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Getting back into the sport..

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Just want to start my first topic off with a Hello! I've been lurking on the forums for a few weeks and have now gotten registered. Everyone here seems to offer great information. Not sure if this is the right forum, since I'm asking about technique and resorts and just saying hello, so mods please move if I've made a mistake.

I've been out of skiing on real skis since 98/99 and haven't been on ski boards since 02/03. (Story for another time about how I got started on those) Lets say the "ball and chain" had something to do with the lack of skiing, but since she's out of the picture I can pursue my habit again.

Before going on hiatus, I've spent one week in Big Sky when I was a never-ever, and then continued for 3/4 days a year at Nub's Nob in MI. Nothing close to powder mind you.

I'd rate myself as an intermediate, but pretty athletic otherwise, so I think I'll pick it right back up where I left off. Got some new skis and boots for the season.

Now that the background is out of the way, I am curious if there are any pointers on how to ski powder differently than the groomers? I'll be running a trip out to Breck for 500+ college kids from Jan 2-8th this year, skiing each day and probably a day or two at Vail.

I'm drooling over the back bowls at Vail and my buddy is a pretty aggressive skier, so I doubt he'll let me spend the entire week on blue groomers. Are there areas of powder skiing that an "athletic intermediate" should be able to handle by mid-week?

Any specific runs at Vail or Breck that I should make sure not to miss? Thanks a lot, and I can't stop talking or thinking about the trip. Should be a blast.

Sidenote: If anyone will be at Breck during that week, we'll be throwing some pretty big parties for the kids on the trip. Should get pretty wild, if that is your cup 'o tea.
post #2 of 9
There's plenty of great terrain at Vail for a solid intermediate and in fact, more than you can ski in a day or two. My "can't pass up list" given your short time there is to make sure you hit Blue Sky Basin (BSB). BSB and the Back Bowls is what makes Vail special, IMO.
post #3 of 9
You may want to call ahead and see if Vails Ambassadors can give some of your group a guided tour. My group of 5 was lucky enough to be scooped up by one of them a few years back at the Lions Head base. What an fantistic day that was. It was the first year BSB was open. He showed us around and took great care us. He skied with us most of the day. Don't tell the boss that, it was ment to be a 2 hour tour. We started out at 9:30 and he left us at 2:30.
post #4 of 9
No one's really gonna be able to "tell" you the diff. between groomers and powder technique. I mean to a degree, yes. But you have to just jump in.

Best bet in the event of a dump, go into a lesson group that will focus on pow technique, or bite the bullet and take a private.
post #5 of 9
It's been too long since I've seen powder, but here's a few tips.

1. steer by controlling the edge angle to "carve" a turn; pivot turns don't work so well when you skis are under a lot of snow (though you can do it at speed).

2. Be gentle and patient. It's all about finess. The snow can't push back very hard; use too much force and you just push it around. Use too much edge angle at slow speed and you will sink right down.

3. It is possible to ski with the snow around your knees. Don't worry, the skis are down there somewhere.

4. Watch out for burried objects.
post #6 of 9
As for where to ski, go back to BSB at Vail. The snow in the back bowls at Vail can get a funky layer underneath them due to exposure (they face south) unless there was a pretty decent storm overnight. Also, other than Lover's Leap, the pitches are fairly moderate.

If the T-Bar at Breck is open you can try the bowl there, they have three seprate names but for all intensive purposes it is only 1 bowl. Stay at the southern end of the bowl, as it is slightly less pitched and usually has better snow - once again becuse of exposure - they face north. ALso, if the T-Bar is not open, they may open a traverse to this portion of the bowl from the top of Chair 6, but it willget skied out fast if this is the case.

If you want an intro to powder without having the hassle of tons of people around you, you may want to try the Cat skiing at keystone. I think it is only 5 or 6 extra bucks a ride. The snow will stay better there longer as well. I have never done this at Keystone, but the pitch doesn't look that steep. I have skied extra cat runs at Powder Mountain and loved it though.

One more thing. I know plenty of athletic people, and plently of people who were able to pick up a par of skis and somehow naturaly be ale to figure them out and carve perfect turns with them on groomers. But I have NEVER EVER seen someone who has not skied powder before pick it up and ski it well. So don't get frustrated.

P.S. I am headed back home on the2nd and would love to party, but with 500 extra college kids on the slopes, a part of me is glad I'm headed home
post #7 of 9
CB3, make sure you play on the runs of Peak 7 at Breck. You'll likely enjoy those a lot. For powder and windpack, take the T-bar up to the top of Horseshoe and pick a line, any line.

For skiing in powder, just think progressive movements. This really isn't any different from excellent hard-snow or groomed technique. No sudden movements. Let the skis come around, then gently and progressively redirect them down hill.
post #8 of 9
Powder technique----try it explode----try again, explode---try it again go a few turns then explode-----then a ton of turns---think you got it , smile, and ...........explode. Hint---use you pole to find your ski...............each time.

Really though---no agressive movements----ski a flatter ski than normal and keep the upper body and hands quiet and pretty much in the fall line, and don't bring the skis across the fall line. And---the powder really "isn't there."

Peak 7 is an excellent choice at Breckenridge---watch Ore Bucket though. There is a ton of debris waiting for you under the snow there. Nice cruisers on peak 9 and a little harder ones on Peak 10.

Vail has been grooming more and more in the Back Bowls---they most always groom Poppyfields and East Poppyfield is left untouched. It may be the flattest consistant powder run back there. Most don't ski it because of its gentle pitch. (so it usually doesn't get skied out---and it faces North ---------don't tell anyone) You can alway bail to the groomed if it is just too much. Could be a good starting point, then on the lift ride, look around and start to figure where you want to ski back there for the next several years ! As others have said don't miss Blue sky Basin.

Have fun
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Wow, I haven't had a chance to check out the forums for the past few days. Thanks a ton for all the responses. Exactly what I was looking for. I'll make sure to re-read this thread right before the trip.

Nice to see y'all getting some good snow out there!
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