Buttering on skis is arguably one of the most stylish things you can do on the mountain. Throw a well-executed nose butter three under the lift and you are sure to turn heads. 

So with ski season on the way let’s learn how to butter on skis, the best skis for butters, and which pros are the best at buttering.

(Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links.)

Buttering on Skis Explained

A butter is a trick where you use the skis’ flex to pop off of the slope into a rotation. During the trick, part of the ski remains in contact with the slope, typically the nose or the tail. Butters can be done off any future, but they are usually performed on flat snow or off of knuckles.

(Resource: Love skiing? Learn how to be a ski bum and not be broke here.)

How to Butter On Skis

There are three skills in a ski butter, the pop, weight transfer, and the rotation. First, let’s look at all the skills on their own before putting them into a butter.

The Pop

The pop. This is the first part of a butter. It is the act of getting your skis into the air without a jump or lip. To pop, bend at your knees and hinge at your hips. Then explode up jumping off the ground.

The Weight Transfer

The next step is to learn how to transfer your weight on the nose or tail of your ski. To do this, lean into your boot and over your ski in the direction you want to butter. Slowly lean further and further until your nose or tail comes off of the ground. Then return to the neutral position.

The Rotation

The third step in a butter is the rotation. First, learn how to rotate on the snow. Start with a hockey stop 180 and move into a 360. From there learn how to do these rotations in the air. Tutorials like these are a great resource.

Now it’s time to put it all together. First pick a rotation, for simplicity we will start with 180. Then choose whether you want to nose or tail butter. Pop off of the snow and transfer your weight to the end of your ski. As you begin to flex your ski start to rotate. As you finish the rotation transfer your weight back to the snow and ride away cleanly.

I recommend learning 180s first. This is the foundation, but the sky’s the limit, these same three skills are used in every butter.

The Best Skis for Buttering

Choosing the right skis will dramatically impact how well you can butter. Softer skis will make it easier to butter, while firmer skis will require more effort. 

If you are a beginner you will want a softer ski because the tips and tails will be easier to bend. If you are more advanced You can use either a soft or stiff ski. A stiffer ski will require more effort and speed. Here are six types of skis that butter well in different types of terrain.

The Park

Soft: J Skis Allplay

These lightweight rippers are meant to butter and pop their way through the park and all over the mountain.

Stiff: Salomon NFX

These are park skis with a serious backbone. They will require a lot of effort to butter, but they have you back when you put down the landing gear on the 50 footer.


Soft: Line Sir Francis Bacon

In Line’s words it’s meant to spin, butter, and rip all over the mountain.

Stiff: J Skis Hotshot

This hard charger has metal underfoot and no speed limit. But the tips and tails still flex enough to help you spin those smooth nose butter threes.


Soft: Atomic Bentchetler

Watch any clip of Chris Bentchleter or Nick McNutt ripping these and you’ll see these things can spread it like Land O’Lakes. 

Stiff: ON3P Jeffery 116

This is a solid powder ski meant for going big with tips and tails that can still be buttered.

The Best Professional Skiers Who Butter

The best way to learn buttering on skis is to watch the pros. Check out these four professionals in the videos below. In my opinion these skiers are the best at buttering. The exact timestamps are below the videos.

Chris Benchetler

Chris Benchetler has shaped the face of powder skiing with his pro ski the Atomic Bentchetler. He resides on Mammoth, CA and can be found landing switch or driving his awesome van, The Stealthy Marmot.

Credit: GoPro

Butters take place at: 1:32, 3:37

Nick McNutt

Coming from Canada Nick McNutt is a style wizard. He lands backwards at least 50% of the time and has risen to become the star of the Teton Gravity Research movies.

Credit: Teton Gravity Research

Butters take place at: 1:16, 3:45

Candide Thovex

Arguably the godfather of freestyle skiing Candide Thovex is one stylish Frenchman. If you haven’t see his One of Those Days edits go check them out right now.

Credit: Faction Skis

Butters take place at: 0:58, 2:00

Henrik Harlut

Henrik Harlut might be the king of butters. His creativity makes him a free skiing icon.

Credit: X Games

Butters take place at: 8:10, 14:52

Learn How to Butter on Skis

Butters are an awesome trick to add to your arsenal, they can be done on groomers, in the pow, or the park. So get after it this winter and learn to butter. Also, if you want to learn how to ski all winter check out this guide, to how to be a ski bum.

I'm Sean. Owner of MTBS&F and self-proclaimed ski/bike bum. Catch me on the trails on the weekends and working out during the week.

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