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Your WORST EVER powder day!

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

Got one?  I was reading in another ski forum recently and found a thread where someone described a terrible powder day.

This story was buried, mind you, in a discussion of what "powder" means.  

So, does anyone here have a "bad" powder day story?

post #2 of 45
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

So, does anyone here have a "bad" powder day story?


It happened, and I wasn't there. 

post #3 of 45

A few years ago I went on a ski club trip to Sun Peaks.  It was extremely cold when we got there (-24F) and still cold the first morning (0F).  We had a great day of skiing on about 4" of cold, light new snow.  That night it began to snow pretty hard and there was about 8-12" of great powdery new the next morning.  We were all excited and raring to go.  As we walked to the slopes I was giddy with anticipation of the great turns we were going to get.


On the first chair ride, the temperature took a sudden spike up.  It went right past freezing and it began to mist.  The water hit the really cold snow and froze into a crust.  Only the first run was any good at all, but it was weird, loud powder because the crust made a sound as it broke.  After that the ice was too thick and we couldn't navigate it with any ease at all.  The groomers were turning into ice sheets.  We gave up and went home.


The freezing rain was so bad that the freeway over the Coquihalla froze solid and we were in a stopped line of cars, trucks, and busses.  We were there for hours.  It was so slick the bus driver couldn't even stand up outside to put on the chains.  We got home after midnight.

post #4 of 45

I've skied some amazing powder days, but one was awful :). I was in the middle of a bowl, it was grey and coming down so hard I could not see my hand in front my face. I knew I was moving but had no visual cues to turn or slow my speed. It's like skiing blindfolded. Very odd feeling. I pretty much had to stop and wait there until it lightened up.

post #5 of 45

Well, if I had to choose one…

It was this powder day at Steamboat that hardly registered as a powder day (~6”). It was brutally, brutally cold and I got frostbite on the few corners of my face that were exposed. That sucked.

post #6 of 45

We started the day at Alpine Meadows, it was a whiteout day ZERO visibility and worse than skiing in a milk bottle. The only lift that was running was Roundhouse and with Squaw on wind hold there was a huge line. After 3 hours and just 2 runs we took off to go to Northstar. what turned out to be the worst day at Alpine worked into a great day at Northstar where it was empty and wind protected. For those who say they would rather have a bite of a steak over a big hamburger...enjoy your bite...I want a full belly. 


It would have been the worst powder day..if we decided to just go home. 

post #7 of 45

Honestly can't say I've had a bad powder day other than not being able to enjoy it fully because of teaching, but, and yes I'm bragging here, after many seasons in Japan , if I were never to see the white room again, I've still had 3-4 lifetimes worth. And not yet a single day here has been near my top 20 there. No talent involved. Just damned good fortune and being in the right place at the right time before it was discovered. 

post #8 of 45

My worst powder day was the first hour of my first powder day!  :D  I was like, HTF does THIS work?!?!  Haha!  I got it figured out and unfortunately I haven't had that many since and they've all been good.  :)

post #9 of 45

any day that my skis do not float and the bottom is hard. 


I have tons of great pictures from day that actually sucked to ski, I have tons of medicore pictures from day that where actually freaking aweosme to ski. 


more recently I actually found the majority of the skiing at the A basin mothersday gathering to be quite bad. ton of hard snow, with dust on top, and was getting skied off really fast. You could get face shots but I am not use to snow that hard.  

post #10 of 45

Such is life at the end of the season. 

post #11 of 45
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Such is life at the end of the season. 



you would think the snow would be heavier......

post #12 of 45

Not necessarily. Dust on crust happens... spring equals inconsistent pretty much everywhere I've ever skied. :)

post #13 of 45

Alta April 6,2012 last day last run before I had to leave for airport,12"of fresh, blew my previosly torn into a ruptured quad tendon, Turned out to be a very memorable experience. 

post #14 of 45
Sugarloaf about 10 years ago. 4 hour drive, pay for a motel room and lift tickets for me and my son. Next morning 2 runs of legit deep powder and then they closed all the lifts. Don't remember what the problem was anymore but I posted about it at the time.
post #15 of 45

It was this last season one storm day at Northstar on  a Sunday in February or March. The snow was the wettest and heaviest that I have ever experienced: absolutely unskiable unless it had been groomed in the previous twelve hours; and I was on my fat and rockered Patrons. If I tried to ski in deeper snow, it would stop me dead in my track, and the snow would stick to to top of my skis a foot high, until I lifted them and shook it off, which was not easy.

Grouse Alley, under the top of the Comstop Express, was a three hour long s--tshow of yard-sales of a dozen or more people at a time, each thinking that, even though they had just passed right over the afor-mentioned s--tshow, they would somehow have the requisite skills to ski it.

Later, thinking that skier compaction would have a mitigating effect, I skied it. The sitzmarks were three  feet deep, and so set-up that they were practically bullet-proof. I never fell, but it was an extremely rough ride, as was just about everything else by that time, that had been skied. 

However, the next day was awesome, at least for the first few hours.

post #16 of 45
All the ones I missed this year because life got in the way and I couldn't ski.
post #17 of 45
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

So, does anyone here have a "bad" powder day story?


It happened, and I wasn't there. 


I'm not sure why the thread wasn't locked after this post...

post #18 of 45

Been a couple over the years, all but included being stuck on broken lifts.  The exception was when a avalanche took out the base lift while we were still booting up.

post #19 of 45

It should have been the best powder day of my life (and if the stars align and it ever happens to me again, damn right it will be) but I'd never skied the stuff before, was on my only (narrow-waisted groomer) skis and it was a complete whiteout. I did one top to bottom run, and due to my woeful technique retired for the day with screaming thighs.


Never mind that there were about five cars in the carpark, no other skiers on the top lift, virtually no tracks anywhere, and it was knee-deep (which is pretty good here), no wind, all lifts running ... sigh.   

post #20 of 45

Many years ago I was feeling really feisty and decided to drop into some trees without looking first.  One thing lead to another and I slammed into a big fir tree.  Thank goodness for the helmet or I may have knocked myself out.  As it was, my goggles gave one eye a nice cut under it which turned into a nice shiner.  Needless to say, I called it a day and it was almost knee deep.:( 

post #21 of 45

All powder days are awesome.  However I have a terrible habit of getting too stoked for first lap and then wrecking badly in my frenzy for a fresh line.  Fortunately I've now learnt my lesson and take it a little easier so I don't spend 45 minutes digging for a ski and thereafter being exhausted all morning.  Second lap the snow's still good and someone's probably put in the traverse tracks out by then.


I did get first chair on KT22 once - soon realised why people had stayed home as hit the rain line 10 foot off the chair and nearly exploded my knees. Even for a Sierra interpretation fresh snow was definitely not powder.

post #22 of 45

The very first time I went to Val d'Isere, it snowed so much that the entire mountain was shut down the first day due to the avalanche danger. We were even told not to leave the hotel until noon because some of the avalanches were reaching street level. At first, they were driving the excess snow down the valley and dumping it out. But by the afternoon, they were just dumping it straight into the river in town to save time.


No skiing done the entire day, and I couldn't even leave the hotel until lunch time. But, the rest of the week was fantastic.

Edited by CerebralVortex - 6/27/14 at 3:17am
post #23 of 45

In March 1992 I took a business trip to Los Alamos Lab in NM.  Flew out of Wash DC and arrived Albuquerque, NM on a Saturday 11am, went straight to Ski Santa Fe and had a nice afternoon skiing, but started to feel altitude sick at 6pm.  Didn't sleep worth a darn at the Abominable Snowmansion that night in a dorm room full of guys who'd all been eating green chili. Then went to Taos for first time ever.  Stlll felt really crummy, skied anyway, but sort of going through the motions.  It snowed about 6-8 inches while skiing that day.  This was a business trip.  I rented ski gear and was dressed in same leather bomber jacket and street pants that worked ok the sunny day before at Ski Santa Fe.  Sunglasses instead of goggles.  Thin gloves.  Bought a ski hat at Taos.  But between altitude sickness and poor equipment it was not a very fun day.  About 3pm I left to go to LANL for remainder of work week.  By the time I got to motel in Los Alamos I felt really good and altitude sickness was over, but it took me 20 years to get back to Taos.  When I did I had a great time and finally got to really enjoy one of the great advanced ski mtns in the US:  http://www.epicski.com/a/taos-grades-high-in-geography

post #24 of 45
Originally Posted by FairToMiddlin View Post

Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

So, does anyone here have a "bad" powder day story?

It happened, and I wasn't there. 

I'm not sure why the thread wasn't locked after this post...

post #25 of 45

^^ Ok, I should add to the thread in a more constructive manner. Steamboat, late March, in the 50s one day, 7 or 8 in. of cold light smoke the next. It was dust  on coral reef. But not everywhere on the mountain; we ended up being restricted to just a few runs, but once we found them it was a lot of fun. So even that was better than most. The first few runs were quite a disappointment, though.

post #26 of 45

February 21 this year my wife broke her leg in two feet of fresh blower.

post #27 of 45
Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post

February 21 this year my wife broke her leg in two feet of fresh blower.


Winter Park 2008 16" of blower pow and my bro and I were going big and charging hard. I ended up breaking my leg from a rotational fracture due to the failure of my binding and my ski failing to release. The worst part of it all was that the next day was another 17" of pow. That is pretty much unheard of at WP. I will say that I have made up for it since though.
post #28 of 45

Winter Park, spring break week one year, so I was up all week.


There was an incredible storm cycle which had dumped a couple of feet between Sunday night and Tuesday night.


Then it started to snow.


By Wednesday morning, WP had 48" overnight! My condo was two miles down the highway from the resort. The highway was passable between town and the resort, although Berthoud Pass was thoroughly closed - and would remain closed until Friday or Saturday, as far as I can remember. Anyway, I managed to catch a ride to the resort, where skiing was not happening because the top and bottom stations of the chairlifts were literally buried. I have a picture of a colleague in the lodge elevator with a snowblower. The snow had completely overwhelmed the heated floor of the second floor patio, and he had been assigned the job of attempting to remove some of it.


So, we shoveled instead of skiing.


They finally managed to turn the bullwheels of the Zephyr at about 10:30, so we attempted to ski.


Right. This was in the days before fat powder boards. The snow wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly blower. My skis were 78mm underfoot. Attempting a typical black diamond run in a more-or-less upright position just resulted in grinding to a halt fairly quickly. Groups were pushing and kicking their way down the hill. We eventually discovered it was possible to go downhill very slowly under gravity power if you sat way back so that the ski tips stuck out of the snow, sort of. Also, it was best if you made no attempt to turn (not that you could turn from that position anyway...) because if you somehow succeeded in turning, you would stop.


After a while, it became possible to ski more-or-less normally in the areas that had been chewed up. About 3 in the afternoon, I was still getting face shots on terrain that had been skied quite a bit. There were blocks of unskied snow in the middle of some of the runs. Thinking it would be fun to blast through some of that, I headed for one.


It least I thought it was a block. It turned out to be a large area of unskied snow at the side of the run. It was still snowing hard and visibility was poor. I hit the deep snow section with some speed and quickly found myself stopped, standing upright with my skis on my feet, with snow up to my chest. I was about 15 feet into the unskied area. It took me a good 10 minutes to kick my way out.


Altogether an interesting day, but not what I would call ideal skiing. The snow was too dense to ski through unless you managed to fight your way to something really steep, but not dense enough to float you very much with the skis of the day. A pair of powder boards 125mm underfoot would have been perfect.


By the end of the week, the storm total was 84". Not Sierra quantity, but still not bad.


Years later, at Whitewater, I had an opportunity to ski 3 feet of OB untracked, still on similar 78mm skis. It was a very steep pitch, and it was one of the best runs I've ever had. 78mm skis float just fine, if you can get going fast enough.

post #29 of 45

I've had to think long and hard to come up with any bad memories resulting from big snow events.  I was able to conjure up the adverse events following a fun snow event we had here locally last winter.  Kids had so many snow days here that some had to go to school on Saturdays in early June.  Anyway, when things started to warm up after the last decent little dump, perhaps 8-10 inches all in all, I noticed the roofs over some out buildings sagging and creaking.  I scrambled around with ladders and long brooms to knock the cement off to the ground but wasn't able to save the little gazebo where the kids lock up their bikes.  FWIW, a strut on the top was already broken so no big deal.  Just took awhile to clean up and set up a new one..


post #30 of 45

This day at Mt. Spokane in 2008 was probably the worst I remember. It was bluebird with 18" of new. The problem was, and you don't see it in the video, that it was early season over the top of no base. We were smashing rocks with every turn in the un-groomed. Looks pretty good but it beat us up pretty good and tore our skis up. The telemarker in the video blew his ACL when he hit a rock under the snow.



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