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Powder hacks?

#1
Does anyone have any tips to make powder skiing easier, outside of actual practice in it? I know I know, there are usually no short cuts to good technique.. but it’s also really hard to get the hang of powder technique in New England. I go out in it as much as I can, and I absolutely exhaust myself trying to ski it every time, and I feel no further along in learning how to ski it each time. I’m always so excited for a powder day, but I’m pretty darn miserable in over probably 10 inches of snow when I actually get in it truth be told. 6 or 8 inches, yay. Too much more and I’m struggling! I did take a lesson on a powder day at the very end of last season which was helpful at the time, and I’m hoping will translate this year but we’ll see.

So what is a girl to do?

Would fatter skis to float more help? My “powder” skis are in the high 90s, would going over 100 help? For example, I really really liked the Santa Ana 100 last season when I skied it, and it’s made me ponder if I’d like the 110 as much because I already have multiple skis in the high 90s too close to 100.

Any thoughts, tips, or tricks besides the whole don’t turn as much, go straighter, be more balanced than forward, stay on steeper runs, etc. I’d really like to build my confidence in this area this season. Are there things I could work on outside of powder to help in it? Last year my focus was bumps and trees, and I’ll be continuing that as much as possible this year as well, but I really want to work on this when the occasion arises which usually isn’t often here.
 

mountainwest

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
If you've heard all of the tips before and it's still not helping, then yes, try out some wider skis. I absolutely hated powder skiing my first season when I was on 88 width skis. As a newbie skier it was an epic struggle. My second season I rented 98 width skis and I did a little better in powder but it still really wasn't my thing. My third season I got a pair of Rossignol Star 7s that are 116 under foot and suddenly I started to love powder. Once you get the hang of it on the wide skis you will be able to ski powder on anything, but wider skis definitely make it a lot more fun! You will finally understand this "float" that everyone is talking about.
 

bsskier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
I’ve no idea how to properly handle oodles of freshies, other than throwing my weight more forward than usual. Maybe the equipment, along with a change in technique is the key? I was successful around ungroomed blues and easier blacks when Alta got 2 feet of snow this year. I may not have skied beautifully (or hey, maybe I did!) but my skiing was crazy solid for two days of nonstop accumulation while on Kastle FX 95’s. What a ski! It handled powder like nothing I’ve experienced before. I’ve tried wider skis; Black Pearl and Atomic Backland to be specific, but I learned a great lesson that I personally don’t need a 100+ waist ski for 2 feet of fresh champagne powder. Your mileage may vary.
 

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#5
ETA: this could also be a question of enabling my interest in the Santa Ana 110 in the future :rotf:
Ask and thou shalt receive. Fat skis are SO. MUCH. FUN. But if you're going to go with a dedicated powder ski, I'd consider something with less camber than the Santa Ana 110. Going with a full rocker will facilitate the movement of popping out of the snow to start your turn, then you can dive back into it...rinse and repeat. The less work it is to pop out of the snow, the easier it is to turn, and the easier powder skiing is.

New England powder is a special breed. It's rare enough to get fresh snow over 6", and it's far rarer to have fluffy, light weight, blower pow. Without the lightness, it's much tougher to ski "in" the snow, rather than "on" it. The full rocker, along with a wider ski will help keep you out of the snow when you don't want to be "in" it.
 
#6
Ask and thou shalt receive. Fat skis are SO. MUCH. FUN. But if you're going to go with a dedicated powder ski, I'd consider something with less camber than the Santa Ana 110. Going with a full rocker will facilitate the movement of popping out of the snow to start your turn, then you can dive back into it...rinse and repeat. The less work it is to pop out of the snow, the easier it is to turn, and the easier powder skiing is.

New England powder is a special breed. It's rare enough to get fresh snow over 6", and it's far rarer to have fluffy, light weight, blower pow. Without the lightness, it's much tougher to ski "in" the snow, rather than "on" it. The full rocker, along with a wider ski will help keep you out of the snow when you don't want to be "in" it.
Any suggestions on specific skis to look into that fit this description?
 
#8
Any suggestions on specific skis to look into that fit this description?
I’m thinking a powder ski that is a bit more nimble and friendly than the Santa Ana. I would think the Armada ARW 116 might do the trick. I’ll think about it a bit more, see if anything else comes to mind. But something that is a wood core rather than having metal in it.
 
#10
If you've heard all of the tips before and it's still not helping, then yes, try out some wider skis. I absolutely hated powder skiing my first season when I was on 88 width skis. As a newbie skier it was an epic struggle. My second season I rented 98 width skis and I did a little better in powder but it still really wasn't my thing. My third season I got a pair of Rossignol Star 7s that are 116 under foot and suddenly I started to love powder. Once you get the hang of it on the wide skis you will be able to ski powder on anything, but wider skis definitely make it a lot more fun! You will finally understand this "float" that everyone is talking about.
I like the way you describe this, kind of like wider skis being training wheels for helping to develop pow technique! Or maybe at least the confidence and stamina to eventually get the technique part going. :clap:
 
#11
Blizzard Sheeva 9! They are so so versatile and nimble. My confidence in that terrain grew a ton on them last season, can’t wait to get back on them!
Ever thought of the Sheeva 11?

I haven’t tried them, and haven’t really looked into them, so honestly don’t know a ton about them. But they might have potential given how much you love their little sister.
 
#12
Ever thought of the Sheeva 11?

I haven’t tried them, and haven’t really looked into them, so honestly don’t know a ton about them. But they might have potential given how much you love their little sister.
I’ve tried the 10 and liked them, hadn’t thought about the 11, definitely something to look into!
 
#13
I like the way you describe this, kind of like wider skis being training wheels for helping to develop pow technique! Or maybe at least the confidence and stamina to eventually get the technique part going. :clap:
When I started skiing more at Alta, it definitely helped to rent powder skis for more than about 6 inches. Initially my all-mountain skis were 75 underfoot, so not much of a surprise. When I got the original Black Pearl 88, I could handle up to about 100 underfoot and had more fun in 10+ inches. After a few years of lessons, the widest I've ever rented was 117mm for 4/15/2015. There was 25+ inches in the morning and 107mm wasn't enough. It was still snowing at lunch time so I changed skis. Last April there was 30-40 inches for a few days. I rented the Advantage 107 CW and the Santa Ana 110. Had a ball!

I didn't realize the Santa Ana 110 is a new model. If you've liked the Santa Ana 100 or 93 or 88, might be worth checking out.

By the way, my Alta instructor likes me to rent skis that are not more than 100 underfoot for lessons, regardless of snow conditions off-piste. My all-mountain skis are 85mm now.

I think deep powder skiing take more patience than stamina. Have to tip the skis the usual way, and then wait a bit longer than usual for them to make the turn. Tricky part is that even when there is deep enough powder to practice, have to find a slope that is not too steep to be scary but yet steep enough so that you can keep up enough speed to avoid getting stuck. Highly recommend powder cords for peace of mind when you get lucky and catch a big storm out west.
 
#15
#16
Blister has a nice review on the Sheeva 11 and actually throws in comparisons with the Santa Ana 110 multiple times.

https://blisterreview.com/gear-reviews/ski-reviews/2018-2019-blizzard-sheeva-11
That is a great review. Going off of owning the La Niña (the pre-metal old Santa Ana 110), and the current SA 100, the review describes exactly what I would expect to be said about the SA 110. A fantastic ski, but maybe better suited for the west coast and open bowls where a stiffer tail and more camber might be better.

The Sheeva 11 does sound like a fun ski...
 
#17
With that description, do you also still think it’d be suitable to take west in general on trips?

Now if only I could try it and some others in the size range! I’m assuming very doubtful that I’d be able to find it at a demo day around here. Maybe at Jackson Hole, or perhaps I’ll have to pick something blind for once if I could find something used online cheap haha. I’d be into that only because whatever I got wouldn’t probably get all that much use anyway.
 
#18
With that description, do you also still think it’d be suitable to take west in general on trips?
Do you mean just take the Sheeva 11 when flying out west?

The reason I like to be at the Alta Demo Day in April is so that I know what powder skis to rent when I get lucky and catch a snowstorm. I've rarely rented powder skis more than 3 days in the same season. That's out of 15-25 days skiing out west in the last 5-6 years. I just pack my all-mountain skis, 85 underfoot.
 
#19
Do you mean just take the Sheeva 11 when flying out west?

The reason I like to be at the Alta Demo Day in April is so that I know what powder skis to rent when I get lucky and catch a snowstorm. I've rarely rented powder skis more than 3 days in the same season. That's out of 15-25 days skiing out west in the last 5-6 years. I just pack my all-mountain skis, 85 underfoot.
Yeah, I’d either take it as a second pair west and use it for powder days in the east, or stick to just for the east and bringing juat one narrower ski west and renting if necessary for a big powder day.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
I wouldn't take a ski that wide to ski out west without another in the bag.
The Sheeva 11 is a solid choice, though, considering your love for the 9 and the 10 when you tried them.
 

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