Charlie Raposo: 5 things I love about hitting powder

Britain’s number one Giant Slalom skier on his love of deep, floaty snow

Charlie Raposo is Britain’s number one Giant Slalom skier at only 20 years old. Having had a rather unorthodox childhood, which saw him growing up skiing in Verbier, before moving across the pond to join a ski academy in Vermont, he’s spent much of his life on snow. Although his goals might consist of winning medals, when he has a day off he likes nothing more than clicking into his fat skis and shredding the deep stuff.

It’s different from racing

Although what we racers do is immense fun, the actual concept can be monotonous. We’re training on different courses and in amazing places, but it becomes one dimentional once we start skiing the course. It’s all about how we can get faster. Powder skiing, on the other hand, is 100% different. Riding the deep stuff is when I feel serious appreciation for snow and the mountains and the power they hold.

It gives a feeling of freedom

Some of the most amazing experiences I’ve had have been with skis on my feet, and quite a few of those have been with fat powder skis. Powder skiing offers a freedom that racing simply can’t. In racing you’re constantly thinking about how to make speed, and what the fastest line is. That doesn’t exist in powder. When I ski on powder I feel like my body can move freely – it’s much like dancing your way down a mountain, with the snow bouncing under your feet and flying up into your face.

Being alone is empowering

One of my favorite parts about big mountain skiing – when you’re touring and away from the resort hubbub – is the feeling of being alone. When you can’t see any other skiers or lifts around you, and it’s just you and your friends in the big mountains… there is such power in that feeling. It makes me feel alive. One of my fondest memories is from when I was 16 and in Verbier; it snowed almost every night for two weeks straight and I was done racing for the season. One day some friends and I skied the backside of Mont Fort, a famous peak in Verbier. It was unbelievable. We were the only skiers over there, and the scenery was breathtaking. The snow felt bottomless and the skiing was unreal. Days like those help remind you why skiing is the greatest sport in the world.

It teaches you respect

Two years ago, two American friends of mine, both excellent ski racers, were skiing in Sölden, Austria. It was a powder day. Caught up in the excitement of getting fresh tracks they decided to duck a rope and ski a steep pitch off the side of the Sölden mountain. They had no avalanche gear, and they got caught in the slide. Tragically both were killed. The best way
to honour those boys, in my mind, is to make the most of every day on the mountain, but also to be safe when skiing powder.
So many people get caught in avalanches every year, and it is so important to know what is safe and what isn’t – and to have all the right gear.

It’s the best playground

The mountains are playgrounds, especially for off-piste and big mountain skiers. Every mountain has something different to offer. Powder can be experienced in so many different ways, from tree skiing in little resorts at low altitude, to massive, steep big mountain skiing at very high altitudes. Part of the fun is exploring and adventuring to find all these different powder playgrounds. I’ve had low expectations with some smaller, little-known mountains, but those have turned out to be some of my best experiences skiing powder. But all the experiences are made much more enjoyable with my Rossignol Soul 7s. Nothing can beat them: the Soul 7 is a ski that makes any terrain your playground.   

Charlie is sponsored by Rossignol