How To Progress from Beginner Powder Snowboarding to Heli Trip

How To Progress from Beginner Powder Snowboarding to Heli Trip

In this article, the focus is on progressing from beginner powder snowboarding to a heli trip. The author, Kevin, shares tips and insights gained from his own experience. He emphasizes the importance of riding with a group for safety, understanding the hazards of powder terrain, and developing specific skills such as keeping weight over the tail of the snowboard and reading the terrain to maintain speed and control. Kevin also recommends taking an avalanche course to be better equipped in case of emergencies and to have a healthy respect for the mountains. Overall, he encourages readers to build confidence, improve their skills, and enjoy the exhilarating experience of a heli trip.

Riding Beginner Powder Terrain

When it comes to riding beginner powder terrain, safety should always be the top priority. One important tip is to ride with a group of people. Riding in a group makes it easier to keep an eye on each other and ensures that everyone stays safe. It’s crucial to be aware of the hazards that can come with riding powder terrain, such as tree wells. Being knowledgeable about these hazards can help you navigate the terrain more safely. Additionally, when you’re just starting out with powder riding, it’s recommended to stay inside the resort. This way, you’ll have access to support and resources if anything goes wrong. Riding beginner powder terrain can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Riding Techniques for Powder Terrain

Once you’re comfortable with beginner powder terrain, it’s time to focus on improving your riding techniques. One key technique is to keep your weight over the tail of your snowboard. By doing this, you’ll keep your nose up and be able to float on top of the snow more easily. Adjusting the stance of your snowboard towards the tail can also make powder riding much more manageable. Another important skill is being able to read the terrain and maintain speed. It’s common to get stuck in the flats while riding powder, so reading the terrain ahead of time and maintaining speed across those flat areas is crucial. Lastly, spraying snow can help you control speed and stay in control while riding powder. By spraying snow out the side of each turn, you can effectively control your speed without losing momentum. These riding techniques will help you gain more confidence and control on powder terrain.

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How To Progress from Beginner Powder Snowboarding to Heli Trip

Progressing to Advanced Terrain

As you become more comfortable with riding powder terrain, you may want to challenge yourself by progressing to more advanced terrain. It’s still important to ride with a group of friends for safety reasons. Advanced terrain often comes with additional hazards, such as tree wells and cliff drops. Having a group of friends who can keep an eye on each other and provide support is crucial in these situations. Additionally, knowing where the terrain leads to is important for safety. Understanding the potential hazards and having an exit strategy can help you navigate challenging terrain more effectively. By progressing to advanced terrain with the right precautions in place, you can continue to improve your skills and take your snowboarding to the next level.

Controlling Speed on Steep Terrain

Controlling speed on steep terrain is essential for safety and maintaining control. There are a few techniques you can use to achieve this. One method is spraying snow. By spraying snow out the side of each turn, you can control your speed and stay in control. This technique allows you to release some speed without completely stopping your momentum. On really steep double black diamond runs, you may need to incorporate jump turns. Jump turns involve allowing your board to go down the hill for a moment before getting it on edge and regaining control. This technique is more advanced and requires practice, but it can be useful for navigating steep terrain while maintaining control. Additionally, learning how to absorb and extend your legs to handle pressure on your snowboard is crucial. Being able to handle the various pressures that come with riding steep terrain will help you stay in control and enjoy the ride.

How To Progress from Beginner Powder Snowboarding to Heli Trip

Improving Conditioning for Challenging Terrain

As you progress to more challenging terrain, it’s important to improve your overall conditioning to snowboard longer. Challenging terrain can be physically demanding, and having good endurance and strength will make your experience more enjoyable. Conditioning exercises that focus on leg strength, core stability, and cardiovascular endurance are beneficial for snowboarding. By incorporating exercises such as squats, lunges, planks, and cardio workouts into your routine, you can build up your stamina and prevent leg fatigue on long days of riding. Improving your conditioning will not only enhance your performance but also reduce the risk of injuries and help you enjoy challenging terrain to the fullest.

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Taking an Avalanche Course

For those considering a heli trip to explore more remote and challenging terrain, taking an avalanche course is highly recommended. While not required, the skills and knowledge gained from an avalanche course can be invaluable in emergency situations. Avalanche courses teach participants how to use avalanche gear, including beacons, shovels, and probes, and provide training on rescue techniques. These courses also give riders a better understanding of snowpack and weather conditions, helping them make informed decisions while riding in the backcountry. Moreover, taking an avalanche course instills a healthy respect for the mountains and their potential dangers, which is essential for safe and responsible heli trips. By investing in proper training and education, you can enhance your skills and confidence and have a safer and more fulfilling experience in the mountains.

How To Progress from Beginner Powder Snowboarding to Heli Trip

Advanced Riding Skills and Safety

Having advanced riding skills and a strong emphasis on safety is essential for anyone venturing into challenging terrain. As you progress and build your skills, you’ll become more confident and prepared to take on any type of terrain. Advanced riding skills include the ability to navigate steep, technical, and variable conditions while maintaining control and stability. Being able to adapt to different snow conditions and terrains is crucial for a successful and enjoyable experience. Additionally, having a solid understanding of avalanche safety, backcountry protocols, and rescue techniques is vital for emergency situations. By continuously refining your skills, staying up-to-date with safety practices, and being prepared for any situation, you can fully enjoy the thrills and challenges that advanced terrain has to offer.

Managing Nerves and Expectations

It’s natural to feel nervous when undertaking new challenges or experiences, especially when it comes to heli trips and riding in more demanding terrain. Acknowledging and accepting these feelings can help you manage them better. Recognize that nervousness is a normal part of the process and that it can lead to heightened focus and attention. Prepare yourself mentally by visualizing success and staying positive. It’s also important to have realistic expectations. Understand that progressing to advanced terrain takes time and effort, and it’s essential to build your skills incrementally. By setting achievable goals and exceeding your own expectations, you can boost your confidence and enjoy the experience to the fullest.

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Heli Trips: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

Heli trips are often seen as a pinnacle snowboarding experience, and they should be approached with careful consideration and preparation. If you’ve dreamed of taking a heli trip, it’s worth considering it as a bucket list trip. These trips are truly unique and offer the opportunity to explore remote and untouched terrain. However, it’s highly recommended to build up to a heli trip by gradually progressing your skills and experience. Heli trips can present more significant challenges, including variable snow conditions and exposure to potential dangers. By having a solid foundation of riding skills, safety knowledge, and mountain experience, you’ll be better prepared to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Embrace the thrill and beauty of heli trips while prioritizing safety and responsible decision-making.


Progressing from beginner powder snowboarding to a heli trip requires time, dedication, and the right mindset. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can safely and confidently advance your riding skills. Remember to always ride with a group for added safety, be aware of hazards and terrain, control your speed effectively, and continuously improve your conditioning. Taking an avalanche course is highly recommended for those considering heli trips, as it provides essential knowledge and skills to navigate the backcountry safely. By focusing on safety, building skills, managing nerves and expectations, and preparing wisely, you can fully enjoy the incredible experience of a heli trip. So get out on the slopes, progress wisely, and have a fantastic time exploring the wonders of powder snowboarding and heli trips.

Hi there, I'm Jesse Hull, the author behind AK Fresh Pow. "Shred The Knar There Bud" is not only our tagline, but also our way of life. As a Husband and Father, I embrace the thrill of conquering the slopes. Being a retired Infantry Paratrooper has taught me discipline and a love for adventure. Now, as a new snowboarder/skier, I'm embracing the freedom and adrenaline rush that comes with it. Alongside these passions, I am a full-time student at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska, continuously expanding my knowledge and skills. Join me on this exciting journey as we explore the beauty of the snowy mountains together.