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Your WORST EVER powder day! - Page 2

post #31 of 45

Age 10ish - 18inches of what I would now describe as manky sierra cement. Had watched lots of Warren Miller at this time and my brother and I thought we were going to go out and rip it up on our old skinny skis - reality quickly set it as we could not even turn. I pretty much got slapped around all day and went home with a well earned dose of reality.

 

That day was the start of a life long quest to ski better in those conditions - do I ski like Hoji today? No. Am I close? No. Am I stoked YES!

post #32 of 45

I love the pow days where everyone bails by noon and leaves me 2 ft of chopped up crud/cement/potatoes to mash on all afternoon and show what leg strength really means.  Those days separate the real skiers from the gapers.

post #33 of 45

This one kind of sucked because I had to spend the best part of it rolling up slat fencing with the crew:

 

I'm sure the public appreciated it though...right?

post #34 of 45

Bad: Fell into a tree well on Steeplechase are of Aspen Highlands.

 

Good: Didn't die

post #35 of 45

Probably Les Arcs a few years ago. First day on skis after about a year, just about every decent lift closed until 11am for avy control work so just lapping the same chopped up mank for hrs. Light was very flat, I unwittingly skied off the end of a smallish cornice and after a small tomahawk I spent a while trying to locate my ski after the double ejection. When I finally found it I realised my pack had opened in the fall somehow and my wallet was now buried in pow somewhere. Carried on skiing and the Dynastar Mythics I'd rented tip dived like the Titanic. Gave up mid-afternoon and started calling card companies on premium international rate on my mobile cancelling my cards.

post #36 of 45

NOT the worst day, but it was very disappointing nonetheless.  In the 70s I was on patrol at Stevens Pass.  One morning the skies were blue, the temperature cold, and the new snow from the storm the night before was light and deep.  Those of us on the patrol were making breakfast and looking out the window at Cowboy Mountain and 7th Heaven, the only expert run in the ski area at that time in history.  Everyone was stoked for a fabulous day of powder skiing at a time when powder lasted all day.  The pros were out doing avalanche control, shooting the cornice on Cowboy Ridge as we all watched through the window, hoping anything that broke loose would be minor.

 

When the 110 howitzer charge went off the entire ridge went.  I've never seen an avalanche as big.  It took out all of Cloud Nine and Rock Garden all the way down to where the Hogsback lift unloading is now..  Needless to say, there was no powder on 7th Heaven that day, just a lot of ice balls.

post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post
 

 

 

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

 

At 12,000 feet? Naw...

post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post
 

I love the pow days where everyone bails by noon and leaves me 2 ft of chopped up crud/cement/potatoes to mash on all afternoon and show what leg strength really means.  Those days separate the real skiers from the gapers.

 

Not exactly the same thing, but I have come to love powder days at Wolf when it snows all day. Most of the mountain has blown up their quads by 2:00, and 2-4:00 the place is empty and back to full reset with the deepest turns of the day, on the entire mountain.

 

I've had several days where my legs are beyond toast, but I can't bring myself to not take the next run when every run is better than the last.

post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

I have come to love powder days at Wolf when it snows all day. Most of the mountain has blown up their quads by 2:00, and 2-4:00 the place is empty and back to full reset with the deepest turns of the day, on the entire mountain.

I've had several days where my legs are beyond toast, but I can't bring myself to not take the next run when every run is better than the last.

Free Refills do not suck.
post #40 of 45

Worst day was last season.

 

About 30" of new snow down.

 

Snow came in upside down. Blower was laid down first, followed by progressively heavier snow until you got to a thick, heavy upper layer.

 

Untracked snow on anything under a 30* pitch was unskiable. You would be pushed to the bottom of the snowpack and grind down to a halt- the heavy snow adds weight but no support, so you just keep getting pushed under- no float for you. Because this is Wolf Creek, you have nothing with a continuous pitch. You have 300-800 vert of steep, followed by green pitch, followed by steeps again. The only workable method is to follow tracks that you can jump in and luge run through the green pitch areas.

 

If you want to open up a new trail, ski with about ten buddies to open the trail- One person skis down till they get stuck, the next person skis in their tracks until they reach the person that is stuck, then passes them, then the next person, leapfrogging down the hill.

 

I do the first few runs with my wife, skiing "tracked up" stuff where the 30" has been kicked around to 20" fluff. She takes a headfirst fall and ends up head downhill in an untouched 30" drift, unable to clear her airway and in a panic under the snow. I dig her out, she is shaken up and no longer has any enthusiasm to ski. I tell her I will "take a few more runs" and head off by myself.

 

I decide I am smarter than everybody else that day, and that I will break trail into the slide path that is 1 to the right of the Alberta lift line (Tsunami). I am sure that all I have to do is maintain speed off the steeps and I can jump back into the tracked up trail under the lift. I have this idea that I can do this, and then lap my first set of tracks to harvest as much as I want before I go home.

 

First problem- there are flats just under the traverse track at the entrance. I come to a stop in the flats chest deep in the snow. Lots of wind loading on this side of the mountain. It takes me 15 minutes to make it to where the run pitches in properly. The snow is too deep to kick the skis forward, and too heavy to lift the ski- I have to clear snow out down to my knees to lift the ski up and kick it forward to make any forward progress.

 

Alarm bells are really going off by now, but at this point, I am committed. No way I can climb back uphill without a rope.

 

I finally get to the 35*+ pitch section of this run. I point them and go. Skis straight downhill, and I'm picking up speed like a 1987 Yugo with two bad plug wires. I need to get about 600 vert down before the run converges with the lift line. I get 200 feet.  When the 35* section flattens to a mere 30*, I am stopped, in much deeper than 30" snow.

 

I need to go about 700 linear feet to hit the lift line. I am on a solid black pitch, skis pointed straight down the hill, going NOWHERE. This is on 118 waist skis. There is never such a thing as too much powder, but there can be such a thing as snow that is too upside down.

 

Thus begins the next two and 1/2 hours of my life. Clear snow away down to my knees, lift one ski and kick forward, lift the other and kick forward, rinse and repeat. I am moving about 100 lbs of snow to move 1 foot forward, all while down in snow up to my shoulders. I am breaking in new boot liners, and circulation is not great. My feet go cold, then numb, then I don't even want to think about it. It takes me about 45 second for every full step, with a few minutes rest about every 20 steps. Imagine being neck deep in quicksand, and having to move forward standing on the hard ground underneath. That is my experience. 

 

When I finally get out, I am wrecked. One of my shoulders is seperated from the constant snow moving strain. Every part of me that I can feel hurts. My legs are done.

 

To make things worse, I need to ride the lift back up and do a 1 mile traverse to get back to the base. I am soaked through. I take the 15 minute lift back up. As this is a powder day, the traverse is really a cross-country trail, and I get to do a lighter version of what I just did in the snowpack.

 

When I got back to the base, I was trying to keep from throwing up from exertion. I was freezing, and one of my big toes had a quarter-sized piece of frostbite. I can't remember ever feeling worse after a day of skiing.


Edited by anachronism - 6/27/14 at 9:08pm
post #41 of 45

Circa 1972 - Geneva Basin. My buddy and I came up with our own concept of "Geneva Powder". We defined it as second-hand snow blown in from A-Basin. About two inches of windblown breakable crust on top of about eight inches of dry powder. We both were on Kneissl Red Star SL's. It weren't pretty. 'Nuf said.

post #42 of 45
anachronism's story reminded me of powder days at Wolf Creek where you had to get over into groomed or tracks on the flats or you'd be flailing a lot like his ordeal. And what I remember is looking over to the ungroomed/untracked sides while gliding on flats and seeing any number of snowboarders mired and flailing.

Word: It can be hard to be on a snowboard at WC on a powder day.
post #43 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

anachronism's story reminded me of powder days at Wolf Creek where you had to get over into groomed or tracks on the flats or you'd be flailing a lot like his ordeal.

 

We seem to get about 1 storm a year like this. It isn't so much the amount of snow, or even the snow being heavy, as it was that the heavy stuff was on top of the light stuff, and there was enough to matter. An upside-down 12" storm isn't going to really do much.

 

Our epic 120" in 11 days cycle this past winter was nothing like the day I described.

 

And yeah, ours is just not that great of a snowboarding mountain. Bring a pole. However, the new lift for next season eliminates the traverse exit from Alberta. I suspect this means I will see more snowboarders over there now that they don't need to walk out on powder days.

post #44 of 45

Several years ago at Jackson Hole, an Epic mini-gathering with @Philpug and a bunch of others. Our last day, a Saturday, turned into a pretty fair powder day. Upon arrival that morning, the line for the Tram was 2 city blocks long, same for the Gondola, only both were on hold for avalanche clearing. Off to Aprevous, lines were at least 30 minutes, but, it was open. Aprevous is a fair sized ski area, but, never saw powder get tracked out so fast. Late morning, Thunder opens, but, lines are still overwhelming. Jackson had a poorer snow season to that point, and, I'd swear the whole town was on the mountain that day.

 

As the day progressed, finally got to ski some heavier powder in very flat light. My body was beat-up after 5 days of chasing the Epic group as they ski far better. By 2:30 I was exhausted and off the hill. A powder experience that started with great potential and disappointing end. Still, one of great ski weeks of my life.

 

It beat the hell out of a day at work!

post #45 of 45
A great day but it started with a very bad run: a few years ago in the big Tahoe snow year. We were meeting trek and Philpug and maybe a couple other bears. We were early for the meet, so we did a run beforehand.
But we didn't know the area and didn't want to take a chance on not making it back in time.
So we came down under the lift.
In deep powder.
At Northstar.
On a blue.

As you might imagine, it was a leapfrog situation. Straight line till you stop, step out of your tracks. Other guy blasts down your track, goes 20 feet further and stops.

We did make it back in time though.
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