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Powder on Ice technique...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
First, apologies if this is covered by the EpicSki search engine omits the "on" from "powder on ice", "dust on crust", etc., and I end up with a zillion results showing.

Anyhow...

I (and a few thousand other NorCal skiers) had an interesting experience President's Day weekend.

The weekend prior, it was T-shirt weather with temps in the mid 50s. The snow was wet, loose and sloppy.

As we rolled into the work week, we got hit with a bitter cold front. Temps plunged into the single digits overnight, and the highs were mid-20's during the day.

For four days this went on, freezing solid all that weekend slush, and we had ZERO precipitation until Friday.

Beginning Friday afternoon it dumped, and Saturday morning at Bear Valley treated us to 18" of the lightest, dryest powder I've ever set foot in. Quite remarkable, as I don't get many powder days.

However, the snow was SO light and SO dry that the whole morning, I was literally skiing on ice. I couldn't get any floatation going. I was relying on icy condition edging to get down the mountain, with the handicap of not being able to see the terrain under all that snow.

So tell me, is this just an extreme on the "scale of powder"? I've never given much thought to what's under the powder, because I've never "felt it" quite like this before. Is this a fairly typical condition?

Short of buying some fat boys to help me get on top, is there a trick to it? Or on days like this should I just bust out the board?
post #2 of 17
Sorry, I can't help you out with the powder, but you could try google with

"powder on ice site:forums.epicski.com
post #3 of 17
In conditions like that ski the slope like the powder isn't there or better yet, break out the board for some fun.
post #4 of 17
welcome to skiing in the NE!!!

that ooo 'im a hero' feeling on nice edgeable snow interrupted by the sound of the edges washing out as they hit the ice below.

Granted we don't typically get 18" on top of the ice but the consistency you describe would be akin to getting maybe 4-5" of more denser stuff. Pretty difficult when you don't know what's coming up underneath. I can say for the little 'pow' we get up here on top of groomed ice underneath, quick reactions/recovery/ balance are all good tools. I've found that core strength had helped in a washout situation more that once, (especially since I targeted it pre-season) where recovery is needed.
post #5 of 17
i dunno bout powder on ice but i've skied powder on crust--keep your weight slightly further back to keep your tips from diving down. If you don't, they will get caught in the crust and you will fall forward out of your bindings.
post #6 of 17
dust on crust!

(edge softly and -really- try to work the front of the turn)
post #7 of 17
Engage early and often. If you have the edge set at the top of the turn the ice at the bottom can't take it away from you.
post #8 of 17
With dust on crust you make fearellel turns. You never know if you'll get support from the new snow or if you'll be on the crust. You need to be really loose and adaptable to rapidly changing snow. Just balance. Follow Comprex & Onyx's advice and be ready for anything...'cuz that's what coming next.

This works for more edge hold. For powder, the only difference is equal weighting on both feet all the time.
http://www.harbskisystems.com/olk1.htm


Ken
post #9 of 17
speede,

Keep your weight neutral (in the middle of the ski) and use your edges softly, so you won't slip out on the ice underneath. I tell my students to ski it all like it is ice. Softly and keep over your skis.

RW
post #10 of 17
Without a doubt these are some of the most difficult conditions to ski. Another approach which has not been mentioned is to start with your feet shoulder width apart, and your arms out wide...now lean back..WAAAAY back. Don't worry, the Lazy-E-Boy will support you. Now with your left hand, I strongly reccommend a cold beer, and in your right, the TV remote. Now if you have done this right, you should also be able to rest a bowl of popcorn on your stomach. Now using the remote, hit play on the DVD with your favorite ski videos.

I have used this technique a few times on days like you describe...always felt comfortable and in control, never slipped, or got chucked or nothing....
post #11 of 17
Indeed we get deceptive conditions like this on the East Coast all the time. Combine that with flat light on a north facing slope for some real fun!

On East Coast groomers the unexpected patches of ice are a good indication if I have an edge set correctly during a turn. Good edge set and I carve right over it like it wasn't there. Sloppy edging/end of the day laziness and I'll slip and have to catch my balance.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72
...now lean back..WAAAAY back. Don't worry, the Lazy-E-Boy will support you.

...I have used this technique a few times on days like you describe...always felt comfortable and in control, never slipped, or got chucked or nothing....
This wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't just driven for three hours.

In preperation for next time, I'll compromise and put a "Lazy-E-Boy" decal on my snowboard.
post #13 of 17
powder on ice? well if you feel ice underfoot that's what you should ski. the ice. not the stuff that barely covers your first buckle at the front of the boot. you're not skiing on or in that stuff. you're just moving it around.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron White
speede,

Keep your weight neutral (in the middle of the ski) and use your edges softly, so you won't slip out on the ice underneath. I tell my students to ski it all like it is ice. Softly and keep over your skis.
RW
I'm not PSIA and don't pretend to be an instructor, I just ski (just down the road from you, BTW), unless I'm misunderstanding you, not letting your skis out and away from your body is a sure way not to get any edgehold. Early initiation and trusting my edge is what gets me over the ice, even if it's clear.
post #15 of 17
I'm with Uncle Crud. We had a similar condition at one point this year. The fluff was too light to have any impact on the not-quite-boilerplate underneath. I chose runs I knew were regularly groomed rather than those I wasn't so sure of. We had a foot of fluff over days-old frozen slush on some of the others. When I can't see the true texture I prefer the consistent feel of fluff on boilerplate compared to places that are full of frozen-in ridges of ice under the fluff. I just skied the invisible layer of ice.
post #16 of 17
2-turn,

Quote:
unless I'm misunderstanding you, not letting your skis out and away from your body is a sure way not to get any edgehold.
I think you are misunderstanding me, I didn't say don't use your edges or don't let the skis get out from under you, but use soft movements (soft pressure on the edges) and keep over your skis (no banking).

RW
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle crud
powder on ice? well if you feel ice underfoot that's what you should ski. the ice. not the stuff that barely covers your first buckle at the front of the boot. you're not skiing on or in that stuff. you're just moving it around.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky
I'm with Uncle Crud... The fluff was too light to have any impact on the not-quite-boilerplate underneath. I chose runs I knew were regularly groomed rather than those I wasn't so sure of. We had a foot of fluff over days-old frozen slush on some of the others. When I can't see the true texture I prefer the consistent feel of fluff on boilerplate compared to places that are full of frozen-in ridges of ice under the fluff. I just skied the invisible layer of ice.
Gotcha, guys.... that about sums it up. Underneath 18" of fluff too light to matter (honestly up to the boot cuff, not the first buckle), on what should have been the better powder runs, were hiding icy moguls. Truly was skiing icy bumps without the benefit of visibility.

Definitley pick runs more wisely or use the board next time I find myself in that condition.

Thanks all!
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