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Powder or corn

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

What do you prefere corn or powder?

I've never skied corn but read so much about it? 

Have I seriously been missing out on a treat?

post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by rossymcg View Post

Hello all,

What do you prefere corn or powder?

I've never skied corn but read so much about it? 

Have I seriously been missing out on a treat?


Both!

 

Yes Corn is for sure a treat.

post #3 of 19

Well it's probably much harder to get a mouthful of corn so that you can't breathe. Plus, it's warmer when you're skiing corn, so you're less likely to freeze.

Both of those make corn much safer to ski without a hat.

I think I still like powder better. No corn....powder...corn....powder.

post #4 of 19

"Corn" snow is a term with many interpretations.  

 

For me, it means a gigantic slope that has zero tracks and only the top one-half inch to inch of the snow surface has softened in the sun.  That slope has been accumulating snow all winter but hasn't been skied at all.  Months of snowfall and wind and sun all combine to produce a slope that's so smooth you'd swear it was sculpted by Michelangelo.   It's the silkiest, most uniform surface you can imagine and it ONLY happens when a bunch of cold, clear nights lead to bright, sunny mornings.

 

Perfect corn is far more rare than great powder skiing.  My friends think it's sacrilege, but I truly would trade a run with what I define as perfect corn snow for  five runs with a couple feet of powder.      

post #5 of 19
Think about skiing a groomed mattress surface with just enough give to make it feel soft. This is how perfect corn feels.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

"Corn" snow is a term with many interpretations.  

 

For me, it means a gigantic slope that has zero tracks and only the top one-half inch to inch of the snow surface has softened in the sun.  That slope has been accumulating snow all winter but hasn't been skied at all.  Months of snowfall and wind and sun all combine to produce a slope that's so smooth you'd swear it was sculpted by Michelangelo.   It's the silkiest, most uniform surface you can imagine and it ONLY happens when a bunch of cold, clear nights lead to bright, sunny mornings.

 

Perfect corn is far more rare than great powder skiing.  My friends think it's sacrilege, but I truly would trade a run with what I define as perfect corn snow for  five runs with a couple feet of powder.      


Well there's the answer!

I have definitely not skied perfect corn.
 

 

post #7 of 19

Corn isn't any smooth spring slope. Corn is snow that has refrozen into kernal sized balls. I've skied perfect corn, and while good it doesn't hold a candle to powder skiing.

post #8 of 19

Corn is great because it forms a perfect platform to turn on at whatever angle you push on it.  You can also go real fast, but stop on a dime.  A great medium to ski, but it does not compare to the 3-dimensional experience of deep powder. 

 

I think the best corn is spring backcounty.  Around here, in the winter the steep high faces are too dangerous to ski because of avalanche potential, but in the spring when the snow pack goes isothermal you can boot up the hard north faces and ski the very steep southern ones when they soften in the sun.  The surface melts and refreezes every day so everything eventually becomes perfectly smooth, and then it is just a matter of doing an early climb and sitting on a peak to wait for the top few inches to soften to perfect velvet.  If you have a good bowl you can traverse to a different sun angle and stay in the right consistency velvet all the way down.

 

Best way to extend the season after the lifts close, high altitude sweet corn.biggrin.gif

post #9 of 19

Nice. Sounds like one should go with someone who knows.

I'll repost this here.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

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.

 

post #10 of 19

I luv me some corn,

East side of Round Top 040.JPG

 

but pow pow be sweet too

surface hoar.jpg

 

JF

post #11 of 19

Corn skis?

post #12 of 19

Corn Snakes?

 

Snow+Corn+Snake+Hatchlings.jpg

Photo South Mountain Reptiles    http://snakesnmoresnakes.blogspot.com/2009/07/snow-corn-snake-photos.html

post #13 of 19

very wet corn in this bowl late season.Squaw Pano April 16 002 [1024x768].JPGMy whole reason for posting at a site with winter as the focus is to minimize the chance of seeing an image of a snake. no luck.IMG_0528 [1024x768].JPG

 

The eights in powder were fun, going back a lap later to finish the job.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post

Corn is great because it forms a perfect platform to turn on at whatever angle you push on it.  You can also go real fast, but stop on a dime.  A great medium to ski, but it does not compare to the 3-dimensional experience of deep powder. 

 

I think the best corn is spring backcounty.  Around here, in the winter the steep high faces are too dangerous to ski because of avalanche potential, but in the spring when the snow pack goes isothermal you can boot up the hard north faces and ski the very steep southern ones when they soften in the sun.  The surface melts and refreezes every day so everything eventually becomes perfectly smooth, and then it is just a matter of doing an early climb and sitting on a peak to wait for the top few inches to soften to perfect velvet.  If you have a good bowl you can traverse to a different sun angle and stay in the right consistency velvet all the way down.

 

Best way to extend the season after the lifts close, high altitude sweet corn.biggrin.gif



 

So would one be correct in saying, corn is avalanche safe? And that you look up at unsafe un skiable areas during the colder months thinking "come spring I'll be shredding you up"

So for you is it a powder day or a corn day?

 

What about you Tog? And no sitting on the fence powder or corn?

post #15 of 19

Well if I must choose, powder. That's just because I don't get enough. Seems like those that do like "true corn" more.

post #16 of 19

Luckily they don't happen at the same time. smile.gif

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Luckily they don't happen at the same time. smile.gif


Ah, but alas you are mistaken.  I have experienced this dilemma on more than one occasion.  I have had days where there is fresh pow on the upper elevation northern facing slopes & smooth corn on the lower southerly aspects.

 

Makes for a nice combo run.

 

JF

 

 

 

post #18 of 19



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rossymcg View Post

So would one be correct in saying, corn is avalanche safe? And that you look up at unsafe un skiable areas during the colder months thinking "come spring I'll be shredding you up"

So for you is it a powder day or a corn day?

 

 

Powder still induces dream states for me like no other kind of snow, but the spring corn season has its own delights.  Fortunately, I don't have to choose just one, and yes I do look up at steep shots and think of shredding them in the sun later in the season.

 

As for corn being avalanche safe, it has it own set of dangers. I have seen a slush slide with a leading wave as big as a house sliding in slow motion down a 2,000 foot chute.  The key is timing with the condition of the snowpack, the night/day temps, and when you hit it.  A chilly wind, or an unexpected cloud cover can change the snow in minutes.  Too warm and the climb suddenly turns into post-holing, too cold and you may be looking at side-slipping all the way down.  Once the snow consolidates it makes the steeps one solid mass, which is less prone to slide, but if it does it will likely go to the ground.  Just because the top is sweet doesn't mean there aren't lurking dangers.  Years of experience and luck have lead me to best backcountry corn.  If you use your head, overall the danger is probably lower in the spring, but "safe" is not a word to be focused on in the mountains in any snow condition.

post #19 of 19
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