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How do you define "fresh powder"?

gardenmary

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
Spent the last 2 days in the local mountains. Skied during the storm that brought 18 inches of snow on Friday, and skied in its aftermath yesterday.

Is there an official definition for "fresh powder"? On Friday I was skiing in freshly fallen snow that was largely untracked and certainly not packed, groomed, etc. Visibility was tricky but I could see enough to use what I learned last week in about 12-16 inches of untracked. I finally got to feel that floaty thing!

Yesterday, however, we were skiing in the 18 inches which had been compacted, pushed around, etc. but not groomed. I've always heard that referred to as "crud" but the local resorts were calling it "fresh powder". Whereas I'm thinking of "fresh powder" as what I experienced Friday.

My thought from yesterday was that since by the time the grooming crew would have started work, all the "fresh powder" was now pushed-around snow, they should have groomed more than 2 runs. It was as if the entire mountain was nothing but crud, and fast approaching moguls. What about where you all ski - how is it defined there?
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Once it's tracked out it's not fresh powder as far as I'm concerned. I can see where resorts would still call it that in their snow report, but no one else does, that I know of anyway.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
It was fresh crud :becky: If there was enough base to ski off the marked runs and in the trees, then we could have found "fresh" powder. It was also "Sierra Cement" crud. I'm sure first tracks on the ungroomed runs in the morning were fresh powder, meaning untouched. Still pretty heavy stuff. Light by SoCal standards I suppose!

I think your skis are too much work. Seriously. Having come off their slightly skinnier sisters, which kicked my butt and exhausted me in 3 runs, I know how heavy and cumbersome those K2's can be. Your skis should make your job easier and make you smile. Any chance you can demo some rockers this year? Either that or just stick with the Tierras for now. They would have handled yesterday just fine! Look at how much my skiing has improved just since getting the Black Pearls. I have not taken a lesson since I bought them! They just make it so much easier! You need to find that ski! :ski:
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Once it's tracked out it's not fresh powder as far as I'm concerned. I can see where resorts would still call it that in their snow report, but no one else does, that I know of anyway.
I take this even further. To me, it's not fresh powder if it stopped snowing two days ago and I happen to be the first to find it. I consider it untracked but not fresh.
 

Indianaskier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
When you ski where I usually do, a few inches of new snow can be powder, but honestly, if it's tracked up I no longer consider it fresh, no matter how much there is. It's rare here to have real powder, but we get excited with whatever mother nature brings in the form of snow.
Since I have been blessed to ski honest to goodness fresh powder a only few times, I at least know that wonderful joy.
Honestly, my favorite conditions are packed with a dusting of snow. Maybe that's because I've not been on powder enough to totally appreciate it. What the heck, I love snow, period, as long as I get to play in it! :snow:
 

Swamp Dog

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
I've been trying to explain to my husband, it snowed yesterday. It was fresh yesterday, not today. Today it is groomed and crowded since it's the weekend.
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
Definition of fresh powder? NOT one day old, tracked out, and chopped up like we skied on Saturday. The only time I ever find fresh powder in SoCal is in a blizzard or if it snowed all night. Resorts should groom the on piste stuff once it has been chopped up. Seriously, it's way more fun to ski groomed and packed powder than chopped up crud. Still, I had a lot of fun anyway.
 

gardenmary

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
It was fresh crud :becky: If there was enough base to ski off the marked runs and in the trees, then we could have found "fresh" powder. It was also "Sierra Cement" crud. I'm sure first tracks on the ungroomed runs in the morning were fresh powder, meaning untouched. Still pretty heavy stuff. Light by SoCal standards I suppose!

I think your skis are too much work. Seriously. Having come off their slightly skinnier sisters, which kicked my butt and exhausted me in 3 runs, I know how heavy and cumbersome those K2's can be. Your skis should make your job easier and make you smile. Any chance you can demo some rockers this year? Either that or just stick with the Tierras for now. They would have handled yesterday just fine! Look at how much my skiing has improved just since getting the Black Pearls. I have not taken a lesson since I bought them! They just make it so much easier! You need to find that ski! :ski:
If I hadn't been skiing with you SkiDivas it wouldn't have been any fun. At any rate I look at it as a good workout and an experience that teaches me a little more about conditions. But I totally agree with Pat - had they packed and groomed most slopes (maybe save some slopes for just powder or moguls) it would have been like my day in Utah last week.

As for my skis - well, I'm thinking about that. I skied True Luvs for 4 years with no problems, but it's entirely possible that the Toughs just go a little too far. They didn't give me any trouble Friday or in Utah. But I may try a demo in Utah in March if I get a chance; I'm curious about the Nordica and Dynastar lines. I'm also wondering if 170 cm is just too long, particularly for a wider-waist ski.
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
If I hadn't been skiing with you SkiDivas it wouldn't have been any fun. At any rate I look at it as a good workout and an experience that teaches me a little more about conditions. But I totally agree with Pat - had they packed and groomed most slopes (maybe save some slopes for just powder or moguls) it would have been like my day in Utah last week.

As for my skis - well, I'm thinking about that. I skied True Luvs for 4 years with no problems, but it's entirely possible that the Toughs just go a little too far. They didn't give me any trouble Friday or in Utah. But I may try a demo in Utah in March if I get a chance; I'm curious about the Nordica and Dynastar lines. I'm also wondering if 170 cm is just too long, particularly for a wider-waist ski.
As I said, I have demo bindings on my Auras and you are welcome to test drive them any time you want. Bob can easily adjust them. My DIN is set for a type II skier because I am not that aggressive in my technique. They are light but stable but at 163 so they might be too short for you.
 
#11
I take this even further. To me, it's not fresh powder if it stopped snowing two days ago and I happen to be the first to find it. I consider it untracked but not fresh.
I beg to disagree here. If it has stayed cold and not settled, several day old untouched pow can be as good as skiing it within 12 hours of it falling.

There's a tendency to call any new soft unskied snow powder, and find it laughable at times. We get wet heavy snow frequently, and I just laugh at the people skiing "powder". If it ain't fully from cold temps, it ain't powder.
 

gardenmary

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
I beg to disagree here. If it has stayed cold and not settled, several day old untouched pow can be as good as skiing it within 12 hours of it falling.
I agree. There are posts all over ski message boards about finding untracked powder in Utah many days after a storm.

Yesterday was snow that on Friday was fluffy, but by Saturday was pushed-around, scraped off, deeply tracked, and then left alone overnight. Throw in a few temperature swings and it was a major stretch to call it "fresh powder" since it seemed to get heavier as the day progressed. (Mental note: the resort in question might stretch the truth a bit, see what future visits bring.)
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
I agree. There are posts all over ski message boards about finding untracked powder in Utah many days after a storm.

Yesterday was snow that on Friday was fluffy, but by Saturday was pushed-around, scraped off, deeply tracked, and then left alone overnight. Throw in a few temperature swings and it was a major stretch to call it "fresh powder" since it seemed to get heavier as the day progressed. (Mental note: the resort in question might stretch the truth a bit, see what future visits bring.)
All the local resorts stretch the truth a bit! For some reason, people always beg them not to groom right away. I think maybe some people like the bumps that form? Otherwise they groom all the moguls away to accommodate the snowboarders. I'm not a huge mogul fan unless they are soft, so the grooming works for me. :wink: They leave a few runs un-groomed, like Side Chute and Dickey's, so there are some moguls for those who must have them no matter the conditions.
 

segacs

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
Here at home? I call any conditions with enough snow to not make a scraping noise when I turn "fresh powder". We gotta take what we can get. I'll sometimes think of crud as powder, simply because it's soft and snowy as opposed to hard and icy.

Then again, I skied in a blizzard in Chamonix in December, where several feet of snow literally fell in the space of a few hours. Vertigo, zero visibility, blowing snow, all the fun stuff -- but it was certainly fresh powder. Too bad I basically had to stick with greens and blues all the way down, travelling at 2 miles an hour terrified the entire time because I have no friggin' clue how to ski in conditions like that.
 
#15
Powder? Huh?

That's the stuff you put into your cooking! Baking powder, powder sugar... You know exactly how it feeling like when you put your finger on it! If any snow doesn't feel that way, it's NOT POWDER!!!

So no, east coast rarely get "powder". What Boston and eastern Long Island got 2 days ago may have been new snow, but it aren't powder! Not even on Friday before it even hit the ground!!!

(But if it feels like powder and skis like powder, and it hasn't been skied on, it doesn't matter how many days it's been on the ground, IT IS FRESH POWDER!!!)
 

gardenmary

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
Powder? Huh?

That's the stuff you put into your cooking! Baking powder, powder sugar... You know exactly how it feeling like when you put your finger on it! If any snow doesn't feel that way, it's NOT POWDER!!!

I agree about equating the texture with powdery substances found in the kitchen and bathroom. "Powder" to me is when you can blow it off a surface where it's collected, and it scatters like talcum powder. And if it collects on your clothes as you ride the lift up, it doesn't make said clothes wetter and wetter as the day goes on.

(But if it feels like powder and skis like powder, and it hasn't been skied on, it doesn't matter how many days it's been on the ground, IT IS FRESH POWDER!!!)
The emphasized phrase was my main thought..."fresh" in any usage implies it's not yet been used or consumed. If 18 inches of snow falls during the day and it gets skied on and pushed around, I don't think it qualifies as "fresh" anything except "fresh crud" - which I admit is a term no ski resort would EVER use in any snow report.

I really appreciate everyone's input! I am really relatively new to this racket (skiing for 5 years now, almost to the day) and I have a deep, ingrained fear of looking or sounding like a total amateur (or worse, a poser). It's good to know that my instincts on this seem to be in line with the general opinion.
 

Mom of Redheads

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
What I think is funny is that you westerners and long-time skiers who ski powder semi-regularly have as many different terms to distinguish "nuances of powder" as those of us on the East Coast have to distinguish nuances of ice! I haven't encountered enough powder of any kind to distinguish between true powder and fresh snow, and fresh vs. untracked and all that. But when it comes to ice... there's non-skiable ice, and skiable ice, and slopes that are just kind of skritchy and so on.

I think if I could choose, I'd rather be well versed in the nuances of powder over the nuances of ice! Unfortunately, I'd have to move, or vacation in the west every year for that to happen...

Which do you think you need to be a better all-around skier, powder skills or ice skills?
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
Ice skills. Ice is fast and hurts like H*ll if you fall on it!
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
Which do you think you need to be a better all-around skier, powder skills or ice skills?
I think that's kind of a false dichotomy. Being bad at either one can ruin your day, but I bet that unless you are a pro skier who regularly travels to places that few people ski, most people don't have the opportunity to get good at both.

Also, while technique is the master key, you'll probably have skis that represent your most typical terrain. Here in Colorado, I consider 105 underfoot a pretty typical "everything on the mountain" ski, from hardpack to bowls. Ski magazine scoffed at Icelantic calling the Nomad an all-mountain a couple of years ago, but for typical Colorado conditions - it is. But boy, skiing it on icy blue runs at Park City during an unusual weather pattern was not so much fun as survival. I doubt an east coast skier would have blinked - and would surely have had skis with better edges.

That being said, I really think that the sign of a good skier is the ability to adjust to rapidly changing conditions. Not getting thrown off balance when, due to poor visibility, they're surprised from a sudden transition from scraped hardpack to a pile of snow, or vice versa. Dealing with crud. And oh god, my nemesis, breakable crust.
 

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