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3 top tips to improve your off piste skiing – by heli ski guide Roko

You wake up, look out of the window, and there’s a pristine blanket of fresh white snow covering everything in sight. To make the most of those unforgettable powder days, here are some top tips to help improve your off piste skiing & heli skiing techniques – pulled together with the help of one of CMH heli skiing most experienced guides, Roko Koell.

1. Rhythm is the heartbeat of powder skiing
Rhythmic up-and-down motions are key when it comes to how to ski off piste. Begin with the ankles, knees and hips comfortably compact. Then extend upward, gradually flexing and extending the ankles, knees and hips, but stopping before the body is fully erect.  Create a consistent up-and-down rhythm while moving only within this range, always keeping your hands forward. If you stand up too tall your body will hang back whilst your skis accelerate forward – causing the infamous backward lean and resultant burning thigh muscles.

Top tip: the more equal both skis are weighted, the easier it is to maintain balance and to link turns together harmoniously and therefore the easier it is to off piste ski. The first turn is the most important turn, as it helps set your rhythm right; concentrating on proper pole plants will help you to maintain you rhythm and link your turns together.  Just following these simple instructions will greatly improve your off piste skiing technique.

Heli-Skiing with CMH
 

2. Timing is everything: patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet
When off piste skiing in the powder you need to exaggerate your movements, ski with longer turning movements and feel the sensation of skiing in slow motion. Patience and persistence are crucial factors when turning in deep snow to improve your off piste skiing technique. You need to push your feet gradually and continually against the snow in order to complete each turn. If you give up on your turning movement too soon, your skis will accelerate and run away from underneath you, resulting in an incomplete turn, the dreaded backward lean, and loss of control.

Top tip: to make nice round turns in the powder, count slowly to yourself “One, two, turn.”; be patient when beginning the turn and assertive when completing it. Resist the urge to force your turns to happen too soon, as this causes you to over-rotate.

3. Remember – speed is your friend
Just as an airplane is able to lift off at a certain speed and a speedboat rides on top of the water, skis float up and out of the soft mass of snow when propelled by proper speed. Powder snow produces resistance against our skis, boots and lower legs, making balancing and turning a great challenge for the novice powder skier. The solution is reaching a proper skiing speed, which reduces resistance between skis and the soft mass of the snow.
This “up-floating” speed promotes turning and balance (equal weighting over both skis) and allows you to get a rhythm going.

Top tip: until the appropriate speed is established with confidence, all effort and exercise is hard work and physically exhausting – don’t despair, have the confidence to get your speed up; think about skiing with a guide or instructor for a couple of hours to help build your confidence up and pull you out of your comfort zone.

Roko Koell is a CMH Heli Skiing guide and founded CMH’s Powder Introduction programme. Roko is a fully qualified U.I.A.G.M Mountain and Ski Guide, Level 4 Ski Instructor and Ski Racing Coach.

Check out Roko’s CMH Heli-Skiing Powder Introduction film…

For more information and details of our trips, check out our heli skiing trips and our off piste skiing trips.  Or, to find out more have a read of our what is heli skiing page.

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Heli Skiing for First Timers – What are my Options?

Embarking on a heli skiing trip for the first time can be daunting and so we wanted to highlight some options specifically geared towards first time heli skiers. If you are a strong piste skier, have a decent level of fitness and are keen to start skiing in the powder then heli skiing could be […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Heli Skiing in Canada: 4 reasons why it’s special

If you’ve ever wondered why 95% of the world’s heli skiing operators are based in Canada check out our 4 reasons why heli skiing in Canada is a must for everyone’s bucket lists. ONE// TERRAIN They say size doesn’t matter, but in the case of heli skiing, Canada’s sheer scale makes it the perfect place […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Silver Star

Location: Located in the stunning Okanagan Valley, Silver Star is British Colombia’s third largest ski and is an unspoiled paradise where you can expect the famous champagne powder we all know and love.  The varied terrain spreads over the 3,282 acres (1,328 hectares) and attracts every kind of skier. Getting there:  Silver Star is extremely […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Sun Peaks

Location:  Having added two new Alpine zones to their ski area in the 2014/2015 season, Sun Peaks has become the second biggest ski area in Canada, behind Whistler.  It is the perfect warm up destination for anyone who is heli skiing at CMH’s Cariboos Lodge. Getting there:  Easily accessible, Sun Peaks is about a 50-minute […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

How is snow formed?

As skiers we are obsessed with those tiny little flakes falling from the sky – constantly on the lookout for the next powder dump and eagerly awaiting those cold mornings when you wake up to find a white blanket covering everything and the perfect powder skiing conditions! But a question we often ask ourselves is […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Do I have to break the bank to go heli skiing in Canada?

Floating through knee-deep powder with only your buddies to keep you company.  A helicopter waiting at the bottom of each run.  Being whisked up to the top of another glorious powder filled peak.  That’s what dreams are made of – but the key question is do you have to break the bank to make making […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

The Top 5 Heli Ski Lodges in the World

Pure Powder have put together their top five heli ski lodges in the world.   ONE// Deplar Farm, Iceland This first-class, modern lodge, located on Iceland’s Troll Peninsula, is a remote retreat ideal for thrill seeking heli skiers who enjoy the finer things in life.  As well as epic heli ski lines down to the […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Big White

Location: The third largest ski resort in British Columbia, Big White, is sandwiched between the Okanagan Valley and the Monashee Mountain range.  It has a fantastic reputation for its first-rate powder as it receives an average annual snowfall of 750cm. Getting there:  West Jet and Air Canada run daily flights to Kelowna Airport via Calgary […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

The Ultimate Ski Bucket List – Telegraph October 2016

Canadian Mountain Holidays named one of The Telegraph’s Ultimate Ski Bucket List: ‘The tension of waiting for the weather to break, the expectation as the helicopter rotors begin to spin, the eagle’s eye view of pristine wilderness peaks as you’re flown 
to the drop zone, the deep, dry snow you get to ride… all of […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Heli Skiing in Iceland – An Adventure of a Lifetime

The Telegraph have named heli skiing in Iceland one of their 50 adventures of a lifetime. ‘Ski from the mountain peaks down to the sea or fly-fish for salmon in glacial rivers accessed only by helicopters. You’ll be staying at Deplar Farm, the ultimate wilderness retreat located in a remote valley in north-west Iceland, surrounded […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder Sponsoring London Screening of ‘Ruin and Rose’

Come and join us on Friday 11th November at The Ham Yard Hotel, Central London for an exclusive viewing of MSP Films newest movie “Ruin and Rose”. We are absolutely delighted to be sponsoring “Ruin and Rose” alongside Surefoot London for the second year in a row.  This new 4K HD definition film features jaw-dropping action […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Top 10 Ski Blogs

Back in November 2010 we blogged about the ‘best ski blogs in the business’ and now, after some extensive research and deliberation we bring you our newest, hottest top 10 list… These blogs are set to bring you the latest news, fashionable destinations and first-rate tips and advice.  They are 100% guaranteed to whet your […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s CMH Heli Skiing UK Tour – October 2016

CMH Heli Skiing Presentations:  For over 35 years,  Pure Powder have been the exclusive UK representatives of CMH Heli Skiing in Canada – the largest heli ski operator in the world.   Each year Pure Powder team up with one of the CMH heli ski mountain guides and set about spreading the love for powder skiing on a […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Summer Adventures in Western Canada

When you think of Western Canada you think of winter.  You think of the cold and the rain and the snow.  What you may not realise is that a summer in the mountains of British Columbia and Alberta is like no other, there are so many activities to choose from, and it is breathtakingly beautiful! […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Heli Skiing in Chile – 5 Things You Shouldn’t Miss

If you’re missing the snow this summer, fear not – there is plenty of the deep powder skiing to be had in the Southern Hemisphere.  And arguably the best place to ski in summer is the central Chilean Andes; famed for it’s consistent (and big) storms and endless terrain this is explorative heli skiing at […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder feature in ‘In the Snow’

Heli skiing can seem like an impossible dream to many of us. You’ve seen the glossy magazine pictures, perhaps watched a video, but could you really do it yourself?  Most are happy on the piste, but never really see the “wow” factor of off-piste (which seems more like hard work!), and may never have the […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Pure Powder and CMH feature in Fall Line Magazine

Pure Powder and CMH feature twice in April 2015 ski magazine Fall Line.  “Heli-skiing: the ultimate trip of a lifetime.  Fresh lines all day, zero uphill effort, floating through bottomless pow, blah blah blah: sound alright.  Which is why my ski-mad husband and I used the excuse of ‘winter honeymoon’ to book this extravagant and […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

CMH feature in Fall Line Magazine: A Day in the Life of Doug Dykeman

‘Nobody knows the vast, shreddable terrain of Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) – which marks 50 years in heli-skiing last winter – better than Alpine’s chief pilot, whose precision landings have delivered trillions of vertical feet of thigh-deep fun’ To get your hands on the gripping article which takes you into ‘a day in the life of… […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Pure Powder and CMH Heli Skiing in the FT Weekend Magazine

Pure Powder and CMH Heli Skiing were featured in the 16-page ski special ‘Pink Snow’ article which celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of heli skiing.  We took Tom Robbins with us to Canada in order to uncover what all the hype about skiing with a helicopter is. “It is dark when we turn alongside the Columbia […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Pure Powder and Tatler Travel Guide 2015

Heli skiing in Canada with Pure Powder and CMH Heli Skiing was featured in Tatler Travel Guide 2015: “GOTHICS LODGE: Are you a hardcore ski junkie? Interested in nothing but the purest virgin snow (and the world’s best bragging rights)? We’ve found your holy grail. A short helicopter hop from Banff into the remote Canadian […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank