Originally Posted by Bob Peters
Beautiful day and very nice conditions. Nice report.
But since you asked, Grasshopper...
Yes, it counts as corn. Well done for getting out there.
However, like most things in life, "corn" is a spectrum and the devil is in the definitions. I would call your conditions corn but I wouldn't call it 'perfect" corn. As I said in my earlier post, my definition of perfect corn almost always rules out any conditions inside the boundaries of a ski resort.
The reason is that the constant skier traffic in-resort changes the structure and the texture of the snowpack. It leaves small bumps and texture changes in the snow surface that you don't find when you're skiing a huge, open face or bowl that hasn't seen skier traffic all season. You can see that best illustrated in your photos # 3 and 13. The snow surface you're skiing on is affected - to greater or lesser degree - by the tracks left by previous skiers, boarders, groomers, etc. It's a subtle difference but I think it's significant.
Also, check out the depth of the tracks you're skier is leaving in the 2nd and 3rd to the last photos. The depth of those tracks indicates to me that either the snow wasn't quite "THERE" in texture, meaning it was new snow that had started to set up into corn but hadn't yet developed that strong re-freeze bond on top. That, or your timing was just about a half hour late in your skiing time and you were already sinking in past the top layer.
In *my* definition of perfect corn, you only skim the very top, soft, incredibly smooth layer. There's no sinking in. That's what makes perfect corn so delightful.
Maybe it would help to contrast the tracks in your photos with the ones this skier is leaving and maybe you can see what I'm talking about:
Now I know it's nit-picky, but this discussion is very much like arguing the differences between VERY fine wines. Spectacularly good red wines are made in France. Equally great red wines are made in California. Whether one wine is somehow "better" than the other depends not only on personal taste but also on what the taster has previously personally experienced.
What you skied was beautiful and undoubtedly great fun. In the original argument, however, I said that I prefer "perfect" corn to powder skiing for a variety of reasons. I got a fair amount of grief for saying that, but on reflection (and some more perfect corn skiing yesterday
I stand by that statement. I've experienced plenty of what practically anybody would consider perfect powder skiing. I've also experienced enough perfect corn skiing to feel comfortable in my opinions. Comparing the very best powder skiing I've ever had to the very best corn skiing I've ever had, I'll take corn.
And with that, I think we both need to get out there and ski some more.
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
I agree that there seems to be a huge divergence on what "corn" skiing is.
I grew up in my skiing journey with the understanding that corn skiing was a very rare, very special condition that only existed in situations where there was very little traffic on a particular slope. Borntoski683's definition is almost identical to mine. You almost NEVER - inbounds - see what I was brought up to believe was corn skiing because the innate reality of skier traffic destroys the natural freeze-thaw cycle that results in corn snow off-piste.
Ergo... corn skiing to me doesn't involve bumps, doesn't involve groomed slopes, doesn't involve anything that can usually be reached from a ski lift. It's all about smooth, open bowls or faces that are operating only on the natural cycles of sun and temperature.
"Real" corn skiing to me is that rarest of natural conditions that results in the smoothest, most predictable, EASIEST skiing there is. You can ski any pitch, any slope, any nutso chute you can imagine with confidence.
"True" corn skiing, however, typically only lasts about an hour per day on a given slope. Once the full sun has been on a smooth, frozen snow surface for longer than that, the snow starts to soften to a depth of three or four inches or more. When that happens, the snow surface starts to get that snow-cone, sloppy, inconsistent quality that a lot of people seem to associate with what I would call "resort corn". If you haven't skied backcountry corn to contrast with resort corn, then I would submit that you haven't really experienced some of the best skiing conditions know to man.
In summary, I think there are multiple definitions of corn.