The Effects of Different Ski and Snowboard Terrains

The Effects of Different Ski and Snowboard Terrains

Different terrains can drastically affect your ski and snowboard experience.

One expert on moguls may be a stranger to powder.

In the same way someone who has conquered well-groomed, steep verticals may not perform so well on icier, yet flatter surfaces.

Skiing and Snowboarding requires different skillsets for different terrains. Though we often assume that a rider’s unique method of tackling a run has to do with their personal style, it generally is more so associated with the type of ground on which they do most of their training.

So what are the different types of terrain and how do they affect your performance on the slopes?



Groomed Run






Icy Terrain. Ski. Evolve

Steep Vertical

steep. ski. snowboard



moguls. evolve. ski. Snowboard

Groomed Runs are runs located on terrain which has undergone a careful placement of snow. Tractors, snowmobiles, snowcats, and other snow-maneuvering equipment allow ski resorts to predetermine the base conditions of different runs. The Grooming of runs involves the moving, flattening, rototilling, and compiling of snow.
Powder Runs are un-groomed trails with a fresh and untouched layer of soft, forgiving snow.
Icy terrain ….is exactly as it sounds… not appealing.
Steep terrains call for high verticals and speed control.
Mogul terrain makes up all of those run covered with lumps and bumps. Those lumps are formed from skiers taking the same route, clumping the snow into piles. Over time, moguls change in size and difficulty level based on the number of skiers tackling them.
Moguls differ based on snow conditions, the gradient of the slope, and the average level of skiers traversing the obstacle.
Skiing over groomed terrain requires less pivoting and more edging. Skiers rolls over the insides and the outsides of their toes when switch from one edge to the other.
They hold a solid upper body and allow the lower body to move free of upper body constraints.
When skiing on powder terrain, skiers opt for fatter skis and position their weight over the narrowest point of the ski.
Skiing through powder requires more balance, since one ski might fall deeper in the snow than the other. To avoid this, distribute your weight evenly and move your skis in synergy – keeping them closer together and moving in parallel. Also, avoid leaning back.
Skiers battling icy terrain should shift their weight from one ski to the other. Feet should be kept well apart for optimal balance.
A key tip is to lead with your skis, follow with your lower body, and allow your upper body to be pulled into the movement.
Skiing on steep runs requires pushing out towards the tongues of your ski boots.
It is also recommended to get as close to the ground as possible, be it through a more aggressive crouch or shortened ski poles.
To ski through moguls. skiers use short and strong turns, digging in deep with their poles.
They target a precise turning area in the limited space that they have.
Snowboarding on a groomed run offers a limitless number of possibilities. Generally snowboarders opt to improve their carving techniques and overall skills when boarding on groomed runs.
When snowboarding in powder, it is important to get your nose as much off of the snow as possible. For this reason, a rocker snowboard, or else a stance closer to your tail is optimal.
Lean back, to raise your nose out of the powder, putting more weight on your back foot.
Also make sure to avoid edging and to turn less aggressively.
When snowboarding over icy patches, you’ll want to bend your lower joints and flex your ankles in order to cut your edge deeper into the ice.
A recommended technique is to use slarve turns (midway between carving and slide turns) to conquer the ice.
Snowboarders aim to stay close to the ground while using pivot turns to control their speed.
Pivot turns include keeping the front foot grounded while swinging the back foot from side to side.
Snowboarding through moguls is not recommended.
If doing the challenge, bend your knees to absorb the shock, and level your shoulder with the board to maintain your balance.
Try making your turns when you are at the tops of bumps, switching your edge-side as you jump from uphill to downhill.