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Floating on Powder?

mister moose

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May 30, 2017
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671
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Killington
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???
Because wide skis with rocker are easier.
If they just want to ride on top of the freshie, why chase the deep??? A foot will work won't it?
Density of the snow matters. Plus bragging rights on depth of snow they skied, even if they never needed said depth.
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, (wait a minute, I never had to wipe goggles in the dry cold smoke western fluff) check for trees and drop down under for the next turn.
All of my inhale on the rebound turns were above timberline, no need to check for trees.


<execrable rant>
I call total BS on this thread and the many like it. What I see, on the rare occasions when I get to ski powder, is that the vast majority of skiers are either studiously avoiding the ungroomed, or else flailing hideously, in a way that aligns not at all with their accounts in the bar last night of long-past powder exploits. In short, they need all the help they can get.

Very true, but then there are also quite a few skilled powder skiers, even on the east coast. Quite a few were in attendance yesterday.

I know I, for one, am nothing but grateful for my modern powder skis. I am utterly uninterested in trading them in for my old Olin 195s. None of my ski buddies is, either.

I'm sure you have a point there, and not just about powder skiing. There are 2 kinds of narrow (Sub 65mm) skis out there today: Carving/racing, and bump skis. There is no 65mm powder ski on the shelf at any of the half dozen ski stores I skulk through. I'm not sure what my minimum would be today... I know I'm quite happy on 80 for anything lighter than snowball snow.
Yes, I've been skiing for 55 years, so I know all about skinny skis. Compared to today's gear they sucked in every conceivable way. Getting back on a pair will NOT bring back that one day you vaguely remember from when you were 19 and there were only 20 other people skiing the back bowls. It's not the skis you're attached to; it's the context, with its accumulated patina from having been fondled in a pocket of your memory all those times, like Bilbo's ring. If you really were and really continued to be a skilled frequent practitioner of powder skiing, you'd be down at the bench waxing up for tomorrow, not talking about how good things were yesterday.
</execrable rant>

Not so fast, oh skinny ski veteran. Here's a photo of me on said old school skinny skis. Notice you can't see them whatsoever. The pompom, the goggles and the pole baskets might help you date that photo.

skinny-skis-jpg.197064
Skinny skis.jpg


And yet I'm not in the basement waxing up for tomorrow. Or for Saturday, which unfortunately just might be boilerplate.

20230315_094551.jpg


This is Killington yesterday. Day 2 of an 18 inch storm. 2 of those tracks are mine, the rest are some interlopers that were skiing my trail. It really felt like my own trail as the associated lift wasn't running, and few people ventured there. Notice the hideous flailers haven't arrived yet.

The best powder days are when the lift cable has no gondolas on it.
 
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Rdputnam515

Getting off the lift
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Feb 2, 2021
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721
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Front Range, Colorado
Excuse my rant. Been too sick to so much as walk down my driveway, let alone ski, for two weeks, and it's affecting my attitude.

<execrable rant>
I call total BS on this thread and the many like it. What I see, on the rare occasions when I get to ski powder, is that the vast majority of skiers are either studiously avoiding the ungroomed, or else flailing hideously, in a way that aligns not at all with their accounts in the bar last night of long-past powder exploits. In short, they need all the help they can get. I know I, for one, am nothing but grateful for my modern powder skis. I am utterly uninterested in trading them in for my old Olin 195s. None of my ski buddies is, either.

Yes, I've been skiing for 55 years, so I know all about skinny skis. Compared to today's gear they sucked in every conceivable way. Getting back on a pair will NOT bring back that one day you vaguely remember from when you were 19 and there were only 20 other people skiing the back bowls. It's not the skis you're attached to; it's the context, with its accumulated patina from having been fondled in a pocket of your memory all those times, like Bilbo's ring. If you really were and really continued to be a skilled frequent practitioner of powder skiing, you'd be down at the bench waxing up for tomorrow, not talking about how good things were yesterday.
</execrable rant>

Photo from the recent Utah gathering, courtesy of Jim Kenny,

View attachment 196893
Tony I am with you here. Todays tech has made skiing so much more enjoyable for so many. I think it brings a whole new level of enjoyment to the game. I liked skiing pow back in the day, and it was fun bouncing around making pretty turns; but it does not compare to being able to carve/slash/slarve/surf/slide any turn shape you want at almost any time. Not to mention the confidence to attack the mountain.

I see some of my old skis in the garage, and they are great. Especially, sitting in the corner where they belong, waiting to be made into a chair or wall accent.
 

Jerez

Skiing the powder
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@Tony so sorry to hear you have been ill. That nasty "No-vid" cold get you? I had it for three weeks. Cough till your eyeballs feel like they're going to pop out and roll on the floor?

Hope you are better now!
 

Tony S

I have a confusion to make ...
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@Tony so sorry to hear you have been ill. That nasty "No-vid" cold get you? I had it for three weeks. Cough till your eyeballs feel like they're going to pop out and roll on the floor?

Hope you are better now!
THAT'S IT! Still not over it. Why do you know all about this and my medical group was clueless?
 

Rdputnam515

Getting off the lift
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Front Range, Colorado
Having a terrible time on straight skis-

View attachment 199365
Tom Lippert photo
Filming with Warren Miller in Verbier in 1973, where Dick Dorworth reveled in a three-foot dump of very cold, dry snow.
Skiing History Magazine, March-April 2023
WELL you did find the Yeti. So there is that.

You saying you dont like modern skis @James ? I know better than that. I know nothing about you other than your appreciation for the sport. I KNOW you love what new tech gives you. BTW you know as well as I do, fat skis can be straight. Shape skis and modern tech are not mutually exclusive.
 

James

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fat skis can be straight
Very few, if any, modern fat skis have a radius over 38m. There are those kite surfing skis that are 150m.

Given the choice of powder that lasts for days, or fat skis, it becomes more of an interesting question. Even for Tony.
 

fatbob

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Powder doesn't last for days it gets snowed on some more, redistributed by wind, sun crusted, moisture settled, warmed by wind etc etc. Ask anyone in Austria this winter.

So anything that gets you it while its primo is better. The idea of pristine blower poder stashes that remain untouched for weeks has mythological status because it is a myth.
 

1Turn2Many

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Powder doesn't last for days it gets snowed on some more, redistributed by wind, sun crusted, moisture settled, warmed by wind etc etc. Ask anyone in Austria this winter.

So anything that gets you it while its primo is better. The idea of pristine blower poder stashes that remain untouched for weeks has mythological status because it is a myth.
I guess that you’ve never skied in the Brooks Range. Perfect powder preservation conditions. Certainly doesn’t get skied out.
 

fatbob

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Correct, I along with 99.999999% of the world's skiers have never skied in one of the most isolated mountain ranges on the planet.
 

4ster

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!
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I guess that you’ve never skied in the Brooks Range. Perfect powder preservation conditions. Certainly doesn’t get skied out.
That’s pretty far north North America & the lift service is kinda limited ogwink
 

ScottB

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I know I, for one, am nothing but grateful for my modern powder skis. I am utterly uninterested in trading them in for my old Olin 195s. None of my ski buddies is, either.

I liked skiing pow back in the day, and it was fun bouncing around making pretty turns; but it does not compare to being able to carve/slash/slarve/surf/slide any turn shape you want at almost any time. Not to mention the confidence to attack the mountain.

I have skied powder on skis of all widths and lengths. You can roll mine fat, please. Why? Floatation is a blast and opens up so many other options for turn shapes and just enjoyment, like actually being able to relax a little. I do my best Tigger imitation on my superfats, don't turn, just charge and bounce like crazy. My speed control is sinking into the snow on my 143 mm underfoot fatties. (see avatar picture) I do weigh 240lbs, so not all will need the width I do. There is so much personal preference involved. If you want to ski with your skis "in the snow" that is your thing, but not everyone's.

I will jump on the "persevere the powder" bandwagon, as I am just as self centered as the next skier, and want it all to myself (screw everyone else). I am glad, though, that at least having to hike to it is still a thing and keeps at least some of the masses away. Hey, its a crowded world we live in.

IMG_20221218_140205306.jpg



30" of med-heavy powder this year in Maine. I was NOT on my super fats (was on Liberty Origin 96mm, lots of rocker) and I was struggling mightily in the depth and density of the snow. I would have enjoyed at lot more on my superfats. To be honest, this kind of snow is very debatable on what ski you should use in my opinion, as I saw a few people on stiff 78-88mm skis, skiing deep in the snow and doing much better than I was.

Its never the Indian, its always the arrow. :ogbiggrin:
 
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silverback

You ain't gonna learn what you don't wanna know...
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Wasatch
I think Sink vs float can have more to do with shape and technique than just waist width. Video from last week… I’m on 125s and my exuberant friend filming me is on 112s. He outweighs me by quite a bit btw. He is floating a lot more than I am.

 

Rdputnam515

Getting off the lift
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Front Range, Colorado
I think Sink vs float can have more to do with shape and technique than just waist width. Video from last week… I’m on 125s and my exuberant friend filming me is on 112s. He outweighs me by quite a bit btw. He is floating a lot more than I am.

View attachment 200200
Nice turns man. That’s the way to do it. didnt look like you were having any fun lol
 

charlier

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Dec 6, 2019
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Seattle & Rossland, B.C.
I think Sink vs float can have more to do with shape and technique than just waist width. Video from last week… I’m on 125s and my exuberant friend filming me is on 112s. He outweighs me by quite a bit btw. He is floating a lot more than I am.
After using my new touring skis (Pagado 112 v2), I sold my wider skis. I find that its not needed for my skiing in the Pacific NW and in British Columbia. Since I mostly tour, I use tech bindings but at skiing inbounds, alpine bindings would be nice.
 

socalguy

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Orange County
My family and I recently spent a week skiing Snow Bird and Alta. We experienced a couple beautiful powder days. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience until our last ski day. I submarined my right ski in thigh high powder, I was going pretty fast and got tamahocked. I'm not feeling the love for powder so much anymore. I ended up visiting the clinic at Snow Bird for a couple hours and limped off the mountain. I was skiing my 93 Nordica Enforcers, I was far from floating. I could not see my tips, boots or whatever I stuck into under the surface. It's hard for me to say if it was a lack of skill on my part or just dumb luck. I haven't skied in anything like it before.
 

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