Crud, tracked powder, mank, ungroomed, wind-affected, coral, crust…the list goes on. While these snow condition descriptors range in texture, temperature and snow depth, they can all be grouped into one category: variable. 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 them 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.
Watch the video for a snap-shot or read on below for more info.
Four typical crud issues and how to fix them
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Skiers tend to set an edge at the end of the turn, but this will leave them leaning up hill 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.
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
- Maintaining a strong core stance will ensure that you do not get bounced around in challenging snow conditions.
- 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.
- Read the terrain. Look for soft snow that hasn’t been touched or has been softened by the sun.
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Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now living in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com as Director of SEO + Content, I've been able to combine a litany of skills, passions and interests. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.