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Describe you home area's powder day vibe... - Page 2

post #31 of 36

Here in the Northeast everyone gets to the slopes early and runs to be on the first few chairs, to get their first tracks on untouched snow (8AM weekends, 9AM weekdays). Then, most figure out real fast they can't ski a lick in the soft snow and overwork themselves tired trying to. As the slopes get tracked out these folks really can't handle the changing condition and are already so exhausted they leave by 10AM. Even faster if the old hardpack beneath the new snowfall powder starts to shine through in patches between those tracked out mounds of soft snow - as they're all done for the day at the point they hit a few of those shiny patches. Who's left? Me and and only a few other skiers sharing the whole place. The coolest vibe is to roll in as they're all leaving, circle the lots if you have to, and score one of their close up-front dream parking spots. Then boot up and catch the lift to empty slopes in a civilized manner...

post #32 of 36

Vail - the line at the Vista Bahn on a powder day is arguably one of the worst experience in skiing.  10x worse if it is a Friday, Saturday, Sunday in December or January.  I've been in line for first chair at a multitude of other places including Snowbird, Alta, JH, A-Basin but nothing compares to the mess that is Vail on a powder day.    A bunch of hot-shot front range folks who just moved to CO in the past 0-2 years who think they are living the dream by getting up at 4am to get in line for first chair at Vail.  Them and all their "buddies" who they are holding a place for cutting/pushing/shoving etc to get up the mountain.  Then the all-out race that ensues at Mid-Vail as everyone cuts each other off and skates as fast as they can to Chair 3 or 4, repeat at the top of the mountain.  It's quite silly to me.   Nevermind the potential 30 minute wait by 10am at Chair 5. 


A-Basin is cool, everyone excited but now amped up in what seems to be some mad race.  Everyone knows there will be plenty to go around for awhile, if you can ski it and/or hike for it.  Staggered rope drops and openings due to control work also helps cull the herd mentality that can be found at other places.


JH - silent anticipation.  Look like you know what you are doing, stay quiet, dont' ruffle any feathers and you are good.

post #33 of 36
Talking about Alta, I echoed what Xela said about reverence for the avi danger, the thrill of hearing the bombs go off, and this electric current of excitement and joy. The locals can get a bit overexcited, especially on the high traverse, but just go with it. As long as you step off traverses when stopped you won't get hit by some knucklehead going 30 mph...but that's (mostly) a joke. The overall level of skier is pretty high in LCC. The thing about this place is strategy and timing. Knowing patrols schedule for rope drops, finding the less obvious places, going where the crowd ain't. In my experience, the lift lines are more party than push. And when people drop into clean lines, you can hear whoops and hollers all over the mountain.
post #34 of 36

Loveland - is generally always mellow except for the first chair ride on lift #1 on a powder day.  There really isn't any lift line control to speak of at Loveland on most days, so the opening bell mad dash through the corral on lift #1 is just a big melee of bodies and I've seen people practically get run over.  Once everyone is on the mountain after their first lift the crowd usually disperses fairly quickly except for the staggered opening of lift #4.  Last season they put in a new triple chair there replacing the old double to help ease the log jam that would normally develop there.  Of course last season had little to no powder days so I can't say yet whether the new triple has actually solved the problem or only just improved the situation slightly.  They also setup a corral for lift #4 so that has improved some people's lift line manners where before there was some pushing and shoving at lift #4 when it loaded on the opposite side when it was a double chair.

post #35 of 36
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

Phase 1: Misinformation. Are they opening the tram? No one knows, no one says. You're basically spit on as an irritating shit for even calling to ask. Rumors abound. They'll open at 10, they'll open at 1, they've sent staff home. The only real way to know is when you see a tram go up.

Phase 2: The lineup. There will be 20, 30, 50, 60 people waiting outside the tram building on a rumor. Lots of bullshit: someone heard from the head of operations, they're definitely opening. Some lying: they're definitely not, in a bid to get people to give up. 

Phase 3: The scrum. The outside doors to the tram remain closed until they decide to open the top of the mountain. No reason not to allow people into the maze beforehand, they just don't. So when the doors slide open, there's a mad push to get onto the stairs and into the maze. I've seen people go down. I lost a pair of goggles there once. But I've always pushed on. 

Phase 4: The ride and scope. More misinformation. No one tells anyone else what they plan to ski first. Everyone's a liar at this point.

Phase 5: Even more misinformation. Is the core offpiste even open? Will we be fined for going down? Are passes being pulled? What's the real avy danger. No straight dope here. Italy is not exactly an information paradise. 

Phase 6: The tunnel. No doubt the door providing the shortest route out into the offpiste is shut as no one's bothered to shovel it yet, necessitating a 60-70 meter walk through a dark tunnel to get outside. On a powder day, this is a footrace. I've gone down here. 

Phase 7: The race to click in and go. No waiting. No buckling, no pole straps. Push off and fly. These first runs are so frenzied -- on weekend pow days at least -- that I find myself skiing too fast and not enjoying myself as much as I should. But there's a LOT of shouting. 


Great post, I love the misinformation phase. As a greedy powder skier at Whistler, it can help to be an agent of misinformation. If you are standing in line somewhere on Whistler "Hey, Blackcomb alpine popped! Let's get on the Peak 2 Peak!", or maybe "No way this is opening for at least another hour", or a favourite of mine, loudly wondering to my friends "Man, if I was here on vacation for a week I sure wouldn't be stoked about paying $100 for a lift ticket to stand in line all day, I'd rather be skiing".


All in good fun of course, barely anyone ever leaves the line-ups.

post #36 of 36

Yeah, I ALWAYS do that in the tram line, sometimes I get someone to bail. There's a sign saying trams only go every half hour, but that's only valid on weekdays. Lots of times people look at that and despair. I try to encourage that.

Other tactics:
-Pull apart skis and examine (year-old) damage, say stuff like "man, I wouldn't want to go up there without rock skis."
-Look ahead on line and say, "that's AT LEAST a 40 minute wait."
-"Hey, did you hear the chair up top is shut?"


Nothing like shortening the line.

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