Originally Posted by gbubnis
Okay excuse me for sounding like a jackass but....
As an East coaster who has skied in 12-20" of powder about 10 times in my life I wonder..... Do you guys ever worry about getting a powder covered tree branch to the crotch?
Maybe I'm just catastrophizing but that seems it could happen theoretically if you are in powder up to your waist.
That's actually a great question.
I think here in the West, we sort of take for granted that we're skiing a pretty substantial base of snow. There are always bushes and small trees that are in the process of being covered as the winter waxes, and then being *un*covered as spring approaches.
Another thing that's probably not apparent in my photos, but ski choice makes a *lot* of difference. Jared in these photos is skiing Atomic Sugar Daddies - big, wide skis that really do float over most of the snow. Bill and Tony are on K2 XP's, which ski much more *in* the snow than on top of it. Jared could pretty much float over everything, while the rest of us were skiing down onto the old base in many places.
Photographically undocumented in my post was the enormous header I took just before the photos of Jared near the wall. I had gone first and I was innocently enjoying the ride in this nice new snow when a big, completely unseen rock just *ripped* both skis off me. One instant I'm skiing, the next I was diving face-first into the snow with both skis hidden somewhere under the powder. It turned out fine, but it could have been pretty dicey. It did, however, put a 45-degree side-bevel on about three feet of the edge of one of my powder skis. OUCH!
So in summary, I think out West we just sort of assume that it'll be okay.
You ski the powder and hope there isn't a pine spike hiding two inches under that smooth surface waiting to impale you. In all my years of skiing out here, I've been caught by a hidden obstacle once, and the damage was only a torn thigh that wasn't quite bad enough for stitches. One of my friends got a horrible boottop open fracture of the tibia by an invisible submerged rock on the Hobacks, but that was also just bad luck.
If you live a life of quiet fulfillment and inner peace, the ski gods will spare you from collisions with buried powder obstacles.
*Most* of the time.