Originally Posted by Mr. Crab
Dropping in and down the fall line is always just fine. It's a good strategy at the Castle for getting the early turns and then lapping the run while others are still hiking further out. The further you hike, the fewer the skiers so it makes sense to drop in early and save the long hike for later. Cutting across, especially below a traverse line is bad form on a powder day for all the reasons stated above. Beginners don't really belong in black diamond- (or double black if you use Snowbirds designation)- powder bowls. That's why we have Ballroom at Alta or all of Vail(dig). The general idea is that if you do find yourself in a huge black diamond powder bowl, go in a generally downhill direction, crashing every third turn, like everybody else does to earn their powder wings. You'll hear cheers! Even a zig, stop, zag, stop, traverse is no big thing. It's just good etiquette not to cut long lateral lines all across virgin powder. I didn't make this stuff up- I learned this from my "elders". This isn't that hard to get. Conversely, who get's there first gets the pow- as long as you don't jump the line like anywhere else in life when you're dealing with other people.Poaching lines means ducking the rope at the Yellowstone Club, as far as I'm concerned.That's it. I'm shutting up now.
Very well put, Mr. Crab.
Since you and I seem to have appointed ourselves the arbiters of powder-skiing etiquette, I'll just add a few little embellishments:
1. When you're on a walking traverse, it's perfectly fine to drop off and ski the fall line any time you want. "Ski" means doing anything from floundering through the fluff and falling on every turn/faceplant all the way through gorgeous turns that would win a Powder 8 competition. As long as you're moving pretty much down the fall line, everybody will be happy with you.
2. When you're on a walking traverse, it is NOT fine to drop into a gliding traverse in order to snake across the hill faster than the walkers and grab the lower portion of that untracked line on the other side of the slope. This is just bad karma and will come back to haunt you.
3. While on a long walking traverse, especially one like Devil's Castle, you may find youself seriously out of your class aerobically when compared to the young, altitude-adjusted locals. If you're holding up the people behind you and a big gap builds up between you and the person in front of you on the traverse, it's also considered good etiquette to step aside briefly and let a few folks go by you. This one is totally a judgement call, but it might give you a chace to catch your breath for a minute or two.
4. While on a *booting* climb, the same thing applies only more so. Some locals can literally (and I actually mean that) run up a 30-degree pitch at 10,000 feet with ski boots on and skis over their shoulder. Booters should pull over if someone has caught you easily.
5. Slightly related is the question of helping someone who has lost a ski. Powder-skiing etiquette doesn't require ANYTHING, although if you can *see* the lost ski above the downed skier, it won't hurt a whole lot to pick it up and drop it off to them (I've actually seen more snowboarders do this for people than skiers
: ). As far as stopping to help them *find* the ski, different question. I will often spend a couple of minutes doing a quick probe above someone because very often the ski is above where the skier ends up. Beyond that, it's all a question of karma, how good the snow is, and how much competition there is.
As we've both said before, these are just consensus feelings about the "proper" way to handle powder skiing. Observe or don't observe as you wish, but these are kind of the unspoken expectations.
I hope everybody gets a chance to put these in practice in the next few weeks.