by Wagner Skis / Nov 24, 2020

Season 3, Episode 2: Powder Skiing for Everyone – Roko

I would argue that no one has taught more people to heliski powder than Robert Koell, aka Roko. The Austrian skier grew up skiing to school and ski racing in his uncle’s ski school at a resort his dad built. He was a coach for the Austrian ski team and arrived at Canadian Mountain Holidays in 1989 with a plan to spend a year learning English before returning to coaching. More than 30 years later, he’s still guiding with CMH, rotating through the operation’s stable of lodges. He’s written training programs for CMH’s powder masters, enabling skiers in their 80s and even 90s to stay on skis. And he’s able to break down the techniques required to rip pow into bite-sized morsels revolving around the notion of up-and-down movement, creating a solid platform in soft snow, focusing on angulation of joints and eliminating bad habits. 

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[2:45] Skied to school as a 3-year-old in Austria’s Tirol.
[3:50] Injury as a ski racer pushed him into coaching. 
[4:45] Coaching for the Austrian ski team from 1986 to 1989. 
[6:02] Decides to stay with CMH
[8:14] Powder is an interesting medium, with all ranges of shapes, weights and feels. 
[9:00] Subtle difference between skiing hard pack and skiing powder “Build your own platform.”
[10:00] Dispelling the myth that skiing powder is for experts. Experts can ski chopped powder. Untrammeled powder is for everyone. 
[12:15] Equally weighted versus weighting each ski. 
[14:20] Overcoming intimidation by “seeing obstacles as friends.”
[15:30] Give people the feeling they are in control and "the scary things aren’t so scary any more.”
[16:40] Balancing the need for speed and control in powder.
[20:00] Motion is lotion. Don’t be static on skis.
[20:25] Vertical movement is the heartbeat of skiing.
[21:50] But keep vertical movement in a range. Not too high. Not too low.
[22:12] Handling the “fall-line effect.”
[24:20] Use small, linked turns to control speed in powder and maintain equal weight on both skis.
[26:50] Use bone structure to weight and unweight skis.
[28:30] Effective up-and-down movement using bone structure and momentum.
[31:00] Building CMH’s “Powder Masters Program” to help veteran clients in their 80s keep skiing into their 90s.
[34:40] Best advice is to think about angulation in shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.
[36:30] Every learning process begins with destruction.
[38:10] Learn the soft hockey stop to butter through sketchy terrain and variable snow.


"Motion is lotion.”

More episodes

S3, E1: Mike Douglas: The Godfather of Freeskiing
S3, E2: Roko Koell: Powder Skiing Is for Everyone
S3, E3: Doug Stenclik: Entering The Backcountry, The Gear & The Tips
S3, E4: Wes Wylie: Skiing and Healing, How to Ski Forever
S3, E5: Timing is Everything – Cody Townsend
S3, E6: More Than Just Avy Skills – Erik Lambert
S3, E7: Fancy Footwork – Ted Mahon
S3, E8: Be the Water, not the Rock – Skylar Holgate


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