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Strategies for slush


Certified Ski Diva
I spent some time at Perfect North on Saturday, desperate to get some time in before the season ended. I couldn't get there until well after the lifts had started, so by my first run all signs of grooming were gone and it was a mix of crumbly ice and heavy, saturated moguls.

After a few fun runs down Center Stage, the piled up yuck grew taller and softer, and my skis were plowing into the moguls instead of over them. I switched to making little hop and rotate moves to try to stay in the sloughs. That went well for a little while, but was tiring, so I moved to the scraped off, icier side of the run. I had trouble getting a good grip, so I just skidded all the things! Puddles had formed on the runout, grabbing at my skis. My abs and hips were toast from all the hopping around, so I tried to hit those areas faster and on edge, with varying degrees of success. My skis felt like noodles. Maybe it was my legs. Transitions were tricky. A few more laps and a headfirst catapult later, I had to call it quits, I was worried I'd get hurt. Still glad I got out there!

What are your tricks for dealing with super sloppy gloop?

Does a longer, wider or stiffer ski help?

Do I need abs of steel?

What is the best way to get through a puddle without slowing down?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Welcome to spring skiing. Yes, glop is dangerous. It's also known as mashed potatoes, chowder, and soup. Ice in the shadows and at the summit is actually safer to ski because it's predictable.

Were there lots of people out there skiing it? Most just stop for the day and sit on the deck enjoying the view and socialize with a beer.

My two season-ending injuries happened in March. Since then, when the snow gets sticky and I can't find a more consistent surface up top of the mountain, I call it a day.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Only thing I've found that worked for me in this crap is get on and stay on my edges. It feels the worst for me when my skis are flat or less on edge. I also don't weigh a lot and find having a damper ski can help. Helps barrel through the piles a bit better than a less damp/stiff ski. My new Yumis handle this stuff so much better than on my old wood-only Yumis, for example.

But yeah, when you're getting to the point where you're going faster in the shadows where the snow is still colder and then your skis are lurching to a stop/major slow when you hit a patch of snow in the sun b/c it's melting... that's when I call it. I HATE that lurching sensation. I always feel like I'm gonna go flying over the tips of my skis. lol
If we are just talking about cruddy, sun warmed snow, warm weather wax and skis that are good in crud are the ticket. But when you're talking about actual puddles, I agree that's when it's time to stop. I've luckily only encountered that once, at Snowmass.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I quit early on days like that because the conditions are more likely to cause injury. Sometimes on spring days I'll ski in the morning and switch to my ski bike in the afternoon as the slush is easier to handle on the bike and, unlike me, it doesn't have ligaments!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
If the soft stuff/slush ISN'T grabby yet, then similar tactics to crud work. Open up your turns and have more patience. Trust your skis and relax.

I admit, I still get uneasy in it because I fractured my tibial plateau in slush 4 years ago. To be fair, I built up a good amount of speed on a steep blue run that had buttery smooth slush, then turned onto a cat track that had a good 6+ inches of pure slush.
I've had good success on slush with wider and stiffer skis. I find the most success by being patient with turns and letting the skis go where they want to go. No quick forced turns that can throw you off balance or catch an edge. Being up on edges help too and keeping legs closer together.
Slush is not really my thing but I've gotten a lot better in it. It's kind of a given in the mid-Atlantic. I was so close to eating it big time into a plastic fence last week when I decided to run over a pile heading into a wide turn and let my legs get too far apart. I wasn't going very fast as I had been meandering my way through the chopped up trail intersection. The pile caught my inside ski and sent it shooting to the left while my downhill ski was starting to turn right. Thank God for a strong core and leg strength. I was able keep the wayward ski up off the snow so it wouldn't catch the tail and swing me around as I weighted and leaned downhill to turn away from the fence that was quickly approaching. Got to the bottom of the hill where my husband was waiting and saw the whole thing. Told him I needed to take a minute or two to catch my breath and check if I peed my pants. LOL.
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Staff member
Warm weather wax and then rubbing on some Zardoz or similar flouro treatment will help.

As for getting through puddles: I try to go over them as much as possible with an ollie.

I am a die-hard spring skier and will stay our in all kinds of junk, but I also slow way down and take fewer runs, because it is more strenuous and because of the potential for injury. I like to take a beer break or two, listen to some reggae on my headphones (on the chair) and just enjoy being outside in the warm sun.

If you're going to spend any time skiing in warm conditions and you haven't treated your skis with Phantom, you're going to have to put more effort and time into waxing than you may be used to, because it will make much more of a difference. I will wax my skis with warm temp wax combined with a graphite wax prior to each ski day (and I don't do anything near that much waxing during the regular season). Then apply Zardoz in the morning and at lunch. It's not as much of a pain as it sounds like if you really enjoy spring skiing.
Ughh, I tried to hockey stop in a deep pile of slush this past Saturday and face planted right over my skis. I was ok but definitely shaken. The slush in this particular area must have been over a foot deep. I made one more run and called it a day.


Certified Ski Diva
Thanks for the tips everyone! This is all super helpful. Sounds like I was probably being too impatient with my turns.

Would the Volkl 100eight be as good a slush ski as it was in chop and crud, or would they be too wide? It seems like the rocker might work well in slush. I am not so secretly looking for an excuse to buy some! :smile:

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