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Tips for powder skiing in Colorado - Page 3

post #61 of 88
My first real experience in real powder was with the Steamboat Powdercats. We had 5 feet of untouched. After being set up with powder skis, our first run was a green run and all I could do was literally point them straight and hope I didn't stop since I was moving so slow; I walk at a faster pace. After a few steeper runs I got that bouncy feeling, lightened my outside ski and tried to form a single platform with both skis. I didn't force my skis and realized that it would be near impossible to speed beyond my comfort zone.

Then it all clicked and I had this wonderful sensation of bouncing back and forth on a slow motion trampolene. I never had skied trees so confidently; trees I would normally avoid now seemed miles apart. And I tried to go first. Not just because I was so pumped but I realized that doing a dead-stop after another skier bought it was no treat - the guides did a much better job of hauling out the buried bombers.

It's hard to replace that feeling with inbound skiing, but you can always find some stashes to learn (or remind yourself of) that feeling.
post #62 of 88

I'm a powder hound.

Can someone here tell me if there is a new ski area outside of Pueblo on the Humbolt Mt. range? Anyway, if you want my powder tip, it's >>get out and ski it!!!<<
post #63 of 88
I grew up racing in the East, and spent a winter in Lake Tahoe after college, where an acquaintance gave me some great tips on skiing Sierra Cement:

1. Get wider or softer/old skis. Back in '79 I used a pair of 210cm Siderals which were completely worn out. My new K2 710s were great on ice but useless in deep snow.

2. Start by always going downhill. A first turn from a traverse is much more difficult. In steeps, make a launching platform similar to what you might have seen on ski jumping. Back into the slope, plant your poles like in a starting gate, and start forward and directly downhill.

3. Start forward and make some very gentle up and down movements and very gradual left and right turns, gradually increasing turning as speed builds up, in a slow tempo.

4. Use both skis as one unit equally pressured.

5. Fore/aft ballance is a bit different because of the snow against your shins, but step 3 above will give you a chance to feel and adjust accordingly. You will allso tend to ski steeper terrain without gaining as much speed.

6. I had seen powder skier's pictures and the pole plants seemed a bit different from what I was used to, with their hands a bit higher. Then I learned that my Ingemar Stenmark inspired strong plant would bury the pole and throw me off balance. I started more of a "touching the snow surface" motion mainly for timing.

Good luck.
post #64 of 88

Pow

DefJef,

I moved to Colorado from Michigan
11 years ago because I couldn't
wait to ski all the powder I could
stand.

Because I first lived in Telluride,
then Denver, then Park City, Utah,
and because I don't work like most
people, I have a great deal of experience
skiing powder.

The first thing I can tell you is Utah
is powder central. Park City, Deer Valley
and the Canyons would simply blow
your mind-- then if you make it over
to the Cottonwood canyons to ski
Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton,
you'll find heaven because they get
about three times as much snow as
the PC resorts.

If you can't make it over here, Colorado's
back range blows the Front Range away.
Telluride, Steamboat, and Crested Butte
get more snow and better quality snow
than anything on the Front Range. You'll
see some powder at Breck, Vail, etc., but
make it to T-Ride or Steamboat in February
or March, and you'll find out what Colorado
powder really is. And again, nothing in
Colorado holds a candle to Utah. If you keep
going west, Tahoe, Mammoth, Oregon and
Washington (Mt. Baker!) get surreal amounts
of snow, but it's all wet, gloppy crap, ready
to be trawled. Utah is deep and dry. (if you
don't believe me, check the annual statistics
for resort snowfall; they don't lie)

I wrote a book two years ago about skiing; it
outlined the four basic turns:
survival turn, carving turn, bump turn and powder turn.
Each is different than the other, and each will be
subtley combined to ski the 10,000 kinds of snow
you'll encounter in the Rockies.

I can't give away my material if I have any hope
of selling my book. But, there is some good advice
here, especially the "bouncing" advice. Bounce
slowly, as if you were on one of those little
exercise trampolines. The point is, the snow
you're used to in the East requires that you
take up all the compression with your legs.
When you ski powder, there is a vast range
of density in it. Utah powder is as light and
dry as it comes (I had an amazing day in
Telluride on Gold Hill once...). Front Range
powder can be two or three feet deep,
but with more moisture content, it will
be heavier. The nuance is learning how
to artificially compress the snow using
your body weight. If on ice, you have
to take up all the compression with
your legs, the lightet, driest snow will
take up nearly all of the compression.
Thus, you have to learn how to "punch"
your heels down in heavier stuff, and
learn how to land with your legs tucked
up in the lightest stuff.

The other best advice here was to ski
as much of it as you can. Drive over
to Alta. I'll meet you there and show
you some good stuff.
post #65 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyK
DefJef,

I moved to Colorado from Michigan
11 years ago because I couldn't
wait to ski all the powder I could
stand.

Because I first lived in Telluride,
then Denver, then Park City, Utah,
and because I don't work like most
people, I have a great deal of experience
skiing powder.

The first thing I can tell you is Utah
is powder central. Park City, Deer Valley
and the Canyons would simply blow
your mind-- then if you make it over
to the Cottonwood canyons to ski
Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton,
you'll find heaven because they get
about three times as much snow as
the PC resorts.

If you can't make it over here, Colorado's
back range blows the Front Range away.
Telluride, Steamboat, and Crested Butte
get more snow and better quality snow
than anything on the Front Range. You'll
see some powder at Breck, Vail, etc., but
make it to T-Ride or Steamboat in February
or March, and you'll find out what Colorado
powder really is. And again, nothing in
Colorado holds a candle to Utah. If you keep
going west, Tahoe, Mammoth, Oregon and
Washington (Mt. Baker!) get surreal amounts
of snow, but it's all wet, gloppy crap, ready
to be trawled. Utah is deep and dry. (if you
don't believe me, check the annual statistics
for resort snowfall; they don't lie)

I wrote a book two years ago about skiing; it
outlined the four basic turns:
survival turn, carving turn, bump turn and powder turn.
Each is different than the other, and each will be
subtley combined to ski the 10,000 kinds of snow
you'll encounter in the Rockies.

I can't give away my material if I have any hope
of selling my book. But, there is some good advice
here, especially the "bouncing" advice. Bounce
slowly, as if you were on one of those little
exercise trampolines. The point is, the snow
you're used to in the East requires that you
take up all the compression with your legs.
When you ski powder, there is a vast range
of density in it. Utah powder is as light and
dry as it comes (I had an amazing day in
Telluride on Gold Hill once...). Front Range
powder can be two or three feet deep,
but with more moisture content, it will
be heavier. The nuance is learning how
to artificially compress the snow using
your body weight. If on ice, you have
to take up all the compression with
your legs, the lightet, driest snow will
take up nearly all of the compression.
Thus, you have to learn how to "punch"
your heels down in heavier stuff, and
learn how to land with your legs tucked
up in the lightest stuff.

The other best advice here was to ski
as much of it as you can. Drive over
to Alta. I'll meet you there and show
you some good stuff.
When is your book coming out? I'd love to pick up a copy.
post #66 of 88
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for this great thread of advice. I love it, keep it up!!

Here's a tangent for the thread.....crud...how to deal with it??!!
post #67 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by DefJef
...

Here's a tangent for the thread.....crud...how to deal with it??!!

...
There's one great thing about crud skiing...

There's no such thing as a crud "frenzy". Nobody will poach your lines or try to blow by you on a traverse to be the first one to reach that tracked-out, crusted-up, chicken-headed slope.

You can ski crud every day of the season with no competition.
post #68 of 88
pretty nice Tommy K good job
post #69 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by DefJef
I'm an IceCoast transplant and hope to ski some nice CO poweder this winter. I've read some tips in "All-Mtn. Skiing" but still feel like I'm going to be totally lost out there when I try some serious POW. Are there any tips you all can offer? How do you stop? (since hockey-stopping will flip you over).
One last tip, use powder cords or you may dig for your skis until spring!
post #70 of 88

Digging

Good one, John-- although most people
never follow through with that advice.

If you lose your ski in the deep powder,
remember that it's probably uphill from
where you think it is. I find that probing
and digging with the tail of the ski you
still have works best. If you lose both,
probe and dig with your pole until you
find one ski, then use that.
post #71 of 88
Keep skiing the off-piste till no one else will/can. It's a challenge and good skill training. Plus you've got the Mt. to yourself.
post #72 of 88
My way...
1) Rent soft, fat, not-too-long skis
2) Unbuckle the top buckle of your boots for more flexibility. In soft snow you want soft skis and soft boots.
3) Imagine that you've superglued your boots together. Feet comfortable together, not rigidly locked together, equal weight on both.
4) Weight in the middle of the ski. You may learn to use just a touch of weight forward to start a turn and just a touch of weight back to end a turn, but never sit back unless the snow is so wet that you'd stop otherwise.
5) Visualize an airplane banking in a turn. Have your skis bank in a turn inside the snow in the same way. Both skis ski as one. Edging turns you, not steering.
6) More speed isn't needed, but more downhill direction is needed due to the resistance of the snow.
7) A strong upward movement of the outside arm when beginning a turn sometimes helps. This is a natural movement, just more of the same as with any turn.
8) Depending on the consistency of the snow, you may never see your ski tips. This is good. You do not need to rocket down the hill or sit way back so you can see those tips. Rocket if you wish, but its your choice.


Ken
post #73 of 88
Bob has a point nobody is looking to ski the crud. You will have it all to yourself. But there is something to be said for that cut up stuff that hasn't yet been beaten totally into submission and or formed into bumps. I can get into the challenge of letting the skis run over the mixed up semi soft mess.

By the way these tips also work in Utah Powder, Idaho Powder, Wyoming Powder but not real sure about Washington or Oregon Powder.
post #74 of 88

My book

Hey DefJef,

Thanks for asking about my book.
FYI, I already have two books published.
The first is a humor book about the skibum
lifestyle in Colorado (specific to Telluride,
but certainly applicable to most Colorado
ski towns). The second is about the weird
and wacky dichotomy between Mormons
and non-Mormons (skiers...) in Utah, also
humorous. The first is called "Nuts in the
Woodwork;" the second is called "Utah
or Bust."

My ski book breaks down so many different
parts of modern-day skiing, but the most
valuable material is probably the discussion
of the four major types of turns: skidding/
survival turn, bump turn, powder turn, carving
turn. Again, the point is that the 10,000 snow
conditions dictate how to ski; each condition
requires some blending of the four major turn types.
Because my Waist Steering technique
is specific to carving and only ten months
old, I need to rewrite the carving section.
I still believe in the effectiveness of hip
angulation, but Waist Steering is different.

If someone wanted to purchase my ski book
in digital form, I suppose I could sell it now
for the modest price of $30. It has not been
well-edited, and it would have to be an e-mail
or downloadable text situation-- but I strongly
believe there is a lot of good stuff in there
for most anyone. I spent many days skiing,
thinking, refining my thoughts and jotting them
down in a notebook, only to come home and
start madly typing them in. Its current volume
is just under 7500 words, but I had planned on
working with some high-level coaches, big
mountian skiers, professional snowboard guys
(friends of mine like Jim Mangan), and snowboard
racers like Tyler Jewell. I figured I'd create the
end-all, be-all book for alpine snowsliding sports--
but now ModernSkiRacing.com and actually
ski racing take up a lot of my time.

'tk
post #75 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyK
Hey DefJef,

Thanks for asking about my book.
FYI, I already have two books published.
The first is a humor book about the skibum
lifestyle in Colorado (specific to Telluride,
but certainly applicable to most Colorado
ski towns). The second is about the weird
and wacky dichotomy between Mormons
and non-Mormons (skiers...) in Utah, also
humorous. The first is called &quot;Nuts in the
Woodwork;&quot; the second is called &quot;Utah
or Bust.&quot;

My ski book breaks down so many different
parts of modern-day skiing, but the most
valuable material is probably the discussion
of the four major types of turns: skidding/
survival turn, bump turn, powder turn, carving
turn. Again, the point is that the 10,000 snow
conditions dictate how to ski; each condition
requires some blending of the four major turn types.
Because my Waist Steering technique
is specific to carving and only ten months
old, I need to rewrite the carving section.
I still believe in the effectiveness of hip
angulation, but Waist Steering is different.

If someone wanted to purchase my ski book
in digital form, I suppose I could sell it now
for the modest price of $30. It has not been
well-edited, and it would have to be an e-mail
or downloadable text situation-- but I strongly
believe there is a lot of good stuff in there
for most anyone. I spent many days skiing,
thinking, refining my thoughts and jotting them
down in a notebook, only to come home and
start madly typing them in. Its current volume
is just under 7500 words, but I had planned on
working with some high-level coaches, big
mountian skiers, professional snowboard guys
(friends of mine like Jim Mangan), and snowboard
racers like Tyler Jewell. I figured I'd create the
end-all, be-all book for alpine snowsliding sports--
but now ModernSkiRacing.com and actually
ski racing take up a lot of my time.

'tk
I'll wait until the final product is out, but that sounds great. Congrats on publishing two books already! wow. Let us all know when this one is done! Thx
post #76 of 88

Re: Crud

RIght about the crud Bob is. Fun it can be. But powder turns you should get down first.
post #77 of 88
Skied deep powder all day yesterday- now my mid back section is ridicuilously sore. Do you think that means I am skiing pow correctly or incorrect. Meaning should you be a little more upright in pow than normal? Ive always been told the correct skiing position is legs bent AND back slightly hunched over but that's a pretty difficult thing to do in the deep stuff.
post #78 of 88
I got taught belly sucked in more than back hunched over.... (if that makes sense sort of)......

Sort of suck in belly & have arms forward gives a curve to back.... Only Canadians hunch..... if I hunch I get accused of being a canadian & have "uncanadian" lessons.... no hunchbacks allowed.....
post #79 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski

Only Canadians hunch..... if I hunch I get accused of being a canadian & have "uncanadian" lessons.... no hunchbacks allowed.....
That makes sense- Most of the lessons I have taken have been in Canada
post #80 of 88
Canadians ....

Hunch & bob up & down..... but only when they are ski instructors doing demos....

As soon as they free ski they look more normal (a little hunch but less) ...
( I have ex-racer canadian instructors)
post #81 of 88
Cliff,
No reason to hunch over or have your back curved at all. Ski easy. When you get the balance just right, and the snow is consistent, you can be quite upright and nearly straight legged, and ski like a dream. Most of the ski action is from knee down, with the angulation to edge the skis and make them turn coming from the ankles, especially the inside ankle. The automatic counter generated with the inside arm carried normally forward gets everything on edge just right. A strong pole plant for each turn and you're cruisin'. I like to up-unweight or down-unweight just for the rollercoaster ride. It is just fun. down-unweighing is important when an unseen bump is hit, and up-unweighing is important in tough snow...crust or heavy glop. In good snow, just a touch (no more) of weight on the backs pops the tips up, and a touch of weight on the front puts the tips back into the snow for that 3 dimensional ride that is so great.


Ken
post #82 of 88
Thread Starter 
Last weekend I feel like I made a huge step w/ powder skiing! I skied alot of light fluff on beginner and int. trails at Breck on Sat. and hit some seriously good, light knee high powder in Game Creek Bowl 9am sunday morning. I also hit China Bowl where the snow was deeper than anything I've ever skied, but was alot stiffer. The weekend was absolutely incredible, and now understand why people like skiing powder so much out in CO and UT.

I was so tenative on my first run sat. but got the feel for it very quickly and began to balance myself correctly, albeit on easy trails. Game Creek on Sunday was untouched when I went down...simply incredible. The snow was so spectacular.

We made a bunch of runs and then headed way over to China Bowl to check it out since it just opened that day. The snow there was alot stiffer, and harder. But it was knee to mid-thigh high, and I began to really feel how the stuff slows you down enough to stay in control....very cool! We went down the blues and a black in the bowl, but it was so deep that we both pretty much aimed the skis straight down just to stay afloat.

I am incredibly excited by the progress I made. Its a small step, but man, it was very exciting to feel the floating sensation, and to see how easy it was to turn in the light fluff.

How do people here adjust their technique in heavier, stiffer powder? I found it to be pretty damn hard to ski.
Also, what are some tips in figuring out where the good snow on a mtn. might be? I'm not skilled in understanding how the exposure of different ridges and faces affects the powder.....
post #83 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by DefJef
How do people here adjust their technique in heavier, stiffer powder? I found it to be pretty damn hard to ski.
Also, what are some tips in figuring out where the good snow on a mtn. might be? I'm not skilled in understanding how the exposure of different ridges and faces affects the powder.....
Faster/Straighter/Smoother if possible. Use the momentum from speed to increase turning power. Use a straighter line to reduce turning requirements. Use smoother movements to avoid getting stuck. If you do get stuck at slower speeds, you can possibly use porpoising (bouncing up and down within the snowpack) to assist your turns. You'll get assistance when rebounding off the "bottom" and it will also be easier to maneuver when you're at the "top" (with less snow resisting you).

Good snow is where you find it. Southern exposures get "baked" more (can be good or bad). Trees hold powder better. Ridges catch snow on the leeward side (shadow of the wind), but you have to know which way the storm winds came from. Sometimes storms will dump differently at different altitudes and on different parts of the mountain. In general, though, the higher you go the more snow there is. Often times there are prevailing patterns and typical storms that behave the same way. Some storms are just freaky. The search is part of the thrill. Watch from the lift to see where tracks are appearing. If you see quality tracks, you're likely to find quality snow.
post #84 of 88

Heavier

Hey DefJef,

Remember what I said about nuance?

In the lightest snow, land with your
legs tucked up underneath you.

In the heavier stuff, keep your tips
up but punch your heels down into
the snow.

Either way, bounce.

Sounds like you're having fun. You
should see the powder over here
in Utah. Sheesh.
post #85 of 88
I have been skiing for about 9 years now, but since I live in the Midwest and have only been out West a few times, I am not totally used to the idea of skiing powder. I am going to Vail in February and DEFINITELY plan on skiing the bowls. After reading all of the posts about how to ski powder, its gotten me nervous and anxious, because I dont want to  go out skiing and have a terrible day because I have no idea how to ski powder. What are the first things that I should keep in mind, not to master powder in a day but to begin to grasp this new idea.
post #86 of 88
To make it as simple as possible, just remember one thing. In powder a ski must be flexed into a reverse camber to turn.

A rocker ski is built with the right shape to turn in powder. If you're skiing them, just get moving and lean the over and they will turn. It's like magic.

If you're on a ski with camber you have to put enough pressure on the ski to flex it until it has reverse camber, i.e. looks like a rocker ski from the side.

This thread is mostly about competing philosophies on how to create that pressure. I learned to ski powder in the early '80s on long, skinny, straight skis. I had to bounce like crazy to get the right action out of the skis. I needed to use the vertical displacement of my weight to generate the necessary force.

As skis have gotten wider and softer it takes much less energy to get them to flex into the right shape. On a lot of new skis just leaning on the edge will do it. Bouncing on new skis doesn't work because it flexes them too much and they hook.
post #87 of 88
ChiSkier16,  

You might find this thread in Ask-A-Pro helpful:  Reluctance in Powder?!

If you are certain you will be bringing powder when you come in February, please share the dates so we can schedule accordingly

Best, 

Chris
post #88 of 88
About 25 yrs ago I bought Lito Tejada-Flores' book "Breakthrough on Skis, or How to Get Out of the Intermediate Rut". Particularly in the last 5 years I have become quite comfortable in powder, but I remember quite well being totally lost my first few days in deep powder. The biggest problem for all of us who do not live close to a ski area is that actually getting one day out of a week's trip to ski in deep powder is quite a crap shoot, and we have maybe two runs before the locals track everything out. By the time we get the next chance, we have forgotten what we learned the last time out.

Anyway, Lito described two moves for total rank beginners in powder that I think work quite well; I even return to these on occasion when I get out of balance or encounter really heavy "Sierra Cement". The first he calls the "gorilla turn". For this, the skier throws or punches the outside/downhill hand sharply up in the air. This results in bringing the ski bottoms up on angle and they begin to cross the fall line in what is a sharp initiation to the turn. It also results in something of an uphill lean: not good powder form per se, but we're talking rank beginner or emergency move here. There is plenty of time to refine later; what we want to do is get that first turn started. You can actually see a more subtle form of this turn initiation in many helicopter ski videos as guides who are carrying heavy packs use a similar move to get things started. Think of exposing your armpit to the skiers below you.

The other turn he calls the "canoe turn". For this you dig your uphill pole deep into the snow above you, like you would drag a canoe paddle. Again, this is not great form, but it will surely help get a turn started. Be careful not to let the move spin you around to face uphill and definitely do not carry a similar move to the groomed.

Use both of these moves at once and you will definitely get your first few turns started. These are gross movements, and will not win you style points. However, looking down an untracked slope of new snow can be very intimidating the first time out. I have found that these moves work very well, allowing me to return again and again to finally incorporate the whooping and hollering that go with the powder experience.
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