The Essence of the Powder Turn | Mountain Sledder
July 30th, 2019

The Essence of the Powder Turn

The essence of the powder turn isn’t found in its mechanics.

It’s the feeling the turn evokes—that flighty moment your soul is set free, floating a heavy machine on a substance lighter than water. Senders, drops and sidehills all pale in comparison to that one simple event in which human, machine and conditions collide in a brief surge of bliss.

Strong technique and years of experience aren’t required to carve deep snow; it’s one of the first things new riders usually figure out. To get started, simply transfer your weight in the direction you want to carve and counter-steer. A little past the halfway point, shift your weight in the opposite direction and bring the skis back to straight. Once the sled is upright and back to center, dive in the opposite direction and repeat the motions until you run out of fresh snow to carve. Yes, it really is as easy as that.


Photo: Brad Heppner / Rider: Cody McNolty

The deep powder turn is a picture of beautiful simplicity. It doesn’t demand the intense concentration of a technical, wrong-foot-forward line. Nor does it ramp up fear and adrenaline like a drop or jump. Instead, a flowing pow turn allows riders the freedom to immerse themselves fully in the pure feeling of the moment. One turn after another, it becomes easy to lose oneself in a hypnotic rhythm. To find a cadence that somehow, if undistracted, leads to curves in the snow that mimic each other in size, arc and depth.


Essence of the Powder Turn

Photo: Patrick Garbutt / Rider: Jordan Dechka


Dipping into a line of untracked snow initiates a brain-clearing reaction. Linking together deep powder turns creates a zen-like state that is all feeling, all instinct. This is the essence, the highest pinnacle we can reach—a flow state induced by the simplicity of the moment.


– Matthew