If you’ve been waiting for winter to start for months on end or you just can’t let winter go as the season winds down, you’re going to end up riding on slush snow eventually.
Just because slush isn’t ideal for skiing and snowboarding doesn’t mean you can’t have fun riding it though. We won’t tell you that riding slush is great, but here at ASO Mammoth we can tell you that with the right mindset, skills, and techniques you can have a good day skiing and snowboarding on slushy snow. Check out how below!
The most important part of riding on slush is to have the right expectations.
On a powder day people will push, shove, and cut line because the chance to ride untouched powder is too good to miss out on. The competition to ride powder gets even worse when a storm drops fresh snow when the mountain is full of local riders and tourists all vying for the best snow. Whether it’s the beginning, end, or just an unseasonably warm day in the middle of winter though, when the snow turns to slush there is no rush to the lifts and there are no crowds of people swarming the mountain.
If you’re riding on a slush day, enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and be focused on having fun instead of riding the best line. Whether that means giving out a few extra high-fives or just goofing off while you slide down the mountain, have fun doing it and you won’t even miss the powder.
Ride the Park
People may be less competitive and more relaxed when riding slush, but that doesn’t mean that the snow is great for skiing and snowboarding.
When snow turns to slush, it becomes heavier and wetter than snow in proper skiing weather. As a result, not only do skiers and snowboarders move slower over it but the snow actually creates a suction effect with a board or skis that keeps them from turning as they usually would. For this reason, slush days are great for riding in the terrain park where you rely on short run-ups and landings instead of carving.
Even if you’re not experienced with the terrain park, as long as you’re considerate of others the people riding there will help you enjoy the slush snow and develop as a park rider.
Watch Your Edges and Ride Mellow
If the terrain park isn’t your thing or just simply isn’t an option and you have to ride on slush snow, there are a few techniques that will help you do it as well as possible.
For example, snowboarders may notice that they’re catching their toes or heels when making turns in slush snow. The reason why is that as the snow softens snowboarders sink further into it, especially when making turns. To avoid catching an edge and falling into the wet snow, snowboarders should try to keep their weight centered over their board and slide through turns instead of carving on their edges. Although it may feel strange to experienced snowboarders, this technique will keep you upright.
Skiers face a similar problem when it comes to slush snow. Whether it’s because the soft snow won’t hold an edge or that it is simply sticking to their skis and keeping them from turning, slush snow can cause havoc for an unprepared skier. The solution is to keep your weight centered and return to the plough or sliding turns that you may have used when you were first learning how to ski. By keeping your weight away from your edges, you will lessen your chances of falling.