Heresy: Are powder days worth the hassle?

Are powder days worth the hassle?

  • I'd step over my sick mother to get a shot

    Votes: 29 25.4%
  • I'll go but only if the lines are short

    Votes: 24 21.1%
  • Probably not, it'll be tracked out in 3 minutes anyway

    Votes: 9 7.9%
  • I'm a powder hound if I'm already on the mountain when it's snowing

    Votes: 36 31.6%
  • Nope, hate the traffic, hate the lines, and all the good groomers are covered

    Votes: 8 7.0%
  • What's a powder day?

    Votes: 8 7.0%

  • Total voters
    114

Paul Lutes

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If we're talking about Perfect Powder (bluebird, no wind, temps in the high teens/low 20s, zero crowd allowing delayed start to let the proper light develop, after the perfect cup of Ti Kuan Yin Oolong/Kalimpong Darjeeling (1:1) tea, with equipment and clothing completely dialed in .... then maybe yes, maybe no.
I used to chase storms, lots of excitement on the drive and the hill, occasionally completely skunked - it was easily worth it back then, when I could still see. Now, not so much.
Time for the next generation to experience the thrills. You can have all my pow days if I can have all your clear days with perfect grooming.
 

4ster

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Powder days are way overrated, or at least what most people think are powder days. The whole rope drop frenzie is ridiculous & as far as I’m concerned deep, cut up powder might be my least favorite condition to ski.

I couldn’t decide if I would “step over my sick mother” or “if it’s snowing & I’m already on the mountain”. Either way untracked snow in most any form is amazing & worth it at almost any cost, tracked powder... meh :huh:

This was yesterday, it was only a few inches, it was wind affected, l had to second guess the Snow safety crew, I had to wait a long time, l had to hike faster than kids half my age & l needed luck. It should not make sense to most but for me it was worth it...
..
 

Green08

Front Range Skier
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I like fresh soft snow conditions. But skiing powder I am "meh"

1) I don't have the skis or the developed skills to really take advantage of a true powder day.
2) Powder days usually mean I need to clear my driveway of snow, and traffic getting to the mountain is going to be a struggle.

If I am there already at the mountain and its snowing, or somehow the timing left my driveway and roads in good shape I will have as much fun as I can.

The truth is that magazine cover photos are rare times, and there is far more about skiing that can be a "best day ever" than just knee deep blower pow.
 

pchewn

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I ski Mt Hood at SkiBowl, Timberline, and Mt Hood Meadows. I will watch the weather prediction and choose to go on days with a good chance of new snow. I would guess that I get new snow runs about 1/3 of the days I ski. Some of it is picking the right days and some of it is just that it snows so much ....

The past 2 weeks have been outstanding.

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Sibhusky

Whitefish, MT
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It depends on if it's actually powder or not. I like blasting through the knee deep fluff that's so light you don't feel it, but feel otherwise about just deep muck. I also prefer my powder to arrive Monday to Thursday. Powder Fridays I'd rather avoid. And Powder Sundays are okay if it's 5°F or below (that may apply to Powder Fridays as well). Monday-Wednesday was outstanding here, but I only skied Tuesday. It was excellent and my legs still hurt.
 

David Chaus

Blissfully unencumbered by the facts
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It depends on if it's actually powder or not. I like blasting through the knee deep fluff that's so light you don't feel it, but feel otherwise about just deep muck.
I’m sorry....what? What is this light fluff of which you speak? We don’t have any of that here. What people around here call “powder” is apparently actually “deep muck.”

It’s work, but it’s still kinda fun.
 

karlo

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I ski in the East, so it’s not like there’s much choice in the matter. To powder ski, I go where there’s powder and work for it in the backcountry, not that I’m doing a lot of work. I’m happy with half or less the vertical in a day than many, but it needs to be aesthetic.

I don’t see an answer that applies, so no vote
 

Mike Rogers

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Calgary
Speaking of like lemmings to the sea.

I was there that day! I actually was at the top of white pass about 5 minutes before the rope drop. Instead of waiting with the crowds, I skied the 5th anaconda chute. First tracks, and I was alone.

It actually enters the same bowl, but it's a bit out of the way, and the trees are tight...and the first few chutes were skied out...having opened a few hours earlier.

Rope drops aren't fun
 

fatbob

Making fresh tracks
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Those sort of Chinese Downhill rope drops are fun once or twice as a sort of Running Man game where you can tell stories after of the crazy of seeing people skied over if they fall etc. But generally Gone in 60 seconds. Interestingly I've been taken out by a buddy's sluff on that skier's right wall in far less contested conditions. I
 

Mendieta

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The whole rope drop frenzie is ridiculous
That's the key to me. For me, skiing is an outdoor activity more than a sport. Perhaps because I suck at the latter and I enjoy the former :D I choose to be in rather desolate areas and take the beauty in. The lovely feeling of powder adds to it but is not essential. A crowd of people yelling and falling and cutting in front of each other? No thanks.

This, I can do all day long :)


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4ster

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I'm just curious as to how others perceive a full on powder day. At my home mountains I don't feel the urge to stand in line for two hours waiting for the lift to spin to get a chance at maybe one or two open powder shots. That's if there isn't a crash on the road to the hill.
This is a good description of why I left Tahoe 20 years ago. If the roads weren’t tangled with people who have no winter driving skills or closed due to avalanches, once you got to the ski area most of the good terrain may be closed because of avalanche danger or lifts on windhold. I mostly got sick of sitting in traffic waiting for roads to open.
The problem is that the masses are catching up with me but here I am, up at 5am shoveling my driveway in a blizzard so I can go wait for lifts that may not open :doh:
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As the song says “ I might be moving to Montana soon“ ;)


I was there that day! I actually was at the top of white pass about 5 minutes before the rope drop. Instead of waiting with the crowds, I skied the 5th anaconda chute. First tracks, and I was alone.

It actually enters the same bowl, but it's a bit out of the way, and the trees are tight...and the first few chutes were skied out...having opened a few hours earlier.

Rope drops aren't fun
One of my few days at Fernie I got to be part of the rope drop once there at the top of White Pass Lift. Although there were not nearly as many people as the video, there were a lot. We were pretty close to the front but while everyone continued the traverse out further we got an awesome run just dropping in early without a bunch of lemmings.
 

Tom K.

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Gotta agree on the best (resort) days being those when it keeps snowing.

We had one this week. Four inches of new as of 6 AM and it snowed another 8 inches by noon.

Just nuts, in a good way!
 

Crank

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I love powder skiing.

Places like Snowbird are good ones to avoid on a powder day though.

I look off the beaten path. And sometimes on the beaten path can be great when others are focused elsewhere fresh tracks can sometimes be right in front of you.

When you see that crazy rope drop video from Mineral Basin what you are missing is that those nuts want to get up that lift early because there is a lot of terrain up there you can only access from the MB chair.

If you like pow over steep, hit Pow Mow instead. That said snow totals in the Wasatch can be extremely localized and sometimes you just gotta go where it snows.

No friends depends. If I am skiing with people who are not skilled and are falling and flailing I am going to ditch them. I am not going to snake a friend's line though :cool:
 
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stan51

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I usually get three or four runs in before opening, So an overnight snow is fine by me.

Hey! Someone needs to check out those trails! ;-)
Yup, I may have to stop along the way to clear fence lines and check bamboo, but on the morning after an overnight snow, it can be delightful. I got invited on a bomb run by the pros earlier this year, preparing to open terrain for the first time this year, and the never-tracked powder we got to ski on our way out was the sort of snow that people pay thousands for!!!
 

KevinF

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4” last night in Snowbird with 8-12” forecast for today. I’m sitting on the UTA bus stuck halfway up the canyon. Driver’s radio is squawking with news about cars off the road up ahead.

Let the nuttiness begin!
 

Tom K.

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4” last night in Snowbird with 8-12” forecast for today. I’m sitting on the UTA bus stuck halfway up the canyon. Driver’s radio is squawking with news about cars off the road up ahead.

Let the nuttiness begin!
OUCH!

I love powder but that's over the line, and one of the reasons I'll probably never ski Altabird again. I already contend with a home area that serves a couple million people. Vacations will be nowhere near major metro centers!
 

Jerez

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Well it is a powder day today and I am at home still nursing a horrid cold. Was going to ski anyhow but prudence won, so I guess I should change my vote.

That said, there really is nothing quite as sublime as really deep untracked powder on a steep slope. I have cat skied and skied many textures of powder but had that ONE day last February 23rd.

It was not super light powder and required some faith to ski it fast enough and without much turning to make it work. While most folks made haste for the top of the mountain, I had clean tracks 5 times down a short steep shot called Bozo and Bozo glade and second tracks down a narrow line known as telephone line. The snow was literally over my head. I was choking on it. I dream about it still. It was otherworldly and effortless. Yeas that was worth getting up in the dark and fighting traffic. But my runs were uncrowded and peaceful. After it was tracked we skied lines in Big Rocks that are unskiable ...at least for me.... most years.

I would never want to do what those rodeo videos showed again. You can't savor that. I'd much rather ski bumps.
 
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