July 16, 2018

Dave Contarino on How to Ski the Powder of the Southern Rockies

Powder skiAccording to Dave Contarino, no two ski slopes are the same. As an avid skier, Dave Contarino has witnessed novices and experts all struggle to come to terms with the soft snow of the Southern Rockies. In this interview, Dave Contarino provides a few tips about how to tackle these challenging mountains.

Interviewing Experts: Let’s get right to it. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from your skiing adventures?

Dave Contarino: Rule No. 1 is to stay balanced over the skis, which is easier said than done.

Interviewing Experts: What’s the expected weather forecast for the upcoming year? 

Dave Contarino: The Southern Rockies are expected to see a significant amount of snow this winter.

Interviewing Experts: How will skiers be affected?

Dave Contarino: The more snow this winter, the sooner and longer the double-diamond courses will be open. The Southern Rockies and Taos in particular are known for their softer snow.

Interviewing Experts: Is there a major difference compared to harder snow?

Dave Contarino: Very much so. If you catch the lower edge, perfectly acceptable on harder snow, the lower ski will slide underneath the snow, cross under the top ski, and you will end up falling.

Interviewing Experts: Is skiing too difficult for the average person?

Dave Contarino: Learning to ski is a gradual process. However, a few important tricks will help the skier manage the powder.

Interviewing Experts: Where’s a good place to start?

Dave Contarino: Keep both hands in front of the body positioned and downhill. Aim for a spot that’s about 6 inches outside of shoulder width.

Interviewing Experts: How should feet be positioned?

Dave Contarino: Plant the feet wide with your ski poles and move your wrists slightly.

Interviewing Experts: What about the arms?

Dave Contarino: Keep them from flying backward, or that will put you completely off balance.

Interviewing Experts: What’s next?

Dave Contarino: Narrow the stance just a tad, but not enough to where the skis are touching.

Interviewing Experts: It sounds challenging.

Dave Contarino: It should actually feel natural. Next, you’ll squat a bit, but not too much.

Interviewing Experts: OK. That’s more doable.

Dave Contarino: Remember that hands must stay forward at all times. Otherwise your weight will lean back and result in a crash.

Interviewing Experts: What’s an underrated trick that you can share?

Dave Contarino: Every once in a while, scrunch the toes. If this isn’t possible, you’re leaning back too far.

Interviewing Experts: What are the characteristics of skier’s overall posture?

Dave Contarino: Imagine making turns like zigzags. At the midpoint of the line, squat just a little and then slowly stand up. Time your turns for when you’re in this position.

Interviewing Experts: Interesting.

Dave Contarino: The approach should be “one ski, one turn.” Rotate the thighs completely and try to keep equal pressure on each of your skis for the whole run.

Interviewing Experts: This has been incredibly informative.

Dave Contarino: It definitely helps to have a certain amount of knowledge about the slopes so your experience can be enjoyable.

A resident of Kentucky, Dave Contarino regularly visits New Mexico to enjoy skiing the double-diamond courses of Taos.



Dave Contarino is a political consultant based in Louisville, Kentucky. Contarino currently serves as president of Contarino & Associates LLC. He has more than 25 years of experience working with political campaigns, candidates and government officials. Once known as the “man behind the governor,” Dave Contarino is a former Chief of Staff to Governor Bill Richardson and has helped several other Governors get elected to office. In 2012, he led multiple campaign committees and guided the successful campaign for Congresswoman Michelle Grisham, helping her defeat two higher profile opponents after starting last in the race.

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