Ogg

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Jun 3, 2017
Posts
1,071
Location
Long Island, NY
Totally agree. Till it gets pretty cut up.
Cut up powder can turn into soft bumps pretty quickly which is still easier than carving on eastern/midwestern boilerplate, IMO. I'm always a bit tense on the hard stuff because I *really* don't want to fall.
 

Crank

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Posts
1,359
I have some friends who will only ski powder. They have jobs that allow them a lot of flexibility and book trips very last minute. Almost always they go to Jackson Hole in January. I managed to tag along a couple seasons back and it was not any more expensive going last minute than it would have been planning months in advance.

Only problem was they mostly take the tram up and then head straight out of bounds so there is a bunch of hiking involved. I was completely exhausted after 3 runs! I wanted to ski some inbounds trees and chutes where I knew we could find some good, untracked snow but could not get anyone to go with me. We also did some skinning up the pass. Lots of great, untracked, super fluffy, deep snow but you had to work for it... Hmmm maybe cat skiing is a good idea.

That said, We lucked out at the 2 Gatherings I attended: Got to Aspen a few days early - about an hour before the 40" storm that lated for a couple of days started. And I got to Utah in time to ski a good foot of fresh at Snowbasin where thanks to some excellent guiding by 4ster and some terrain being opened for the first time that season, we were making fresh tracks all day!
 
Thread Starter
TS
David

David

"Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati"
Skier
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Posts
685
Location
Holland, MI
Cut up powder can turn into soft bumps pretty quickly which is still easier than carving on eastern/midwestern boilerplate, IMO. I'm always a bit tense on the hard stuff because I *really* don't want to fall.
Hardpack & ice are what we learn on here in MI. Until recently they groomed first thing in the morning in case it snowed overnight. And if it snowed 2" in a day they would close a run at a time to groom it so people could ski it and stop complaining! Put an ice rink on an angle and I'm right at home. Sad...
 

Mike King

AKA Habacomike
Instructor
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Posts
2,300
Location
Louisville CO/Aspen Snowmass
Hardpack & ice are what we learn on here in MI. Until recently they groomed first thing in the morning in case it snowed overnight. And if it snowed 2" in a day they would close a run at a time to groom it so people could ski it and stop complaining! Put an ice rink on an angle and I'm right at home. Sad...
One advantage that many hard snow skiers may have is that if they’ve learned how to engage a ski, bend it, and have the tail follow the trajectory of the tip, it’s not that much of a change to ski deep, untracked powder. If, on the other hand, your default move is to push the skis to an edge, you are likely to become quickly tired, not have much fun, and make a short day of it. Powder skiing is another place where finesse beats power, most of the time.

So, learn to stand in the center of your skis and let the skis do the work for you.

Mike
 

martyg

Out on the slopes
Industry Insider
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Posts
914
One advantage that many hard snow skiers may have is that if they’ve learned how to engage a ski, bend it, and have the tail follow the trajectory of the tip, it’s not that much of a change to ski deep, untracked powder. If, on the other hand, your default move is to push the skis to an edge, you are likely to become quickly tired, not have much fun, and make a short day of it. Powder skiing is another place where finesse beats power, most of the time.

So, learn to stand in the center of your skis and let the skis do the work for you.

Mike
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.
 

James

So much better than a pro
Instructor
Joined
Dec 2, 2015
Posts
10,779
One advantage that many hard snow skiers may have is that if they’ve learned how to engage a ski, bend it, and have the tail follow the trajectory of the tip, it’s not that much of a change to ski deep, untracked powder. If, on the other hand, your default move is to push the skis to an edge, you are likely to become quickly tired, not have much fun, and make a short day of it. Powder skiing is another place where finesse beats power, most of the time.

So, learn to stand in the center of your skis and let the skis do the work for you.

Mike
Definitely.
But it's amazing the number of pretty good skiers east who don't get this.
 

Guy in Shorts

Tree Psycho
Skier
Joined
Feb 27, 2016
Posts
1,414
Location
Killington
Sweetest words spoken was the guide at Irwin Lodge when he proclaimed "Looks like those boys from Vermont know how to ski in powder" after watching our group make a few turns.
 
Thread Starter
TS
David

David

"Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati"
Skier
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Posts
685
Location
Holland, MI
IMO it's easier for a Eastern skier to learn pow than a Western skier to carve ice.
My cousin raced out of JH in high school and was one of the best in the conference. Went to Dartmouth and couldn't set an edge.
 

CS2-6

>50% Chicken Fried Steak w/w
Skier
Joined
Aug 12, 2018
Posts
102
I hope you've only been skiing for a couple years
Been skiing every year since I was 4. I'm 35 now. Skied at Copper, Keystone, Tahoe, Whistler, but most of my trips have been at Wolf Creek and Purg (and a few trips to Taos/AF/RR/Ski Rio/Santa Fe, Lookout Pass, Dartmouth, but since we're talking powder, no point in even mentioning those). Every trip was 3 days or longer, most were 6 days on the snow.

But you're right, in that I do have a fairly high standard of a "powder day". I really only count it as a "powder day" if the snow is untracked and the conditions require a different skill-set than skiing groomers. I've had a fair amount of 6" days that really just amounted to soft mogul days. I've had a fair amount of tracked-out crud days that were a lot of work, but I have a hard time considering that "powder skiing".
 

Mike King

AKA Habacomike
Instructor
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Posts
2,300
Location
Louisville CO/Aspen Snowmass
I really only count it as a "powder day" if the snow is untracked and the conditions require a different skill-set than skiing groomers ".
I think it’s the same skill set just applied differently.
True, but there's a difference. In deep untracked snow, you are not likely to be able to push the skis around to an edge. When you ski powder on top of compacted or groomed snow, depending on depth, it is still possible to do so and get away with it.

Mike
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ogg

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Jun 3, 2017
Posts
1,071
Location
Long Island, NY
I think it’s the same skill set just applied differently.

True, but there's a difference. In deep untracked snow, you are not likely to be able to push the skis around to an edge. When you ski powder on top of compacted or groomed snow, depending on depth, it is still possible to do so and get away with it.

Mike
Agreed. No “cheating” allowed in powder.
 

jmeb

Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior
Skier
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Posts
3,234
Location
Colorado
I'd just keep in mind that the snow you are liable to experience cat skiing someplace like Steamboat or with Irwin guides is likely to be far different than your inbounds powder skiing experience. Except for very very remarkable days where you're skiing 40"+ of fresh inbounds, the unconsolidated snowpack of backcountry is a different experience.

The problem is -- unconsolidated backcountry snow is a really addicting drug. And it's an expensive drug in either money [for cats or heli drops] or time [touring].
 

Ken_R

Living the Dream
Skier
Joined
Feb 10, 2016
Posts
3,975
Location
Denver, CO
True, but there's a difference. In deep untracked snow, you are not likely to be able to push the skis around to an edge. When you ski powder on top of compacted or groomed snow, depending on depth, it is still possible to do so and get away with it.

Mike
The main issue I see in resort skiers when they encounter deep untracked snow is that they instinctively push or pressure on the outside ski much more than the inside ski during a turn. That doesnt end well. They go down quickly.

I find it best to stay balanced and just keep your COM centered on top of the skis. Same as you would do in very slick slopes.
 

mdf

entering the Big Couloir
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,154
Location
Boston Suburbs
Aside from the technique discussion, deep powder is a very different beast from shallow powder.

At 6 inches, you can mostly ski on the layer under the new snow, with the powder just providing a wonderful silky feel. (I will go out of my way to ski an inch or two of new snow just for that feeling.) In deep snow, you have to ski against the platform created by the float. And of course there is an in-between range that has aspects of each. I think the transition is complete at slightly over knee-deep, so maybe two feet?

You don't usually get days like that, you get runs like that (unless it's snowing or blowing enough to get free refills). Not only because of traffic, but also because of wind drifting.

I don't keep track, but probably somewhere around a dozen truly deep days lifetime.
 
Top