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Powder hacks?

elemmac

Angel Diva
Some people told me "not necessary to use those fat skis to ski the powder. There were no wide skis like now back when and that is not that long ago". A good point.
While it's not necessary, I think it's helpful...especially for people that are learning to ski powder for the first time, or someone that has tried it and struggles with the up/down, floaty, hoppy movements. This is in the same way someone learning to carve will find it easier to learn to carve if they have a proper frontside oriented ski. Yes, people CAN learn to carve on a wider ski, but why make it harder on yourself? Learning to ski powder is the same thing...a wide, rockered ski is going to make all of the movements easier to learn.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
While it's not necessary, I think it's helpful...especially for people that are learning to ski powder for the first time, or someone that has tried it and struggles with the up/down, floaty, hoppy movements. This is in the same way someone learning to carve will find it easier to learn to carve if they have a proper frontside oriented ski. Yes, people CAN learn to carve on a wider ski, but why make it harder on yourself? Learning to ski powder is the same thing...a wide, rockered ski is going to make all of the movements easier to learn.
Agree.

When I first started working on skiing fresh powder at Alta, I would rent skis that were around 90-100 underfoot. My all-mountain skis back then were 75mm, with a wide shovel so were good for 3-4 inches of fresh snow. Fast forward a decade and I opted to buy powder skis that are 106mm (used from a Utah Diva). However, I can now ski deep fluffy powder with my Stormrider 85s because my technique is more solid. Given a choice, I use the powder skis for more than about 8 inches of fresh snow.

With heavier deep snow, makes much more of a difference. Last time I was at Big Sky, I got Rossi Soul7, 106mm, and that wasn't really wide enough. Didn't really have a choice because the wider model wasn't available.

My Alta instructor doesn't want anyone on skis wider than 100mm for a powder lesson. I knew that was true for me, but I thought it was because I'm petite. Then my Massanutten ski buddy wanted to do a powder lesson after an April snowstorm. He's a big man well over 6 ft and the recommendation was the same in terms of ski width. He's low advanced just starting to work on how to enjoy powder turns.
 

elemmac

Angel Diva
With heavier deep snow, makes much more of a difference. Last time I was at Big Sky, I got Rossi Soul7, 106mm, and that wasn't really wide enough. Didn't really have a choice because the wider model wasn't available.
Spot on from my experience as well. I've found I prefer wider skis in the east than I do when I've skied fresh snow on the west coast. This is completely due to the snow density. You can get bogged down so easily in heavy snow if you're not floating on top of it. Whereas in light fluffy snow you can ski "through" it.

My Alta instructor doesn't want anyone on skis wider than 100mm for a powder lesson. I knew that was true for me, but I thought it was because I'm petite. Then my Massanutten ski buddy wanted to do a powder lesson after an April snowstorm. He's a big man well over 6 ft and the recommendation was the same in terms of ski width. He's low advanced just starting to work on how to enjoy powder turns.
Did they give you a reason why? I really don't understand the motive to steer people away from a ski that was made for those conditions.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Spot on from my experience as well. I've found I prefer wider skis in the east than I do when I've skied fresh snow on the west coast. This is completely due to the snow density. You can get bogged down so easily in heavy snow if you're not floating on top of it. Whereas in light fluffy snow you can ski "through" it.


Did they give you a reason why? I really don't understand the motive to steer people away from a ski that was made for those conditions.

My first powder lesson in Aspen, the instructor had some of us go to narrower skis. And his discussion focused a lot about skiing with the same technique as usual down under the pow. Perhaps very situationally dependent with the type of snow and his technique preference? As someone who had never skied in that much fresh snow before.. it was up to my knees.. the narrower felt less unwieldly to me than the ones I started on that were over 100 as well. I thought I was going to die after that lesson regardless, it was great but too long for a first timer and I was EXHAUSTED!
 
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elemmac

Angel Diva
My first powder lesson in Aspen, the instructor had some of us go to narrower skis. And his discussion focused a lot about skiing with the same technique as usual down under the pow. Perhaps very situationally dependent with the type of snow and his technique preference? As someone who had never skied in that much fresh snow before.. it was up to my knees.. the narrower felt less unwieldly to me than the ones I started on that were over 100 as well. I thought I was going to die after that lesson regardless, it was great but too long for a first timer and I was EXHAUSTED!
That's interesting that you also had an instructor that recommended going narrower in a powder lesson. I'm really interested in hearing why those instructors are recommending it. Is it a technique thing...something that is harder to achieve when on a wide (100+) ski?

Maybe you're spot on MissySki...and it's just a personal preference that stems from technique preference and snow conditions. It'd be interesting to hear where those instructors learned to have their students drop down to a sub-100mm ski. Was it PSIA advice? Their specific ski school? Or individual preference?
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
With heavier deep snow, makes much more of a difference. Last time I was at Big Sky, I got Rossi Soul7, 106mm, and that wasn't really wide enough
Big Sky is one place I haven't been to yet.... is the snow heavy/deep like the Sierras?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Spot on from my experience as well. I've found I prefer wider skis in the east than I do when I've skied fresh snow on the west coast. This is completely due to the snow density. You can get bogged down so easily in heavy snow if you're not floating on top of it. Whereas in light fluffy snow you can ski "through" it.


Did they give you a reason why? I really don't understand the motive to steer people away from a ski that was made for those conditions.
I would guess because you don't each people to ski in deep powder by starting them there. What a Level 3 instructor is hoping to teach is good technique so that the student isn't relying as much on the gear to make the right things happen. Plus we are talking about Alta with fluffy snow.

I demo'd the older model of the DPS Yvette, 112 underfoot, one day at Snowbird. There was very deep powder left if you knew where to look. But I didn't like the skis overall. I much preferred the narrower Zelda, 106 underfoot, because I could more easily make non-powder turns on the groomers or where the fresh snow had been cut up the day before. After that, it made sense to me that if I were going to have a powder lesson then 95-100mm was the width to get if I were renting.

Now that I own Zeldas, I found they were also fun for spring skiing in warm temps at Alta in April. Especially with DPS Phantom in the bases. Although I still wouldn't bother to carry them with me on an airplane for a late season trip. Only reason I use them as much as I do is that my ski buddy who lives in NM keeps them for me and brings them when we meet up for a trip.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Big Sky is one place I haven't been to yet.... is the snow heavy/deep like the Sierras?
It can be. Bridger actually gets more low density snow than Big Sky. Has to do with the winds and weather patterns in Montana.

A few days before there was a snowstorm with heavy dense snow at Big Sky, we were skiing much lighter snow at Bridger. The best powder that trip was at Grand Targhee before we drove to Bozeman. Had to go the long way because the more direct route was closed due to drifts on the US20.

That trip to GT was when I used my Stormrider 85s in untracked or cut up powder up over my knees. Bill didn't bother to use his powder skis, 100mm, either. I didn't own powder skis back then and it wasn't worth the time and effort to try to find some that were appropriate.

Our skis for the sunny powder day at Grand Targhee
TR Grand Targhee Feb2019 - 4.jpg

The middle tracks with a few turns are mine, untracked powder below trees near a groomer. :becky:
TR Grand Targhee Feb2019 - 5.jpg
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
Spent a week at Grand Targhee in 1983 ! Took a powder lesson and was skiing on ???? who knows but they were skinny skis and it snowed hard every day ! The sun came out the last day.....
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
I've skied 18" of powder at Copper Mtn on Volkl Targa R's. 1989. A couple of years ago I was in a multi week adult advanced class. We were supposed to a race one morning. Got up to 6" of new snow. I thought I wonder if it will be cancelled. Well no, they'll groom that run for us. NOT! So I skied all morning on the tuned down race skis 68mm underfoot. Had a blast.

I'm sure that the narrower skis for first lessons is to ensure technique is there. As I mentioned Guy isn't on a wide skis for that video. In fact his ski type is the Rossi on the left of @marzNC first picture.
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Chiming in about wide powder skis and rocky mountain powder conditions. First the easy one. While the west coast gets super heavy warm snow, the same can happen in the more central western slopes too, especially spring in CO, WY, MT, UT, ID, NM. Thankfully, it is usually measured in inches and not in feet, but can still present the same challenges.

As for powder and fat skis, I would say why not. The tool is pretty sublime when the snow is either heavy or super duper deep. There is a reason they are popular. I think a good turn is easier to teach on narrower skis on a groomer, but I see no reason to place my students at a disadvantage.

I certainly had a huge grin on my face 12 years ago when I was able to keep up with my DH on a deep day in the trees. I possibly could have before but never felt safe going at higher speeds on normal width skis.

I also think it is an absolute blast to make slash/slarvy/skidded turns on powder boards, which feels so different from a perfect radius carved turn.

Then the question is what constitutes a wide powder ski? For me 106 underfoot is all I really ski anymore, as I am selling my old 112 underfoot skis. If I was only skiing powder I would likely get another lighter wide pair. The downside to true wide powder skis, is that few days are morning to afternoon powder, and wide boards are not much fun to navigate in firm bumps, or on variable icy snow. Most of the time I am comfortable teaching up to advanced students on my 95 underfoot skis, but again, if I have to go fast in deep snow, wider feels way more stable to me.

I have had students that I encouraged to try wider skis, as they seemed to be doing quite well on narrower ones in the powder, who failed miserably transitioning to wider skis. Most however, have had bigger smiles than they thought possible after demoing the 100 plus underfoot boards on deep days. Again deep is at least 10 inches and occasionally a lot more.

Is the right ski for the amount of snow fall a powder hack? I would say yes, absolutely.
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
If they're the Soul 7 which is the ski in marzNC's photo, they're 106 underfoot.
Depends on the length.... BF has (and refuses to ski on anything else) the Soul 7's from 5 + years ago and his are 164's...... think 102 or 104 underfoot.
 

Mudgirl630

Angel Diva
Screenshot_20220921-220033_Instagram.jpgSo, you see part of my legs/pants sticking out of snow in this photo. There were my skis below.
It was the last day we had pretty good amount of snow last season, inbound. According to my IG post, it was 4/13. I was skiing alone as usual, so I could only take a photo of my legs. Haha.

After all, we might be over-thinking this now.
Whatever works. If you like to get on 112mm, so be it, for example. I was on my 90 that day. I rather enjoyed them. Of course, I stopped and it was not easy to get going again.
I remember I was on the side of medium bumps. Luckily, had a pretty good pitch.

As long as the width of the waist is working for you, that is what counts. Because one loves to be on 106 or whatever, does not mean others would, even under the same condition.
If one is still wondering about different waist in powder, the only thing is to demo them just like any other skis, needless to say.

PS... Sorry. I didn't mean to be a wet blanket.

:ski:

Screenshot_20220921_220512.jpg
 
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elemmac

Angel Diva
As long as the width of the waist is working for you, that is what counts. Because one loves to be on 106 or whatever, does not mean others would, even under the same condition.
100%! Plenty of people prefer skinnier skis for skiing in all conditions…everyone should ski what they like on the slopes.

Since this thread is about “powder hacks” I will say add that if you’ve (you generally…not Mudgirl specifically) never tried a true powder ski…if might be what you’re looking for to get over that hump. I’m not condoning that “equipment will fix everything”, but using the tool designed for the job will help move things in the right direction.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Here's a slightly different take on a "powder hack" . . . how to show snow depth when you are skiing solo. These are pictures I've posted in Alta trip reports. The third one shows why it can be worth the effort to learn how to make powder turns. :smile:

April 2015, Blizzard Black Pearl 88 (the original version)
LCC 16t18Apr2015 - 2.jpg

April 2016
Alta 29Mar2016 - 2.jpg

April 2017
Tween AY happy to get fresh tracks for the first time, Bill in green jacket, see the skier on the traverse?
Alta powder tracks 10Apr2017.jpg
 
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