Originally Posted by dave_SSS
Of course for many skiers it is more about how they look or show off to others especially in challenging terrain than about actual sensations they may be experiencing. That is more the case with those who most often ski with multiple others versus those who more often solo. Downhillers were making those kind of powerful turns in powder before the current era. Just surviving something that is white knuckles all the way down a slope is not my idea of visceral enjoyment though I certainly understand how that can be exciting. For this person its the enjoyable physical feeling of the sensations of skiing that I seek most and not doing well on challenging terrain that one feels good about because they did something difficult well. See there is a significant difference.
I really disagree with the premise that there are many skiers who make big, arcing powder turns more to impress spectators than to enjoy the act of making those turns-- unless you're talking about skiers in a competition or making a big-budget ski film. And I don't think that's what we're talking about here...
The same canard could be said about people making linked, high-energy carved turns down a pristinely groomed slope... and I think it would also be wrong.
None of this is to say that style, and looking good (subjectively) on the way down doesn't come into the equation at all. Just that I highly doubt it's anywhere near the top few entries on the list of: "Why I'm going to ski this line, and how I'm going to choose to ski it." That goes doubly so for skiers chasing clean powder. That stuff gets cut up so quickly in so many places-- that only the truly silly (or those getting paid or with access to unlimited heli runs) are going to waste a beautiful line--on a sport we spend so much money on because we LOVE the act of doing it--just to impress one's friends, strangers, or potential bed-mates.
I'll speak first-hand as someone who loves making big, surfy, arcing, planing powder turns down big bowls (and also bouncy, playful, close-linked turns in other places): I like that style of skiing exactly because of the physical sensation. That feeling when you're really planing/surfing full-on (I don't mean just floating), and the skis are really, really loose is exhilarating. It's a different paradigm, and almost a different sport in that all of a sudden you release and start planing sideways across the base/edge and you feel only minimally connected to solid ground. It's scary the first time you feel it, because it's so foreign. And it's amazing every turn after that.
But I've got the perspective to know that we all seek out our activities for different sensations. One guy likes racing cars and another likes paragliding. Some like to boulder and others like climbing trad. Some like to make big arcing turns and some like to porpoise. I don't think half of those splits are doing it primarily to look cool as opposed to enjoying it mostly for internal reasons. (And most people, I suspect, like both ways of doing it... in contrast I do think those who think there's only way way to do it, or that their way is the best, or that most people do it another way just to look cool are kind of missing the point or justifying why their way is the best.)