Crud, tracked powder, mank, ungroomed snow, wind-affected, coral, crust…the list goes on and on. And while these snow condition descriptors range in texture, temperature, and crystalline variation, they can all be grouped into one category: variable.

Related: How To Ski Powder | A Guide

Sure, every skier and rider dreams of endless powder days, but the reality is that variable conditions are more commonplace and sometimes, just as fun if you know how to ski each snow type properly. We caught up with Professional Ski Instructors of America – American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) to glean some tips on how to ski and snowboard crud.

[Cover Photo: Barney Moss]

Watch the video for a snap-shot or read on below for more info.


For skiers

Jennifer Simpson at the Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen Snowmass shared a couple of the tips and tricks she uses to help her students crush crud.

Four typical crud issues and how to fix them

  1. Many skiers think turning in crud will be difficult, so they rush the turn. Rather, round out your turns, making your skis turn into and out of the fall line.
  2. Often skiers will turn their upper body to release the ski edges. Instead, use your legs. This gives you more options and control. Use “feet and legs go in first” as a mantra, says Simpson.
  3. Featuring lumpy textures, and sometimes buried moguls, crud requires skiers to stabilize their core and use supple, shock-absorbing legs. Think “loose legs, tight core,” recommends Simpson.
  4. Skiers tend to set an edge at the end of the turn, but this will leave them leaning uphill and on high-edge angles, says Simpson. Instead use just enough edge to accomplish the type of turns they desire. You want to guide the skis through the end of the turn and focus on the start of the next turn rather than the finish of the current turn.

For snowboarders

Tony Marci, an AASI Snowboard Team member and owner/head trainer at Snow Trainers in Copper Mountain, has some crud-specific insight for one-plankers.

Three elements to conquer crud

  1. Maintaining a strong core stance will ensure that you do not get bounced around in challenging snow conditions.
  2. Riders should actively steer the lower body with the front and rear legs, but also allow the ankles and knees to be relaxed enough to absorb the variable conditions.
  3. Read the terrain. Look for soft snow that hasn’t been touched or has been softened by the sun.

If you want another take, here’s a good one from our friends across the pond at Ski School by Elate Media.


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