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

Wasatchman

over the hill
Skier
Joined
Nov 9, 2017
Posts
916
Location
Wasatch and NZ
I've decided I'm pretty much through with the powder frenzy if the area I am in is getting congested. During the last frenzy I was behind a boarder and a skier with twin tips and I just pretty much inhaled snow the whole way down and couldn't really see. I would have liked to have pulled over but was nervous to do so for fear of getting clipped from behind.

So I've decided once and for all I'm out if there are quite a few skiers in the area.
 

Unmarkedobstacles

Back to being the UnofficialAlpine.com guy
Industry Insider
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Posts
24
Location
Truckee
It's not just the traffic or the lines that bother me. It's the aggression, the powder panic, and the sense of urgency that I don't enjoy anymore. I can't stand getting in a line and feeling like I have to skate hard to get to my line of choice - and then feel the pressure of 10 skiers right behind me. We had a great wind buff day last week and I mentioned that I would trade 10 power days for another day like that. The TV stations never say "That wind is going to blow powder into some powder stashes and it will just keep coming".

Will I still go find hidden powder, the day after a big storm? Sure - but even that is getting tougher to do.
 

Seldomski

Paralysis by analysis
Skier
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Posts
1,447
Untouched powder is nice, but their are other types of snow surface I actually enjoy skiing more.

I think people get more hyped about the idea of being there first and that it's a limited resource (untracked powder). It also makes for a better story in the bar.
 

Jtlange

Getting on the lift
Skier
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Posts
170
Location
Denver, CO
I shockingly seem to be the minority here, but I really like skiing chop. It takes skill and strength. Those soft on soft powder days are magical and really open up whats possible on the mountain terrain wise. Cliffs, chutes, tight steep terrain (the stuff I like to ski) all get a lot more forgiving with soft snow. Also, face shots are great and nobody can convince me otherwise.
 

Eleeski

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Posts
2,185
Location
San Diego / skis at Squaw Valley
Spend a fortune, travel halfway around the world, suffer jetlag, welcomed with icy days, weird rooms, uncomfortable beds, crazy drivers who are always on the wrong side of the road, and crowds snaking across the slope out of the Disneyesque corral in front of me.

A couple face shots and two hours of powder? WORTH IT!!!!

Eric
 

John O

Getting off the lift
Skier
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
Posts
322
Location
Seattle, WA
Rope drops aren't fun
Some of the rope drops posted here, that Fernie vid, the Snowbird vid posted a while ago, yeah, those don't look fun at all. The only thing I think when I see that footage is how glad I am that I'm not there.

Rope drops can be fun... the unexpected "oh, patrol is opening this and I'm right here" rope drop. That's fun. It's only happened to me once, but it was definitely fun.
 

Bruuuce

My advice is worth what you paid for it.
Skier
Joined
Aug 8, 2017
Posts
552
Location
Steamboat Springs
Bought first tracks this year. Worth every penny. Powder mornings...no lines...ever...even in Saturday morning. Thought it might be an expensive mistake, but no way. I'm addicted now.
 

tch

What do I know; I'm just some guy on the internet.
Skier
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Posts
710
Location
New England
It's not just the traffic or the lines that bother me. It's the aggression, the powder panic, and the sense of urgency that I don't enjoy anymore. I can't stand getting in a line and feeling like I have to skate hard to get to my line of choice - and then feel the pressure of 10 skiers right behind me.
+1,000
 

TPJ

Like PBJ, but not as ubiquitous!
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
110
Location
Jackson, WY
Last year at Jackson Hole it snowed around 10" every day and by the end of the week I was praying for sunny weather just to put an end to endless AM lift lines and the exhausting powder panic that makes every one crazy and a little inconsiderate. I'd rather ski regular old good conditions than battle the masses for 2 untracked turns. The only way to get powder turns these days is 1. backcountry 2. snowcat/heli 3. small ski areas way off the beaten track
You should have been skiing with me. My groups skied good powder all day long. I was surprised in that cycle how uncrowded it was and how much basically untracked or very lightly skied snow I could find even at the end of the day. Of course fog, wind, and flat light combined with 30 years of local knowledge helps. I was bummed when the sun came out and ended the blower days.
 

jseeski

Skiing a little BC powder
Skier
Joined
Mar 16, 2018
Posts
129
Location
Salmo, British Columbia, Canada
Reading the previous posts, it's easy to conclude that powder days at Alta, Snowbird, Jackson Hole, etc. are stressful events. Further, if you have to travel in an attempt to catch the storm, you might actually catch it, but you're more likely to miss it. So, all in all, is it worth it? Maybe not in the big high profile places.

On the other hand, a powder day at certain places in, say, Montana or British Columbia (not W-B!) could very much be worth it, with minimal crowds and the possibility of minimally tracked lines all day - especially if it's your home mountain and you know where to look.

If you really want powder, move to a place where it happens with some regularity. A place with the nearest decent airport at least three hours away, no divided highways and no major population centers nearby. Choose carefully.
 

Vinnie

Putting on skis
Skier
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Posts
133
I've decided I'm pretty much through with the powder frenzy if the area I am in is getting congested. During the last frenzy I was behind a boarder and a skier with twin tips and I just pretty much inhaled snow the whole way down and couldn't really see. I would have liked to have pulled over but was nervous to do so for fear of getting clipped from behind.

So I've decided once and for all I'm out if there are quite a few skiers in the area.
Yeah I had the same experience one day last year when they dropped the rope into Heather Canyon at Mt Hood Meadows. It was a great ride but mostly remember dodging the folks in front of me and trying to see through their snow haze.
 

David Chaus

Blissfully unencumbered by the facts
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
3,144
Location
Stanwood, WA
I was at a clinic yesterday at Alpental (Summit at Snoqualmie). I think the forecast for rain later in the evening kept the crowds away, plus it was mid-week. The forecast changed mid-day and the rain didn’t come until the next day (this morning).

It snowed at least 6” throughout the day, after about 7” the night before. It got colder after lunch and the snow was great, though still the heavy PNW maritime type. Nonetheless there was no frenzy, no lift lines, everyone was civilized and we had fresh tracks if we wanted them. The easiest entry into Upper International I’ve ever seen. Some nice untracked on Shot 6 at the end of the day, which is not too unusual because it’s a steep chute followed by a hairy traverse just to get to it. But still....
 

slowrider

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Joined
Dec 17, 2015
Posts
2,179
Don't like hordes all over you. Ski conditions others can't or wouldn't.
 

kayco53

Putting on skis
Skier
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Posts
133
Location
BC Canada
Powder is great when you are camped on hill and wake up to it. Most people coming up from the coast don't get here until after 10am. Wouldn't bother standing in big lineups for it. We have our little stashes that last a while.
 

noncrazycanuck

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Posts
810
Whistler again tomorrow, very sure we will have some untouched powder runs - and more all day is always possible with a little effort, but I am just as happy on the bumps.
Good visibility is much rarer than powder in this area, I don't lose sleep over it.
 

Core2

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Nov 29, 2015
Posts
1,516
Location
AZ
powder panic really sucks. I try to do all planning I can to mitigate it but it seems like everyone else has the same idea these days.
 
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