Originally Posted by Bob Peters
I had an absolutely great day today. Felt like old times.
It was a true sleeper day on the hill. The 6am snow report said 3 inches of new snow with a forecast of light snow through the day. When I got to the mountain, it was 18 degrees, snowing hard, and the wind was howling like a banshee.
I'm helping coach a ski camp this week, and the camp is oriented toward carving and gates. Since the report said just a few inches of new snow, I took out my almost-new Rossignol Pursuit HP's. 81mm underfoot with an 18m turn radius.
Well, when we got to the top of the JH gondola at a few minutes after 9am, there was more like almost a foot of new snow. It had snowed over 2 inches an hour since 6am. So there I was on some "skinny", stiff, carving skis on a powder day. And it just kept on snowing. Oh, dear!
Well, I'm sure it was a function of the nearly perfect conditions, but I absolutely loved those skis today. The new snow was light, deep, and fluffy on top of a silky and firm-enough base. The feeling as those skis dropped through the light stuff, loaded up on the base, and then popped back up on the release was just outstanding. Constant face shots. Reminded me of old times.
I don't have anything against the new generation of fat skis. They're excellent at what they do.
But today felt like the most fun I've had skiing powder in some time.
Nobody has to agree with me. I'm just sayin'
Great thread! It reminds us how unique each day on the hill can be, as relates to gear choice, conditions, and technical expectations.
It is interesting you mentioned this: just today, I was relating to a customer the experience I had on my MX83's last spring. As is typical for April, it had thawed the previous day, then frozen overnight. In the morning, about 8" of blower snow had blow in, the bottom 2 inches gripping the hardpack underneath just right, so you were skiing on a firm surface. Normally, I would have been on a wider ski, but the MX83 was the only ski I had with me that day.
Result: I don't know if I had better turns all year. Instead of just cruising in the new snow, which is the typical feel of my wider skis, I was really getting in and out of the snow on those skinnier 83's. What really made it special was that when I was going to the hardpack underneath, the nice stiff tail of that ski would load and really blow me out of the pow and into the next turn. It was the ultimate "hero" pow skiing; loading and releasing with little effort, in and out of the snow, on each successive turn. I was harnessing energy that normally just isn't there, as I normally am not hitting hardpack underneath, and even if I was, not normally on a ski with this much power in the tail. If I could relate, it would be close to the powerful engagement/relax/release/weightless transition in the air you can get in the slalom gates, only this time in 8 inches of new snow. Of course, I had to ski super active to get this powerful feel (feet moving fore/aft like they were in the gates or in bumps) but crap, it was an amazing feeling. Simple bliss on skis: nothing matches that high G engagement/exit of a turn, and the resulting weightlessness!
I also agree that plenty of new snow skiing is best done on wider skis, but not all the time, and not for all conditions. It just depends on how you want to ski that day. I could have been going faster on my BMX128's, hitting insane super G speeds, but this was more akin to ripping a Subaru BRZ around a track with plenty of technical corners. I wasn't going as fast, but the grin factor was off the charts!
What I have often found (no surprise here) is that moderate new snow, especially light, is more fun on technical, more powerful skis, as is skiing steeps (I can really arc out the skis and crank tight high-G turns as long as I have moderate float). Deeper days, chopped up crud, and especially heavy snow, I like wider boards.