The Chalet at 11º East plays host to a myriad of different guests: experienced skiers, beginners, cross-country enthusiasts, winter hikers and powder-chasers.
Powder-chasers are the skiers that come from near and far to experience the Obergurgl area’s off-piste slopes and pristine powder hideaways. These slopes, in the unmarked ski area, are often stacked with sky-high powder snow that is both wonderful and difficult to navigate.
Whether you’re an off-piste enthusiast or you find yourself caught in an unexpected situation, it pays to know how to ski through this challenging terrain. Here are 5 tips on how to ski powder, from The Chalet at 11º East:
1. Safety First
We never recommend that anyone knowingly go into the unmarked ski area without the experience to back it up. Experienced off-piste skiers should be trained in safety and avalanche procedures, always carry an avalanche transceiver and check the current snow and weather reports before leaving the chalet.
We also recommend that you enlist a local ski-guide or certified mountain guide. You can explore that option here: http://www.obergurgl.com/infrastructure-summer?do=info&id=4178.
2. The Right Gear
Skiing deep powder is no easy task; start off on the right foot by ensuring that you have the proper ski gear. Start with your skis by checking out this guide from backcountry.com. Then, make sure you have comfortable boots, poles and WEAR A HELMET!
The Chalet at 11º East is always happy to accompany its guests to Sport Riml to ensure they get the best fitted equipment. Sport Riml boats an excellent stock of skis, boots helmets as well as clothing to ensure you get the most out of your holiday.
3. Rhythm and Balance
Rhythm and balance are the name of the game when it comes to skiing powder. Create a balance by keeping your skis equally weighted (as much as possible) and try to turn both skis as a unit. Make sure you keep your ankles, knees and hips comfortably compact then extend upward gradually, stopping before your body is fully erect. Create a consistent “bouncing” rhythm while moving only within this range. Your focus should be forward, on what is ahead of you, rather than right in front of you.
4. Don’t Lean Back
Powder snow can be tiring on your legs so you may feel the inclination to lean back and let your skis accelerate through your turn. This will cause you to lose balance and control. Ultimately, you may end up in a situation where you fall, blow a ski and have to retrieve it.
Instead, focus on your timing and exaggerating your turns to get through the powder. Be patient, despite the slowing sensation that powder snow causes, if you keep your rhythm you will eventually build up speed.
Skiing powder is not easy and requires practice! This snow creates a completely different sensation and you will need to work hard to get used to it. We recommend hiring a ski instructor to get the proper technique established and keeping up with interval training to build your stamina when you are not on the slopes.
Happy powder days from all of us at The Chalet at 11º East Obergurgl!