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

KingGrump

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Rope drops aren't fun
The skiers at the rope drops are not there for the powder. They are actually there for the feeding frenzy.
If you are at the head of the pack, yeah. you'll get some un-tracked. Better keep up the pace otherwise the herd will mow you over. Basically the serenity of powder skiing is lost. The rest of the people in the pack is basically skiing trashed. One can get that anywhere.

The rope drop skiers are the same idiots that trampled each other at Walmart on black Friday. Same idiots who queued up in Time Square for hours in the bone chilling cold to watch the ball drop. FOMO.

I'd much rather ski bumps.
Bumps are nice. Quiet, peaceful and usually no one around.
 

SSSdave

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Issues about rope drops at big western resorts that receive lots of snow to open terrain is resort dependent. In other words, indeed at some resorts it is as bad and comical as some have experienced while at others it may be not be as lift structures, trails, and terrain vary greatly. Watching James post #50 second video noticed, the majority out front IMO wasted the experiencing racing down straight without making turns, obviously as I noted on my post #24 because the majority generally have mediocre powder skills to do so.

At Kirkwood, we have 2 areas of rope drops and both never have anywhere as many waiting as shown on those hilarious videos though there may be a few dozen people. The resort on average has some of the highest seasonal snow totals on the continent with a few massive dumps common each season. Typically rope drops occur after major multi foot storms a day after other slopes open because of avalanche concerns given all the steep terrain.

One rope drop is off Chair 10, Wagon Wheel, into Eagle Bowl that immediately has a mix of moderate advanced gradient and short very steep open slopes with rock outcrops that moderate to lower gradients with a few trees down low. Not a large zone so does not take much time to track out. However there is a way to avoid the majority dropping down from the rope by immediately traversing out and skiing beneath rocky cliff bands below Norms Nose that otherwise funnels skiers through a few chutes.

The other more common rope drop again with at most a few dozen waiting, is at the top of Chair 2, Caples Crest, to the lower area of The Backside where Chair 3 and 4 lift mazes reside with 4 presiding over a large area above. The Chinese downhill for the majority is not to powder ski but rather to race at warp speed to the lift line of chair 4 that above offers a large alpine expanse, the largest such at Tahoe resorts. Those reaching the lift first either then get to show off skiing moderately advanced gradient lines directly below the lift or race over to steep Thunder Saddle drops. More often there is no rope drop and the first modest number of skiers merely make their way to chair 4. And over the years I have been in the first chair and then been first to ski the line right below the packed with excited skiers/boarders lift as in image shot on subsequent ride up below shows, hearing exciting yells and whoops the whole way as they watch my bouncing style. A bragger for the ages especially when other hard core locals on the chair know who that guy is haha. And that 2006 bounce was on Volant PowerKarves @165cm that were only 73mm at boot, so no, one does not need fat skis to ski like that and my tracks look the same today on my 110mm at boot S7's.

ElevatorShaft_011906.jpg
 
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Spooky

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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!
There won't be anybody up there. It's really just that it snowed 3 inches in less than a hour and last week an avy ripped a car off the road. Most of the Bird will be on wind holds too. If my shin wasn't toast, I'd be lapping Sugarloaf at Alta alone on a day like this.
 

PNWRod

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I typically won't do weekend powder days. I enjoy powder days, groomer days, mogul days, corn snow days, fluff on groomer days, even icy groomer days. My only concern is that the snow stake is correct and when it says 20" it is really 20" of nice powder snow ( or more often heavy deep muck ) because I dislike going up with pow boards and finding out that what we really have is a bit of dust on a whole lot of crust. Recently one of the funnest days for me was a high speed groomer day where my son and I were the only ones on the lift or upper mountain runs.
 

Spooky

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There won't be anybody up there. It's really just that it snowed 3 inches in less than a hour and last week an avy ripped a car off the road. Most of the Bird will be on wind holds too. If my shin wasn't toast, I'd be lapping Sugarloaf at Alta alone on a day like this.
Hold my beer.....
 
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4aprice

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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!
I love storm skiing when I'm on vacation, not in a raging noreaster here on the east coast. I also have places or parts of resorts that I like go to for storm skiing and that in itself could probably be good fodder for a separate thread (Places to storm ski). Vision is extremely important for my skiing comfort and I've been caught in several whiteout's where its survival and not fun, but most resorts and ski areas have nooks and crannies (trees and lesser skied terrain) where the snow is soft and the vision good and surprisingly the people aren't. Just as a example, many years ago I hit a day at Loveland where it really started to storm and no vision. At that time (don't know if this is true anymore) chair 3 down at Loveland Valley was operating and me and a buddy of mine literally had the place (and all the freshly falling snow) to ourselves. A little knowledge and planning can make for fun days
 
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Andy Mink

Andy Mink

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Mt. Rose got about 8" yesterday/last night. Zephyr chair was packed and stayed that way for a while. Northwest was fine. I chose NW, took my time, and have had a good time finding little 3 or 4 turn stashes off the groomers. Trees on Rose side are fun. Slide trees were tracked out about 32 seconds after the chair unloaded.
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20200117_101852.jpg
 

KevinF

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There won't be anybody up there. It's really just that it snowed 3 inches in less than a hour and last week an avy ripped a car off the road. Most of the Bird will be on wind holds too. If my shin wasn't toast, I'd be lapping Sugarloaf at Alta alone on a day like this.
Snowbird has only Gadzoom spinning and nobody is loading. Patrol is saying that everything still slides. They’ve paused once or twice to let things settle but then it just starts sliding again.

Basically after saying that I would never wait for hours —that’s what I’m doing. Road is closed so it’s not like I have anything better to do.
 

Spooky

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@KevinF the road just opened up. Collins at Alta is rolling...best storm chair around! I'm heading up to Solitude.
 

FlyingAce

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I will vote “No - they are not worth it” after going for the 14+” of powder that dropped last night. Road was clear, parking wasn’t bad, but that lift line was horrendous! Add in high winds and 1/2 the mountain being closed, forcing everyone to ski the frontside was a disaster. There was nothing fun about skiing powder that people cannot handle - loads of beginners dropping like flies or going out of control, and experts flying by trying to get up again for untouched powder. Medics were busy today. Next time we get a snow storm, I will probably stay home and sleep in. I don’t have the motivation to get first chair so it wouldn’t matter much if I don’t go at all. There is always tomorrow!
 
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Jerez

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I apparently made the right call today. DH went up and reported crusty slush or packed concrete. Very wet snow and even some sleet. Yuck. It may have snowed all night but I don't call that stuff powder. Hope it was colder in Taos to make base for the mini gathering.
 

FlyingAce

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I apparently made the right call today. DH went up and reported crusty slush or packed concrete. Very wet snow and even some sleet. Yuck. It may have snowed all night but I don't call that stuff powder. Hope it was colder in Taos to make base for the mini gathering.
You did make the right call today. I wished I had stayed in bed! This storm brought heavier than normal snow, not the dry powder that we normally get. It was soft but heavy, just not enjoyable for most. It wasn’t that cold at Taos today but the wind was just terrible. There were strong gusts here and there that blown people off their feet. Tomorrow’s weather will be better, but I am not sure I want to ski the heavy snow on the backside that no one has touched yet (since the back wasn’t opened today).
 

pais alto

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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.
You didn’t miss much. The snow was heavy and so were the crowds and the fog and wind. And school was cancelled, AND it’s a holiday weekend, And dodging Texans in 2wd minivans that were sliding back down the road sideways by the Bear Wallow-Borrego trailhead kind of sucked... I packed it in just after 11.

Anyway, powder is very dangerous, people should avoid it at all costs. Especially in Bozo and the Glade, don’t go there. ;)

Edit, I shoulda read ahead. Your DH was right.
I apparently made the right call today. DH went up and reported crusty slush or packed concrete. Very wet snow and even some sleet. Yuck. It may have snowed all night but I don't call that stuff powder. Hope it was colder in Taos to make base for the mini gathering.
 
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sbooker

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I haven't read the entire thread so this may have been said already. Powder days can be different due to location.
I skied a day at Sapporo Teine in Japan just before Christmas. Aside from a handful of tourists and locals there was a school group and an army group on the entire hill. The school and army group were skiing the groomers only. My family skied powder until last lift. A great day.
 

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