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How to find powder?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
So I'm relatively new to the ski scene. I've skied a handful of times over the years and just got a season pass to Snowbasin so I've skied 7 times so far this season.

I have found a new love for powder but would like some tips for finding it. What kind of places will usually hold powder the longest? I was thinking trees due to wind protection but I could be wrong.

Also, if you know Snowbasin, specific areas would be nice to know. I hear alot about no name.
post #2 of 26
Trees, yes. Also you have to know which way the prevailing winds blow and figure out where it's blowing TO. Look for ridge lines that run perpendicular to that. It'll be packed on the side facing the wind, but lighter on the side away from the wind. You also have to know where the crowds up and where they don't go. All this takes time.
post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbat11700 View Post

So I'm relatively new to the ski scene. I've skied a handful of times over the years and just got a season pass to Snowbasin so I've skied 7 times so far this season.

I have found a new love for powder but would like some tips for finding it. What kind of places will usually hold powder the longest? I was thinking trees due to wind protection but I could be wrong.

Also, if you know Snowbasin, specific areas would be nice to know. I hear alot about no name.


Are you usually going solo?  Sometimes on a chairlift ride, you might get lucky and meet someone who knows the mountain well.  Not everyone is interested in conversation with a stranger but give it a try.

 

Posting in the Utah thread a few days before you go is another way to find someone to ski with for a few runs.  Not only are there locals, there are plenty of EpicSki travelers who like skiing Snowbasin.  Not all the travelers simply head to Alta/Snowbird or Park City.

post #4 of 26
Prerequisite step is wake up early.

There is a reason why many resorts charge or offer a special program for early ups.
post #5 of 26

Ski during the middle of the storm if you want the best pow.  Any other time you are just getting leftovers from the guys who skied during the storm.

post #6 of 26
You're having trouble finding powder at Snowbasin? It's one of the best pound for pound powder resorts in the country.

No name is okay, but overrated a lot of times IMO. The main fall lines get eaten up pretty quickly and to get to the longer lasting stuff, you have to do a lot of ridge line cruising and traversing. That said, the Pyramids rarely disappoint. Overall, I spend more time on John Paul on a powder day, but that's me; I know a lot of people rush the tram.

Strawberry is a better bet in the days after a storm, vast and wide open.

Won't give away any more than that on here, but would be happy to meet up and show a fellow local some other favorite spots. Snowbasin has enough spread out terrain to find stashes for days, even weeks, after a storm (snowless Xmas week of course is not the best time).
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post

Ski during the middle of the storm if you want the best pow.  Any other time you are just getting leftovers from the guys who skied during the storm.

Not necessarily true, particularly at Snowbasin. Low crowds plus snow day closures mean the best days are often those after the storm. Storm skiing is great, too, of course.

Getting there early, while generally a worthwhile strategy, is not usually necessary, either. I much prefer the quiet afternoons when the crowds are long gone and I'm all but alone on the slopes with plenty of powder to spare.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
I ski with my dad and a neighbor the most. I will be headed up early tomorrow as my dad and I want to be first up. We might try coming down the no name area into the pyramids. If that fails we will likely end up on groomers for the rest of the day.

Thanks for all the help. Any particular things i should look for on the mountain that tend to offer good powder such as trees, cliffs, bowls, etc. I really want to know how to find these pockest
post #9 of 26

You can find pockets by having someone show you, by looking and by exploring. When you explore, make sure you have a buddy with you and a communication system (e.g. losing touch and assuming the other has gone ahead is not a system). In general, the lines farthest from a lift last the longest. When you look, know the spots on the mountain where you can stop and scope out terrain for tracks (or untracked) or signs of other people. In some places, steeper lines off generally easier terrain or easier lines off steeper terrain last longer. Lots of people skis the sides of runs for leftovers, but milking the last of the edges is more dangerous because of less coverage/less packed snow underneath. Often times there are small patches above and below stands of trees or lift towers on runs. Look for small connector "runs" and banked areas on runs. Gladed areas are a traditional favorite. Following someone's tracks is an easy way to find new spots, but it is also an easy way to get into trouble too. You will learn from friends and learn from experience and also probably learn a little the hard way too. There's a reason we have the expression "earn your turns".

post #10 of 26

The best powder stashes are often on a show-don't-tell basis. You hopefully meet up with someone who knows the mountain really well and decides to show you where to find it. If you go to a resort and explore around long enough that person might end up being you.

post #11 of 26

I'm going to give up one of the strategies that I use on a powder day at an unfamiliar ski area:

 

I go to the terrain park and while the park rats are preforming on the park's features I'm making powder turns beside the terrain features.

 

A slight variation is outside the park, follow someone who is taking air off the natural features and then make your turns in the untouched pow that buddy is flying over.

post #12 of 26
See if you can follow the skiers with duct tape on their clothing
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
So I just got back from snowbasin and found absolutely nothing on strawberry. What little I saw was heavily tracked. John Paul was better. I took the tram to the top and went down the woman's start into this valley. Fairly eaten up but found a few little untouched sections that were great. I might try no name and the pyramids tomorrow.
post #14 of 26
It's Christmas Week. Things will be trashed anywhere.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbat11700 View Post

So I just got back from snowbasin and found absolutely nothing on strawberry. What little I saw was heavily tracked. John Paul was better. I took the tram to the top and went down the woman's start into this valley. Fairly eaten up but found a few little untouched sections that were great. I might try no name and the pyramids tomorrow.

 

Has it snowed there recently? You have a small window of opportunity after a snowstorm to get fresh powder. It's a limited resource, which is why there's such a frenzy when it's available. It can be like Black Friday at Wal-Mart sometimes.

post #16 of 26

There are stashes in the trees, but there are also tree wells in the trees.  You might also find a sea of untouched, gorgeous looking fluff way out past the edge of marked runs..... because it leads off a cliff or other dangerous exposure.  Best to be pretty careful and take a partner when exploring off the well marked terrain at any large resort.

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toecutter View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbat11700 View Post

So I just got back from snowbasin and found absolutely nothing on strawberry. What little I saw was heavily tracked. John Paul was better. I took the tram to the top and went down the woman's start into this valley. Fairly eaten up but found a few little untouched sections that were great. I might try no name and the pyramids tomorrow.

 

Has it snowed there recently? You have a small window of opportunity after a snowstorm to get fresh powder. It's a limited resource, which is why there's such a frenzy when it's available. It can be like Black Friday at Wal-Mart sometimes.


One reason that some people really enjoy skiing at Powder Mountain is that the powder stays untouched for longer than at Snowbasin.  Of course, late December is still early season in terms of snow coverage.

post #18 of 26
"One reason that some people really enjoy skiing at Powder Mountain is that the powder stays untouched for longer than at Snowbasin."

How long does one have out there? Around here things are good for about an hour, hour-and-a-half before everything is shredded (unless it's actively storming).
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toecutter View Post

"One reason that some people really enjoy skiing at Powder Mountain is that the powder stays untouched for longer than at Snowbasin."

How long does one have out there? Around here things are good for about an hour, hour-and-a-half before everything is shredded (unless it's actively storming).


So far, I've only read about powder found days after a storm at PowMow.  Haven't been lucky yet.  Had a trip to Eden a couple years ago, but had to leave a couple days before a powder dump.  The time before, it was spring conditions in Feb and my friends and I went to check out Snowbasin for the first time instead.

 

Here's a PowMow TR for Feb 2013:

http://www.epicski.com/t/118883/powder-mountain-february-19-26

 

I have been in Honeycomb Canyon at Solitude or trees at Brighton that had untracked powder left a couple days after a mid-season powder storm when Alta was much more skied out.  Although even at Alta, when you know where to go, there is fun to be powder fun to be found a day or two after a storm.  Not telling where.  It's taken several years to learn. :D 

post #20 of 26
Last winter we went to Brighton a day after a 5" storm and I was pleased to get fresh tracks on soft snow. At Bachelor even if no one has hit it a day later it's often sun baked or wind scoured not to mention dense and heavy.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbat11700 View Post

So I just got back from snowbasin and found absolutely nothing on strawberry. What little I saw was heavily tracked. John Paul was better. I took the tram to the top and went down the woman's start into this valley. Fairly eaten up but found a few little untouched sections that were great. I might try no name and the pyramids tomorrow.

We haven't gotten any snow in a week and it's the busiest week of the year. dont expect much. The crowds will be leaving, so wait for the next storm. .
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toecutter View Post

"One reason that some people really enjoy skiing at Powder Mountain is that the powder stays untouched for longer than at Snowbasin."

How long does one have out there? Around here things are good for about an hour, hour-and-a-half before everything is shredded (unless it's actively storming).

Days, possibly a week+ to find nice pockets. It has something like 4,000 acres of accessible terrain (not including the expensive cat/touring terrain and such they include to advertise 7,000). Tons of trees, gullies, hike to terrain, plus shuttle, single-ticket cat and rope-tow areas to thin crowds.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post


We haven't gotten any snow in a week and it's the busiest week of the year. dont expect much. The crowds will be leaving, so wait for the next storm. .


Yep, this. Busy, busy week which was preceded by a weeklong series of incredible snowfall. We skied up there last week on the 24th and 25th and had a blast. That being said, I can't wait for my midweek peace and quiet to return there.

post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 
From what I understand by talking to locals, in the right areas it can be found for around a week after a storm. The dude in the lift line i talked to said he got some tracked but not to bad powder on no name/the pyramids the same day i had no luck on the opposite side of the mountain. I would love to be on strawberry when its a powder day but I guess John Paul is my best bet for the days after. Cant wait till the next big dump. I had the best run of my life on John Paul last storm.
post #25 of 26
Strawberry tends to be zero visibility on a storm day.
post #26 of 26

Yesterday while riding Becker at Snowbasin I saw quite a bit of untracked powder in the trees right beside the lift line. That might partly be because the rare westerly wind was distributing snow oddly--definitely worth keeping in mind that "prevailling winds" and "spots that tend to hold powder" can only get you so far... keep your eyes open and pay attention to the particulars of the day Thumbs Up

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