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How much powder do you really ski?

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
I'm curious as to how much powder skiing other skiers are really doing these days. I am not asking in terms of number of powder days so far this season (which seems a function of luck, location and lifestyle) . Instead I am wondering how many powder turns other skiers actually get on a given day of resort skiing (as a % of total vertical skied) .
(Somewhat arbitrary) definitions below.
Powder day - fresh snow of any kind deep enough to see tracks and be fun to ski ( let's say 4 " minimum). Storm days with refilling tracks don't count in this poll.
Powder run - any run where if you were to look back up hill you could readily identify your tracks. Inbounds hiking and traversing allowed of course, sidecountry and poached turns don't count.
Tactics, Speed and Patience all seem to matter in trying to get the most out of a powder day. Just wondering how much you powder you guys get and how you do it.
Sorry for the long (first) post. Hope it makes sense. Thanks
post #2 of 62
Depends on the "powder". Last Thursday we had a foot of extremely light and fluffy stuff. I spent the entire day in it, it was all over the mountain, no escape. The next day that powder was all covered with a fairly thick crust. I spent the day on groomers. Other days with fresh snow it could be nice, but heavy, in which case maybe half and half. Usually if the snow is nice, I look for the non-groomed stuff, but I'm not out there to kill myself, just to have fun.

But, just wondering why you would exclude "poached" runs in your quest for statistics? I don't, but it doesn't seem like if you were looking for statistical info that you should exclude "poached" and "side country" from the statistics. At least where I am side country is pretty much allowed as long as you don't mind footing the bill for your rescue.
post #3 of 62
are you seeking pow, oldasdirt? Nonetheless, I ski powder 80% of my runs in Japan. the other 20% are transfer runs or rain days. This is due exclusively to the fact that most japanese skiers stay in the middle of the groomed trails and rarely chase pow. The hardcore skiers in this country are racers. Even if it hasn't stormed for a week or so, I'll still find fresh lines all day. Japan is famous for its trees do to the nature of japanese people not skiing them. There are two tree/powder skiers at my 3000 vertical foot/3 tram resort; me and my buddy. After two previous winters here, saturday we found two addtional tree patches we'd never even entered before. Steep too. We were shocked at the terrain we'd never before seen. Just when we thought we had this place dialed... we become rookies again. alone... lapppghing it up.
post #4 of 62
samurai, which mountain?
post #5 of 62
look at the bottom right hand corner for an English link.

It is NOT Japan's money-ship resort. Hakuba region in central japan outside Nagano is home of the alps and 5000 vert foot peaks (think AK). Hokkaido, in the north is Japan's powder mecca (but weak consistent 25 degree slopes. I'm between the two. Yamagata. Once the base arrives, the trees go off (as all of the 600 resorts in Japan do.) privately. It's also an onsen resort, and pampers the hot-spring aficionados.

<thread jack turned off>
post #6 of 62
Like the years I have been married, "Not nearly enough".
post #7 of 62
(resume hijack)
I love how this text
Rest House

There are a lot of rest houses in Zao, which are looking forward to welcoming you.
The rest house offers you warm dish of Japanese style and relaxed time.
For your chill, hunger, fatigue, each restaurant will be satisfied with your desire.
Is illustrated by this :

"relaxed times".

I'm not sure I really understand what 'juhyo' means.
Samurai ?
post #8 of 62
Is the OP asking as a sort of comparison or simply a means for Epic skiers to brag? Whatever the reason, divide any answer you read in this thread by at least half, maybe more.

For those of us living in the Wasatch, powder is something you can get almost any day you want, if are willing to earn your turns. Even in a low snow year like this season (so far). That is due to the excellent combination of frequent storms, steep N facing slopes and low density forrests/high alpine ridges. It's all just a matter of how much work you are willing to put in.

post #9 of 62
I would say that so far in utah I have had about 6 'powder days" but I have found powder snow INBOUNDS almost everyday since being here.

also why the hell dont storm days count? that IMO is the best day to be out there cause noone else wants to be.

As for tactics I dont stop, get on lifts right away, tell my friends to go faster if they dont go faster I leave them, bully slow pokes off traverses by yelling at them,ski long fat skis so i can I compete with the hungry herd, roster tail people on purpose and generally ski hard and fast and dont care about anyone else.

post #10 of 62
Around these parts it's a matter of how close do you want to ski to the trees. Branch ducking and tree well turns. Squirting through a squirrel hole is not uncommon. VA looked like an expert at this,all 6'4" of him give or take a few inches.
post #11 of 62
In the last six years, two out of three.

1. They closed the lift during the day but never shut the trail down so it was accessable "across the top". A few hours of fresh tracks with minimal effort.

2. They actually didn't groom and just let us have a ball since no customers showed up.

3. : Major powder dump ... so the Pennsylvania Governor closed the roads so that skiers would stay home and requested that the ski areas close (they did), so even locals and those that had slope sides could not ski. The only guys who got a few turns in were given a ride to the top by patrol.

The new "trend" is to groom, groom, cause the lawyers and "guests" are happy.
post #12 of 62
Ummmm....What's a groomed run????
post #13 of 62
The way some people brag you would think that everyday skiing in bounds isa Powder day. At most major Utah mountains, it gets hard for the average visting sker to find an untracked run after 1 PM. Lets face it Fat skis have have made skiing powder to easy. Yes I own a fat pair so I guess I'm part of the problem. It is a good news bad news situation. The good news is fat skis are great in the deep stuff. the bad news is they make it easy for everyone to get out there on a powder day.
If you are willing to earn your turns it is a diffrent story.
post #14 of 62
Originally Posted by Utah49 View Post
Lets face it Fat skis have have made skiing powder to easy. Yes I own a fat pair so I guess I'm part of the problem.....
They don't get you up the hill any faster
post #15 of 62
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
also why the hell dont storm days count? that IMO is the best day to be out there cause noone else wants to be.
I quite agree, Bushwacker. I enjoyed a 'epic' ski trip in No. Lake Tahoe over New Year's weekend of 2004-05. The region got up to 22 feet of snow in 4 days and I skied all four days in fresh powder from 2.5-4 feet deep. It was snowing 2-3 in./hr. 3 of the 4 days. Donner summit and Mt. Rose Hwy were closed intermittantly so, if you were not in the Tahoe basin, you couldn't get in to enjoy the fun.
post #16 of 62
1 - I don't agree that 4" equals "powder" ... but then, I've been in the West for 25 years. I'd call 10" of fresh the minimum for the designation.

2 - I've skied Alta / 'Bird 24 years. Precisely nine of those ten-day trips had at least four days of hip-deep or deeper powder. Now, *that's* powder!!!

3 - Really, though, I'd say less than 20% of my total runs have been in powder. (But they're the runs I still remember in vivid detail!)

- KK
post #17 of 62
Memories of last year...

post #18 of 62
Hmmm, it didn't work.. O well
post #19 of 62
I have to go with powdr's analysis on this one. Tons of terrain in Colorado too. If you are willing to earn your turns you can get tons of powder days. I've logged almost 30 days this season and 25 are bonafide pow days. Then again, I am earning my turns and working the shady North Facing aspects. Over the past 4 years I am running in the high 80% to low 90% area for pow days.

If you are talking freshly fallen snow within 24 hours, then knock that in half. Still creamy light fluffy snow even two weeks after a storm is a pow day to me.
post #20 of 62
O, I guess it works better to click on the right link..

<a href="http://photobucket.com/" target="_blank"><img src="http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o...4/altaluv2.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"></a>
post #21 of 62
Originally Posted by Peggen View Post
Hmmm, it didn't work.. O well
I'm deeper than you.

post #22 of 62
Every chance I get, which ends up being about 5 days/year, or about 10% of my time. I'd say a good 50% of my time is on ungroomed that would be considered pow, like crud, crust, bumps, etc. The remaing 40% I ski groomers because, sadly, many days 100% of the hill is groomed.

Yesterday we had 4-6" of fresh that turned to a very enjoyable crud after about 2 hours... I must've heard "I wish they'd bring the groomers out" about a dozen times.
post #23 of 62
Originally Posted by slider View Post
I'm deeper than you.

Slider, I would love to agree with you, but i forgot to mention that I'm 7'9". I would also like to point out that you are clealy dropping knees in that pic...:
post #24 of 62
All of my skiing is in bounds and involves air travel, reservations and planning so I can't pick a day based on conditions. With three or four trips a year out west we're lucky to get two days with enough snowfall to impact the way we ski. Four or five inches of fresh snow is certainly fun but I don't think it really qualifies as powder. Both Harb and Clendenin teach All Mountain skiing as opposed to Powder skiing. With the exception of Alta-Bird and Targhee, I think "all mountain" is more descriptive of what most of us do inbounds when we're off the groomed trails. Last week at PCMR there was untracked snow in Jupiter bowl, but it could hardly be called powder. In thirty years of skiing I've only encountered conditions like Slider's pictures one time. I probably took 10 straight ski trips with the expectation of taking a powder lesson if the conditions were right. I finally gave up on that idea because there just was not that much deep soft snow. I guess if it's light and fluffy and and inch deep it's an inch of powder but I don't think it impacts your skiing and I don't think that's what we're talking about.
post #25 of 62
Yeah I think this thread could be a whole lot better if people noticed theres a big difference between fresh snow and powder because to me skiing powder means you are in snow that is bottomless and everything else is just skiing fresh snow.
post #26 of 62
We need to define " Powder Skiing" Moguls, cut up and crud are not powder. Off piste on ungroomed may not be "Powder"
My definition is anything over boot top deep is Powder skiing. The real fun is at least a foot deep. The ideal for me is about mid calf to knee height. More then that it starts being a lot more work, still fun. That is unless it is super light blower snow. If it is conditions like that Then it is fun no matter how deep. You just have to remember to stop every once in a while so you can breath without getting a mouth and nose full of snow. Also you will need to clear your goggles so you can see what your about to run into. Even here in Utah super light fluffy blower powder of a foot or more, is not even a once a week occurrence. It is rare and that makes it even more special.
This is talking about in bounds resort chair lift maybe a small hike to skiing.
post #27 of 62


I never ski any powder. We never get any snow. It's all artificial. It's all groomers. That's all there is here. Go away. Ski Kansas.
post #28 of 62
Wake up early, do as much as possible in the morning, and relax in the afternoon when all the pow has been wiped out.
post #29 of 62
If I'm skiing by myself, then about 75%-85% of my turns are in pow. I'll hike for it if there haven't been any snow storms. Last year, seemed like you almost couldn't avoid the pow. This yr. here in the PNW it's the same. This past Sat. about 95% of my turns were pow turns. The only turns that weren't were the few turns I made before loading back on the lift. For the season, I'd say 50% of my turns are pow turns.
post #30 of 62
By the strictest definitions people have mentioned here, I've never had a single powder run, so 0% for me. On the other hand, I don't have to drive home in a foot of fresh snow either...

By the original poster's definition, I would say I get 1-2 days per year, with the easy-to-reach fresh snow tracked out halfway through, plus a few days when the trees still have little pockets to hit. Overall, probably less than 5% "powder turns". But then again, I don't really chase powder, I like sunny days and dry roads, and all skiing is good skiing.
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