a little farther toward the back of the board, keeping the nose higher in the air.

Riding Through Powder

When riding through deep powder, you want to lean back slightly and perform skidded turns on the surface of the snow. Leaning forward will sink the nose of your board into the powder and cause you to wipeout. Resist putting pressure on your heels or toes. You want to glide across powder instead of carving into it like you would on packed snow. Slowing down too much in powder can cause you to sink and get stuck.