The thrill of skiing fresh snow vs the drive to get there?

focker

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So in my younger years I used to love to drive during/right after a snow storm to get to the ski hills (here in MN) asap to ski some fresh snow. I'm mainly talking about storms of 4"+ that don't happen all that often around here. Maybe 3 times per year.

I've made some serious white knuckle drives in my time but also skied some great snow as well. My attitude has always been that with as few 'powder' days as we get around here I needed to take advantage of them.

In the last 1-2 years however the drive doesn't seem worth it for the skiing for me. The chances of going into the ditch or crashing into another driver and the anxiety the drive brings just don't seen worth it. Also, the more it snows the worst the roads are going to be.

My question, Pugskiers, is how do you guys feel about this? Is the white knuckle drive worth it for you?
 

surfsnowgirl

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It can be worth it. Although I'm not a fan of driving in storms even though I have an extremely competent snow vehicle with killer tires but I just don't care for the whole driving 10 miles per hour trying to stay on the road and the slowness of it all. I worry more about other people losing control and crashing into me. I drive in vermont a lot with windy roads and I'm just not a fan during bad weather. I will do my best to get up there the night beforehand so I can just avoid the white knuckle drive and just be there for the after glory of the storm.
 

Monique

bounceswoosh
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I am okay with it in the evening with few other cars.

Not in traffic.
 

Chris Walker

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Last Sunday I was thinking the same thing sitting in a major back-up that stretched to the top of Berthoud Pass. I changed my mind after 2 turns of fresh tracks on the Arrowhead Loop. As long as you keep it between the ditches, powder is always worth the drive.:snow::yeah:
 

fatbob

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Fresh snow doesn't trill. It squeaks maybe but mainly makes a soft deadening "whoomph"
 

Jim Kenney

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I silenced the trill:)
In my home region, Wash DC area, It's complicated:) We often don't have a choice. If we don't get out of town before the big storm hits, then miserable traffic congestion prevents getting out later. Since many of us urban/suburban dwellers live a couple hours from ski areas, if the metro area gets a really good snow of a foot or more, we're hemmed in for days until the residential roads get plowed and cleared of dead vehicles. If it's only five or six inches and it hits the night before, then the city may shut down the next morning as offices/schools close. In that case, if you have a good snow car you might be in for a low traffic drive and a good day of skiing, albeit not in real deep new snow. If they shut down the city and schools and it only snows an inch or two of quickly melting snow (this kind of over-cautious reaction happens once a winter), then watch out, because everyone may try to go skiing on their unexpected "snow" day and given clear roads.
 

Novaloafah

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Fresh snow in "large" amounts is so rare in Atlantic Canada that I cautiously will drive to it. Last year we had a good dumping mid winter and a local hill managed to get enough staff in to open up for the afternoon. It was soft and dry and as I recall had drifted with the wind to be about knee height. But the real beauty was in the easy glades, the tree had held the snow so that when I pushed down my poles through the fresh and met resistance just as the snow touched the bottom of the grips. That was a first in my experience here, and a highlight day in my skiing life. So yup, will drive for what out here is very rare.
 

James

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This is why it really only needs to snow in nyc and Boston. Gets people out. The opposite doesn't work as well. Or at all. Esp not in March.
 

Sibhusky

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I'm totally okay with waiting a day, but have had some days where 16 minutes has been more like an hour when I've questioned my good sense. Mostly it's the bit of hill between my driveway and the county road that is the issue. They make sure the road to the resort is in good shape. And ever since they straightened some of the switchbacks and added guard rails it's been fairly uninteresting.
 

hespeler

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This is why it really only needs to snow in nyc and Boston. Gets people out. The opposite doesn't work as well. Or at all. Esp not in March.
I'd like the opposite but I understand the sentiment.

Much like golf, skiing can really be a retired person's activity. You really need flexibility to take advantage of skiing new snow and dealing with the associated weather issues.

City dwellers that have an apartment can just up and go but if you have a house and the kids need to get to school the next day and you need to get to work eventually, you have to clear your driveway which is another roadblock to just heading up to the mountains.

Last year, we were up at Sugarbush skiing with some friends (who live in Boston) and while we did get a little fresh snow, the biggest part of the storm hit Long Island. Driving back through bad weather in VT and Mass on Sunday slowed us down so a six hour drive turned into eight and the whole time I was thinking, "man I'm gonna have to clear all this snow at 9:30 at night after driving for eight hours." Plus I knew that it was freeze/thaw and the snow would have been set-up and almost impossible to snow blow or shovel.

Thankfully, my neighbor took care of it for me and all I had to do was get him some cigars but if he didn't I would have been miserable.

That same friend reaches out when a storm is coming and tries to get me to come up to SB but if the storm is hitting NYC/Long Island (and LI typically gets higher amounts than the City), I'm hemmed in at least until a day or two after.

I keep telling him, "all the stars have to align for me to ski powder." That said, they actually do align from time to time and I find myself skiing the soft stuff.
 

MikeS

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I have driven in rough conditions to get to the hill for a pow day. I've never questioned the wisdom of it for two reasons. If I was going up on a weekday, the roads were fairly empty, and my fellow travellers were all competent Vermonters who typically can handle themselves on snowy roads. If the storm hit on a weekend, I had to work at the mountain, so I had to make the effort to get up there anyways. In that case as well, I would be coming from the north, while most of the pow-hound tourists driving RWD Suburbans on all seasons would be coming from the south.
 

Johnny V.

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Not a very regular event around here, but last year we got about 1-1/12' feet in a March storm. I was up at 6:00AM to clear the driveway, put the truck in 4WD for the drive and made it down by about 7:45 so I could get on an early chair. Yes, it was worth it- got 1st tracks on a couple of slopes and had a blast. Made for a couple of great days in what was a pretty poor snow year.
 

Andy Mink

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Last year was the big one in the Sierra and I made the drive from Reno to N* several times on "bad" roads. By that, I mean CalTrans makes you chain up on I80 if you don't have 4x4. If you pay attention to the road reports and know some of the back roads you can avoid a lot of traffic. Like others, I'm more concerned with other drivers than the snow/ice itself. When you get there and have fresh, it's worth it. Still waiting for that storm this year.
 
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focker

focker

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I guess for me it's so much the ride there but the ride home that can suck. The ride there you're so excited about what's to come it's not so bad.

The ride home you're more tired and it seems to take longer, although hopefully the time on the hill has allowed the plows to get to work.

My drive to the ski hill involves about 15 miles on Interstate driving and then about 35 of 2 lane roads. It's the 2 lane roads that scare me.
 

James

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my fellow travellers were all competent Vermonters who typically can handle themselves on snowy roads.
While I generally agree, the quantity of vehicles stuck way down in the gully between north/south lanes on I89 is surprising. Most are work vehicles. I think the worst though are the random snow squalls that come up and dump 1-2 inches. The road goes from perfectly grippy to bad without warning.

Now I91 is the opposite.

Powder must be huge for snowmobilers. They always seem to be doing 80mph pulling a trailer while it's snowing.
 
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focker

focker

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While I generally agree, the quantity of vehicles stuck way down in the gully between north/south lanes on I89 is surprising. Most are work vehicles. I think the worst though are the random snow squalls that come up and dump 1-2 inches. The road goes from perfectly grippy to bad without warning.

Now I91 is the opposite.

Powder must be huge for snowmobilers. They always seem to be doing 80mph pulling a trailer while it's snowing.
I see the same thing happen a lot as well. The 1-2" storm seems to put a lot of cars into the ditch on my drive to the hill as they aren't as likely to break out the plows and salt trucks and really get after it like they might for a bigger storm. Also, during a bigger storm many people that don't have to drive don't and the roads are more empty for me.
 

Bill Talbot

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So in my younger years I used to love to drive during/right after a snow storm to get to the ski hills (here in MN) asap to ski some fresh snow. I'm mainly talking about storms of 4"+ that don't happen all that often around here. Maybe 3 times per year.

I've made some serious white knuckle drives in my time but also skied some great snow as well. My attitude has always been that with as few 'powder' days as we get around here I needed to take advantage of them.

In the last 1-2 years however the drive doesn't seem worth it for the skiing for me. The chances of going into the ditch or crashing into another driver and the anxiety the drive brings just don't seen worth it. Also, the more it snows the worst the roads are going to be.

My question, Pugskiers, is how do you guys feel about this? Is the white knuckle drive worth it for you?


4" ain't a storm! Even by eastern standards it's got to be 12"+ to qualify.

My favorite somewhat recent EPIC journey took me from CT to Sugarbush. Roads went from sleet/freezing rain to LARGE wet flakes, to pure ice storm in one 5 mile corridor, to sweet dry(ish) snow and plenty of it. Totals wound up being close to 2' and I had the best two days of skiing in the last decade. Even the locals were digging out and not @ the mountain. Rt. 100 was one lane max in many areas. I had snow coming over the hood in several places. My REX had 4 fresh Blizzaks put on a month before and I almost had as much fun on the drive as I did on the mountain. AWESOME!!! :D :yahoo:
Did I mention I had a pair of brand new blue K2 Pontoons with me...
 
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coskigirl

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I, too, have noticed that I'm more hesitant to tackle the roads during a big storm as I get older. So far, that usually means trying to find a way to beat the storm to the mountain and secure an overnight place to stay but not always. I think the increasing traffic on I-70 contributes as it seems that more and more people drive like idiots so I have to start earlier and earlier to avoid the madness. These days if it's a big snow and a weekend I figure I must be leaving my house by 5:15am so I hit Morrison no later than 6. It used to be clear sailing if I made Morrison by 6:30.
 

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