Originally Posted by ironindian
It seems that lately I'm encountering a lot of hardpack (ice?) that's covered with a lite, whispy snow that offers no grip when carving. I keep my skis sharp, and they'll bite pretty good for half a day, then I'll loose my downhill edge, and my nerve, for the rest of the day. Other than trying to avoid the hard stuff, is there a technical or equipment solution?
Once in a while you can buy yourself a turn with equipment problems but, you have posted enough in your post for me to guess that technique and tactics is where you should look.
If your turns are largely skidded all the time on hardpack and ice, your edges will wear very quickly. If you carve and slice more, the skis will remain sharp. My guess is that you are twisting the tails out to the side in the top of your turns resulting in more of a Z or Comma shaped skidded turn. A rounder turn shape is very important for ice and variable conditions.
I am not one for throwing out too many ideas at one time. Without seeing you actually ski, or a video, my suggestion would be to round out the top of your turns by having patience turning into the fall line (turning down hill). The top of your turns should take much longer than the bottom of your turns. Many good things start to just happen when you ski this way.