Sounds like tough conditions, slider! Perhaps the key is in your observation that snowboarders were able to glide and float through the top layer.
Conditions like these absolutely require that you be "soft" in your movements--avoid harsh edging, pressuring, or pivoting movements. Two-footed balance and simultaneous movements of both skis at once are critical--if you ever try to stand on one ski and move the other one, that "platform" will let you down!
Wider, softer skis, combined with speed that may be uncomfortable in these challenging conditions, will also help your skis float more like the snowboard.
I don't know if this will help much though. It's one of those "good in theory" ideas that can be difficult to put into practice if your habits are otherwise. Sequential movements--standing on one ski while "pushing off" into the turn with the other ski--are intuitive and all but inevitable when we become defensive. As I mentioned, they are the last thing you WANT to do--but they are the first thing we TEND to do in these conditions!
Even simultaneous movements, though, that involve strong "pushing off"--such as "hop turns"--are unlikely to work in this soft-breakable-crust condition. You really have to carry some speed, gently release BOTH edges, gently steer your tips down the hill (allowing your speed to pick up), and gently continue to steer both skis around until you lose the speed, then release the edges and do it again. No hop turns. No gyrations of the upper body. Nothing harsh. Keep the skis going the direction they're pointed (or conversely, pointed the direction they're going) to avoid braking and maximize gliding.
And remember rule #2 of a powder day: