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Floating on Powder?

jimidut

Skier since Rope Tow days
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I'm old to skiing, and old too. Obviously I need something explained to me.
If a dream day is fluffy deep powder. Why do today's skiers insist on floating on top of it???

If they just want to ride on top of the freshie, why chase the deep??? A foot will work won't it?
In my days at Snowbird, Plaza Restaurant Pearl Diver, early 70s, (3 chair lifts and Tram)we ran 205 GS skiis with our tips buried to get our body as deep into the snow as we could. Waist deep became neck deep when we compressed at the bottom of the turn. That was the goal. Smith goggles and bandanna days. Come out of the turn, take a breath, wipe off the goggles, check for trees and drop down under for the next turn.
Floating on top was for the windblown crap the next day when the road opened. More of a survival mode than something to strive for.

What am I missing??
Or should I just be glad I didn't miss what I had??
 

CO Freeskier

Getting on the lift
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You're not missing anything. I agree...was watching footage from a recent two foot storm in SW CO and of the 8-10 skiers and boarders that were filmed charging down the untracked pow not a single one even got a face shot. Sure they'd kick up a wave of snow kicking the skis/board totally sideways but you saw none of that blower snow hitting their thighs/waist and flowing upwards on their chests/face. You watch ski movies these days and it is the same, so different from 15 years ago...ski a 120-130mm and float on top.
 

fatbob

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What you are missing is all the days whe it isn't neck deep. Plus it's BS to say everyone is floating on top of powder, fun though that weightless feeling is. If it were true there would be less competition for fresh tracks as floaters would barely leave a track.
 

4ster

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I would say it depends on the snow. In the super light, 3% fabled Little Cottonwood Canyon fluff it will still go over your head on modern equipment just like the old days on skinny skis. The problem is that snow is usually skied out in a matter of minutes nowadays.
 

slowrider

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feb17f.jpg
 
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jimidut

jimidut

Skier since Rope Tow days
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Wow that video is a little frightening. We used to peer over the backside of Hidden Peak and wonder "what if". But that rope drop start is weird. Everbody cutting infront of each other. Wheres the etiquette? I always thought it looked too flat back there anyway.
Kinda like the Vail bowls. First time there was 71 and my CMC University roommate and I couldn't make a turn one in deep snow. We were boilerplaters from the PA snowmaking experiments and between the single lens, fogged goggles, and 2 feet of fresh, we were troubled teens. Jeff finally tired of turn crash turn and went straight down the Sundown Bowl. No turns, top to bottom, pole dragging a 50 foot snow plume of beauty. I tried it next run and of course augered my whole body in. After that we bagged the bowls,and Sinners that we were, went in search of packed runs. My only visit to Vail.
 

locknload

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I would say it depends on the snow. In the super light, 3% fabled Little Cottonwood Canyon fluff it will still go over your head on modern equipment just like the old days on skinny skis. The problem is that snow is usually skied out in a matter of minutes nowadays.
I would say it depends on the snow. In the super light, 3% fabled Little Cottonwood Canyon fluff it will still go over your head on modern equipment just like the old days on skinny skis. The problem is that snow is usually skied out in a matter of minutes nowadays.
Nice skiing!! Clean line and you didn't let all the craziness around bother you. Blue jacket almost turned into you almost halfway down and the guy got in front of you at the bottom part.
 

1Turn2Many

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I’m old. I was on a pair of 207 cm Kneissl White Stars the day powder skiing finally clicked for me. While I don’t think that there is anything better than skiing in the snow on skinny sticks, modern skis do have two advantages, speed and turn shape. Big turns at speed on a steep face in deep snow are surprisingly stimulating.
 

4ster

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Nice skiing!! Clean line and you didn't let all the craziness around bother you. Blue jacket almost turned into you almost halfway down and the guy got in front of you at the bottom part.
Oh, that isn my video. I just pulled it off YouTube as an example of the modern powder frenzy!
 
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jimidut

jimidut

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I’m old. I was on a pair of 207 cm Kneissl White Stars the day powder skiing finally clicked for me. While I don’t think that there is anything better than skiing in the snow on skinny sticks, modern skis do have two advantages, speed and turn shape. Big turns at speed on a steep face in deep snow are surprisingly stimulating.
White Stars. I remember them well. My first pair of brand new skiis were Kneissel Reisenslalom in 1962. They had lime-green p-tex bottoms. I thought I was so cool. Learned to Hockey stop that year. Then I was cool...
 

SSSdave

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A worthwhile subject in part because it doesn't seem to be understood well by advanced skiers that tend to simplify how they ever describe what is going on with snow beneath their skis in part due to lack of terms.

Even when skiing at Tahoe in the 1980s with usual sub 70mm at boot skis, I don't recall post storm days after multi-feet dumps when skiers actually skied over longer lengths of slopes at waste deep depths except on rather steep slopes or where someone is coming over a drop into fill areas where their weight gravity forces were strong enough to get down to that depth. On the other hand we all saw film clips when that did happen after ultimate powder Utah storms. One in particular is in the opening minutes of Stump's, Fistful of Moguls.

1. Skiers using skis with greater surface areas sink less, skinnier less surface area skis deeper.
2. Heavier skiers sink deeper into snow, lighter skiers less.
3. Skiers sink deeper into cold dry snow that tends to occur more often at higher elevations of inner continental regions.
4. Skiers sink deeper into less surface wind packed or sun affected snow.
5. Skiers sink deeper on steeper slopes where vertical gravity forces are greater.
6. Skiers sink deep before fallen snow has had time to metamorphosize.
7. Skiers sink deeper if they dynamically up/down bounce turns versus just going straight or make long planing turns.

Here in the Sierra, even when snow levels reach down below 2000 feet at Auburn and Placerville, to really get deep say up at 8k+ one must either storm ski when such multifoot dumps are occurring or if dumping overnight, early the next morning because just like any ice in one's freezer, frozen water metamorphism causes crystalline snowflakes even with driest snow to increasingly adhere to each other as water vapor migrates from less cold to colder surfaces. The greater the temperature, the greater the temperature gradient, the more water vapor, the faster such occurs, the more resistance moving through snow either down, sideways, or back up. The net effect regarding this subject is one won't sink down as deeply below a snow surface as time after deposition increases. That is one reason during my earlier years when I most skied at Kirkwood where multi-foot dumps are common, I often would storm ski during lower wind storms while snowflakes were still loose. Unlike in high altitude continental climates, storms along the Pacific Coast tend to arrive less cold and as they depart are colder as cold air follows. Thus even after multifoot dumps, really cold dry coastal region snow is more often not that deep only in surface layers.


DR_1-24-17a.jpg


The above image shows my early morning tracks on Rossignol S7's at Dodge Ridge after a January 24, 2017 extra cold storm dropped 22 inches on an already deep snow pack. While others were standing in the base lift lines waiting for upper mountain lifts to open, instead this old light guy picked on a short novice lift at the base to show off. A few others then joined me but as one can see they all bogged down haha. The below image is from the top of those tracks showing how the tracks were thigh deep. Notice how my fall line bouncing style on low gradients does not create rounder powder 8 style turns because I really don't need or choose to but rather slight left right deflections. But on greater slopes yeah, I choose to and make more rounded deeper turns.

Last Monday 3/6/23 when I skied at Heavenly and GoPro recorded several powder runs I've posted a few herein, the resort was closed for most of sunny Sunday while temperatures were in teens with wind after the storm dropped 17 inches Saturday. The snow had already metamorphosized enough after that one day it wasn't too deep though deeper so in north facing conifer shading less wind prone trees. Although the videos tend to show my shovels somewhat shallow, that is normal for wide powder skis that tilt down tip to tail so the shovels float surfing ahead without diving down. Very evident looking back at my tracks I was creating foot plus deep tracks. The steep vertical side walls of my tracks per below are also common evidence of skiing through really cold dry snow.


DR_1-24-17b.jpg


I've learned the GoPro 8 in Video SuperView mode (142 degrees wide) is rather useless for recording following ski tracks by stopping then turning around 180 degrees, because it distorts distance making tracks look far away. At resorts, also it is too much a button pushing hassle with fingers exposed to cold air, to switch from Video to Photo modes. So in the future when using the GoPro on powder days, will also stick my tiny Canon ELPH190 at 5 ounces with its 10x zoom, in a pocket.
 
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dan ross

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My first trip out west( Alta 80/81?) Met and hung out with some guys who worked at a local restaurant and was gifted with a cheap $1.99 snorkel like kids wear in a pool. “Tuck it under your goggle strap pull up your bandanna and go”. Wondered if I was getting pranked but it worked like a charm-I could concentrate on trying to figure out powder and not think about breathing. ( I suck at multi-tasking)
 

dan ross

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I might be preaching to the choir here ( thread drift but related to slope etiquette) but I noticed a lot of people my last time out that seemed preoccupied with getting something they could post. It’s almost like the reality they were in was secondary to the digital one they were recording for. That’s a shame. If I had their tech when I was a kid, I would have been all over it but I can’t help but feel they’re missing something important- being in the moment.
 

Slim

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While I think it’s fun to feel the snow washing over my thighs (at 6’5” living in the Midwest and only started skiing 10 years ago, so not as much powder in my life as I’d wish, so no true face shots yet),
The great joy for me of skiing powder is the ‘floating’ and ‘bouncing’ sensations.
 

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