Snorkeling the Gnar Pow: Skiing 2021-22 Thread

GoJeff!

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Oh no, I wanted all the details and advice! Many thanks. I think I've skied corn before, but based on your description I think I've timed it wrong because my experience is that it's either choppy (too frozen) or slushy (too warm). This will probably be my best chance to learn about finding that sweet spot. But if I'm understanding you correctly, that will be after getting the fresh stuff on north-facing slopes first!!
If the snow is fresh, it will not have consolidated to corn, and sun-affected snow will just be heavy. If the snow has gone through several melt-freeze cycles, timing the corn is important, and moving from E to SE to S slopes as the day progresses is what you should be doing.

North facing slopes are less sun affected, and will generally have better snow (other than corn), but grooming, pitch (flat north slopes get quite a bit of sun), wind shading and other minor variations will have a substantial effect.
 

Zososoxfan

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If the snow is fresh, it will not have consolidated to corn, and sun-affected snow will just be heavy. If the snow has gone through several melt-freeze cycles, timing the corn is important, and moving from E to SE to S slopes as the day progresses is what you should be doing.

North facing slopes are less sun affected, and will generally have better snow (other than corn), but grooming, pitch (flat north slopes get quite a bit of sun), wind shading and other minor variations will have a substantial effect.
OK, I think I'm getting it now. I don't think next week will be all that ripe for corn to form since the highs are forecasted to stay at or below freezing until Saturday, and even then the highs are above freezing only for Saturday and Sunday.

I haven't skied this late in the season in a long time, but I'm definitely planning to pay more attention to slope direction this time. Thanks again for your input and always feel free to share your knowledge!
 

fairlee76

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Forecast for Beaver Creek next week looking PRIMO. Trying not to get too excited, but man--3 midweek days (M-W) are shaping up for some snorkeling.

Question for the snorkelers--I'm traveling with my wife's skis (no boots) in tow for the first time and I'm not sure how to pack them along with my snowboard gear in my board bag. In short, I could just throw in the skis over my board and bindings, but that kinda messes with my boots pocket and kills a lot of the extra space I usually use to pack helmets, shells, gloves, etc. The only option I really see is taking off the bindings so I can accommodate everything more efficiently. But (A) is this worth it, (B) should I just check the skis separately, or (C) is there another option here? WRT Option B, we're already likely to have 2-3 big suitcases, 2 car/airplane seats, my board bag, and the kiddos, so having the skis separately doesn't seem ideal. We're traveling with our sitter, so we're not totally screwed but it's still a ton of stuff. Any advice would be appreciated! TIA!!
Yes, it sure is! For anyone interested, that is a grab from the "CO Snow Map" app. A one-stop shop for snow reports and forecasts at all Colorado resorts. Same app exists for Utah.

BC.jpg
 

GoJeff!

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When you all fly with gear, do you pack your goggles in a carry on?
Usually do, but my main goal is to be able to ski if everything gets lost. So boots, hat, goggles, jacket, ski pants, gloves, base layer and goggles (with skis to rent).

I may be obsessive, however.
 

Zososoxfan

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No. Unlike GoJeff! if my bag gets lost, I’m SoL. Goggles are the least of my worries. But if my bag gets lost, I would just rent everything I can and do my best.
I’m more in this boat. The reason for carry on though would be to make sure they don’t get damaged. You just pack em good and deep yeah?
 

Preacher

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I’m more in this boat. The reason for carry on though would be to make sure they don’t get damaged. You just pack em good and deep yeah?
Yeah, googles go inside boots in my check bag. I also pack a few pairs of googles and the backups are pretty cheap. I can buy googles at my destination. I’m hoping to get a deal on nice goggles this off-season that might change my mantra. I snagged a couple pairs of the US winter Olympic oakleys from 2018. Those are carry-on.
 

Zososoxfan

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At the end of the season, do you wash boot liners or just let them dry out before stashing for the end of the season? Any other end of season gear maintenance y'all recommend?
 

Preacher

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At the end of the season, do you wash boot liners or just let them dry out before stashing for the end of the season? Any other end of season gear maintenance y'all recommend?
I don't wash them. I just in some charcoal odor absorbing bags.

Also, the epic pass for next year is out for sale. Little bit of a price bump from last year but it's only $145 for military so that's a steal.
 

GoJeff!

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At the end of the season, do you wash boot liners or just let them dry out before stashing for the end of the season? Any other end of season gear maintenance y'all recommend?
I do not wash boot liners. I dry them and store the boots fully buckled.

I wax the skis to prevent edge corrosion. I sometimes turn down binding DINs and leave a note to turn them up next season.

I let outerwear dry and don’t leave it crumpled up.

How was Beaver Creek?
 
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graffam198

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At the end of the season, do you wash boot liners or just let them dry out before stashing for the end of the season? Any other end of season gear maintenance y'all recommend?
Sorry so late to your previous questions!

On Skis with no boots... Just leave the skis unless you are BUYING boots there. Most gear shops on the slopes will charge you significantly more to just rent boots. There is massive liability to tune your skis to their boots. So it is both easier and cheaper to rent boots/skis instead of boots only.

When traveling, I always carry on my boots, helmet, goggles, clothes. I've even worn my boots through security if I'm worried about space. Had a trip to Purgatory a few years ago where the airline lost my skis on the return trip and it was dumping in Tahoe. Luckily I had all my other gear and could still shred that gnar gnar.

@GoJeff! is spot on with boot storage. I will take this a step further and say at the end of each day I dry and buckle as well. Keeps the liner shape and plastic mold healthy.

End of season is a good time to re-waterproof everything as well. When I'm done (like now :( ) I wash all my gear with miniwax treatment before hanging up to store for the off season. This includes gloves but done outside of the wash with sno-seal. I treat my bases and then seal with a fat coat of wax and don't scrape.

Skins get evaluated and reglued if needed.

Batteries out of your beacon! Also, every three years I send my beacon in to get it checked out by the mfgr to make sure the antenna and innards are still calibrated correctly. Most beacon vendors will do this for free/nominal fee.

And Finally, I wait. Staring at the mountain and pray for early season snow.
 

Bowhemian

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OK experts, I am looking for input on what size skis I need. Back in the old days, my skis were the long skinny ones, between 185 and 205 cm. However, when I recently rented, it was obviously a very different type ski, and they were much shorter-I believe they put me on 150s. For reference, I am just shy of 6' tall, but I am a bit of a fatty at 230 lbs (not sure that part matters).
I was very comfortable on the 150s, probably more so than the long skinny ones of yesterday. But the shape of the ski may be the difference, as opposed to the length.

So-if I were to buy some skis, what size would be good for an intermediate level skier who loves skiing the groomers, and hates the bumpy stuff.
 

Leon Trotsky

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I have been talking about getting some sort of touring set up for many many years - this is probably gonna be the year I actually do it. I just got new skis this year, so have my old Rossignol S3's I loved that I could mount some bindings on, get some skins, and go, right? I think I would probably do mostly in-resort uphills while my kids are taking lessons, with occasional hikes up relatively mild terrain in NH/ME. I took up nordic last year and loved it. Any recommendations on getting started?
 

Leon Trotsky

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So-if I were to buy some skis, what size would be good for an intermediate level skier who loves skiing the groomers, and hates the bumpy stuff.
I am very far from an expert but seems the trend from even just a few years ago is shorter and wider. The recommended length of my new skis (Blizzard Rustler 10) was quite a bit short than my 10 yo Rossignols, but the new skis are great in all conditions.
 

Zososoxfan

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I do not wash boot liners. I dry them and store the boots fully buckled.

I wax the skis to prevent edge corrosion. I sometimes turn down binding DINs and leave a note to turn them up next season.

I let outerwear dry and don’t leave it crumpled up.

How was Beaver Creek?
Thanks. When you say wax the skis to prevent edge corrosion, that's different waxing than what you do in-season right? Like, when I get my board waxed they're doing the bottom, not the edges. Or does waxing the bottom like you normally would in-season prevent edge corrosion?

BC was legit. We had a great spring day to start on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were chilly but with flurries to keep the snow fresh, and Wednesday started off icy and hard, but once it warmed up it made for a FRIGGIN GLORIOUS afternoon. Riding on Monday, Tuesday, and early Wednesday was cruuuuuuunchy.

BC is a good mountain but there's definitely more I need to explore. The bumps are as good as anywhere, and I definitely rode the hell out of them. The Birds of Prey and Grouse lifts are super fun and the BC crowd barely touches them. They do get a bit repetitive though. There's a surprising amount of terrain, as the Arrowhead area really gets neglected by most. I found some cool bump runs in there (Tomahawk and Wapiti), and the Broken Arrow Lodge is a rustic throwback. I really enjoyed the Strawberry Park lift, as the narrow blacks under chair were a great place to get a lap in going between the sides of the mountain. My hairiest moment of the trip was getting stuck a bit in the Thresher Glades when I needed to be at the base to meet lil Zoso after his lesson! If I was with my normal ski crew, we would've come back to that a lot and it was definitely intense. Under Centennial was fun, but quintessential BC--interesting terrain that gets neutered by overgrooming. I didn't get over to the Rose Bowl area in the latter half of my trip as much and that was a mistake. My nephews' instructor took us on a cool blue gladed run (Jack Rabbit Alley?) that was super fun for them, and I was able to hop in and out of the trees. The black runs underlift were great (Ripsaw, Spider, etc.). Just looking at the map again, I should've looked more closely for the gladed run icon. I missed some glade runs all over the place. I tried to go to the Royal Elk Glades but they were closed all week because a moose had taken over (the irony was not lost on me). I didn't have the nerve to hop into the Stone Creek Chutes, so that will also have to wait until next time.

As for my ability, on Wednesday afternoon I went out solo (without my bro in law) and took on the runs under Birds of Prey and Grouse and was pleased with how I did. Regardless of bump size, if the pitch isn't too bad I can usually surf my way through them and beat most skiers down. My next progression on bumps is to learn how to ride the steeps better. I didn't get to do as much trees as I usually do and that's partly because I was rusty after missing last season but also because my bro in law doesn't do much challenging terrain due to a back injury and I didn't have anyone pushing me towards them. I'm just not good at identifying good spots and I'm a little sketch going into trees alone. Definitely something I want to get better at. This was my first time skiing with family and one takeaway for me is that I want to take my first lesson in 20 years. Even though I'm really confident on my deck, I know I would benefit a ton from one day with someone.
 

Devizier

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OK experts, I am looking for input on what size skis I need. Back in the old days, my skis were the long skinny ones, between 185 and 205 cm. However, when I recently rented, it was obviously a very different type ski, and they were much shorter-I believe they put me on 150s. For reference, I am just shy of 6' tall, but I am a bit of a fatty at 230 lbs (not sure that part matters).
The weight is the relevant part. Thank of the skis as a raft. If you are on a tiny raft, you will sink/plow, which is bad for a whole bunch of reasons besides the obvious (speed).

Modern skis are shorter primarily because of sidecut. The basic idea is that if you cut an arc into the edge of a ski, when you put the ski on it’s edge, it will follow the path of that arc. For that to work, you need a short ski (shorter ski, more arc). Those skis are better for most skiers in most conditions. But they have limitations.

Overcoming those limitations is accomplished by reducing the bend (camber) in the profile of the ski and by going wider (as @Leon Trotsky pointed out). Every manufacturer these days has a whole bunch of skis that will fit your profile. I like the exaggerated sidecut of the Head V series, especially for holding an edge on the icy/hard packed PA/WV mountains. But again, something a lot of MFRs have.
 

GoJeff!

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I have been talking about getting some sort of touring set up for many many years - this is probably gonna be the year I actually do it. I just got new skis this year, so have my old Rossignol S3's I loved that I could mount some bindings on, get some skins, and go, right? I think I would probably do mostly in-resort uphills while my kids are taking lessons, with occasional hikes up relatively mild terrain in NH/ME. I took up nordic last year and loved it. Any recommendations on getting started?
You could definitely get touring bindings and mount them to your old skis, but weight really matters when you are climbing, and you might want a decent pair of touring skis for a better experience if you are already spending money on bindings, skins and touring boots.

If there is a place that rents near you, I’d recommend trying that first.
 

Leon Trotsky

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You could definitely get touring bindings and mount them to your old skis, but weight really matters when you are climbing, and you might want a decent pair of touring skis for a better experience if you are already spending money on bindings, skins and touring boots.

If there is a place that rents near you, I’d recommend trying that first.
Yes, that makes sense. What is the difference in touring boots v. regular alpine boots? Just range of movement? I am unlikely to do any serious backcountry stuff, but at what point to do you really need avy beacon/shovel, whatever? A friend of mine is in same boat as me and would probably join me, but he is equally as clueless.
 

GoJeff!

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Yes, that makes sense. What is the difference in touring boots v. regular alpine boots? Just range of movement? I am unlikely to do any serious backcountry stuff, but at what point to do you really need avy beacon/shovel, whatever? A friend of mine is in same boat as me and would probably join me, but he is equally as clueless.
If you are skinning up a resort, you do not need beacon/shovel/probe. Anywhere else you absolutely need them.

Modern backcountry bindings use a different type of binding attachment than alpine skiing. Two pins on the side of the toe hold the boot and allow it to freely pivot up during skinning. They are generally called a tech toe.

Heels are locked in for skiing either with two forward-facing pins that go into slots in the heel or an alpine heel that can slide out of the way on the way up.

So backcountry boots must have small inserts in the toe for the pins, as well as slots and a piece of metal on the back. On top of that, they are much lighter than alpine boots and have a way to release the upper cuff so you can bend your ankle further back and forward while climbing.

There are bindings, usually called frame bindings, that allow skinning with an alpine boot. The boot locks in a binding, and binding has a hinge near the front to allow skinning. But frame bindings are much heavier and basically obsolete. If you got some at a garage sale they would be fine to use, but I wouldn’t invest in a new frame binding setup.

A last option is a binding like the Salomon shift. These have an alpine mode for skiing at a resort, but can be switched into a skinning mode that uses a tech toe. They still require a backcountry boot for skinning, but can make one pair of skis a do-anything setup. It’s a good option for someone who skis resort but wants to use the same skis in the backcountry. However, since you just bought a new alpine setup, this might not be the right time for something like the shifts.
 

Leon Trotsky

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A last option is a binding like the Salomon shift. These have an alpine mode for skiing at a resort, but can be switched into a skinning mode that uses a tech toe. They still require a backcountry boot for skinning, but can make one pair of skis a do-anything setup. It’s a good option for someone who skis resort but wants to use the same skis in the backcountry. However, since you just bought a new alpine setup, this might not be the right time for something like the shifts.
Thanks for the info. Really helpful! Lots to figure out. I may need to invest in new boots relatively soon anyway - are there good options for boots that are mostly resort-oriented but can do some light touring work?
 

GoJeff!

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Thanks for the info. Really helpful! Lots to figure out. I may need to invest in new boots relatively soon anyway - are there good options for boots that are mostly resort-oriented but can do some light touring work?
There are. Virtually every boot manufacturer sells boots with tech inserts at the toe and heel plus some sort of cuff release/walk mode for skinning. You wiil pay a slight premium, but can get a really versatile setup.

Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions.
 

Zososoxfan

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I'm already starting to think ahead to next season and I'm curious if anyone here has insight in comparing a few ski areas: Beaver Creek, Steamboat, Park City, and Aspen. I'm wondering about 1) snow quantity and quality (far and away #1), #2 family friendly, 3) airport accessibility, and 4) general cost. When I say family friendly, I mean the amount of properties at the base of a resort, high quality ski school, generally good (smallish) design, and type of crowd.

I check out Powderhounds and Z Snow pretty regularly and trust them quite a bit, but there's no substitute for personal experience. While I've been to BC, Steamboat, and Aspen, for the latter 2 they were long enough ago I don't remember much and I was also doing boys' trips, which is very different from the type of travel I'm doing these days. I've never been to PCMR.

So for example, BC had pretty darned good quality and quantity of snow (especially in March), it was very family friendly in that there are a ton of properties to rent at the base, it was a far drive from Denver (so I'd likely fly into Eagle if I go again), and I'm guessing it's more expensive than Steamboat and PCMR, but less than Aspen.

From what I've read, it seems like the snow quantity and quality is pretty similar across these 4, with perhaps Steamboat getting a bit more and PCMR getting a bit less, with BC and Aspen somewhere in the middle. All 4 seem to be pretty family friendly. Steamboat and PCMR seem to have smaller base villages than the others, although I wonder if the PCMR ratings don't include the Canyons (that would be significant I think). Flying into SLC is far easier than Eagle, Yampa, or Pitkin. Between the 3 CO regionals, Pitkin has about 2.5x the enplanements as Yampa, and ~1.5x as Eagle.

I'm also thinking of taking a summer trip to one of these places since I've never been to any resort in the summer. I've heard from many people that the summer is actually better (hard to believe, but I digress), but in any event it will be a good opportunity to get out of the FL heat and check out one of these spots.
 

graffam198

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Yes, that makes sense. What is the difference in touring boots v. regular alpine boots? Just range of movement? I am unlikely to do any serious backcountry stuff, but at what point to do you really need avy beacon/shovel, whatever? A friend of mine is in same boat as me and would probably join me, but he is equally as clueless.
So many options here...

First off, I am a BIG fan of the skinny ski. I know I'm in the minority here, but stay with me. Most of your time touring is spent going uphill. Conservatively, let's call it 80%. In reality, it's more like 95%. Weight plays a huge factor. Fatter the ski, heavier the set-up. Secondly, I like to shorten it up. If you normally ski a 175-ish ski, go 165. Again, I might be losing some of you, but believe me, there are good reasons! Experienced BC guys make LOTS and LOTS of kick turns. Only the young and the restless skin straight up. Kick turns are your best friend. Longer skis = harder kick turns. Longer skis = more weight. BOOOOOO. BC conditions tend to be highly variable, you want that maneuverability. You want to lose that weight. The key is to keep your skis on as long as possible. So, when you see bros bootpacking, lots of time it's because they don't have the skills / gear to execute kick turns. I may not float like a butterfly on those deep dump days, but for the majority of the season, I am cruising just fine.

I believe firmly in a dedicated kit, so renting first is huge. Sucks to shell out all that cash only to find out you hate it. Alpine bindings, boots, skis. Something else to consider is crampon compatibility with your skis. Again, per the above, ski crampons make a huge difference. Sometimes it's firm, sometimes steep, sometimes you are just sketched out. Ski crampons don't work in rondonee bindings or some AT bindings. Good to get that dialed in.

Another reason for AT bindings? simpler. Simple is better. You break something in the woods you want to be able to fix it easily.

Boots. Again a fan of dedicated only because of weight savings. It is hard to convey how tired you get breaking trail and how quickly that weight adds up. I was able to get my skis, skins, crampons, bindings under 8 lbs this season and it makes the day so much better. Last season I was pushing 12 lbs and would be gassed (Rondonee, 95mm ski).

If you want to have monster days (5k vert) you want low weight, good maneuverability skis, boots, bindings.

Finally. And I can't stress this enough. Take the damn avy class. You and your buddy are beginners. We all start there. My partner is friends with world class guides / athletes; spends countless days in the mountains, more experience than most would get in two lifetimes. Will not tour with someone who does not have their Avy 1. It is a must full stop. We are all nerdy here, and the snow science alone should be enough to get you excited. But in reality, trying to teach yourself how to search, probe, dig in a manner that saves your partner's life in under 7 minutes is just crazy. Take the class. Learn the power of veto. Learn the reports. Learn to say not today devil. After you take the class, hire a guide. Practice with your beacon at the start of every season. My partner and I compete for bragging rights but compete for beer. It is so important to know how to react in a burial situation and how your gear works. Can't stress this enough. I've seen the dumbest sh*t in the mountains that is just begging for death/injury (myself included. Hello poor skinning skills!). People on big dump days just sending lines because "It never slides" or "Oh, I don't have my beacon, we won't need it", "Shovel is in the car". BC is the most wonderful skiing in the world, and in many ways, safer than the resorts. But w/out the foundational knowledge, things fall apart quick.

I'll get off my education soapbox, and back to skinny skis. Do it. Your legs will thank me later :)
 

graffam198

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Dec 10, 2007
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Reno, NV
I'm already starting to think ahead to next season and I'm curious if anyone here has insight in comparing a few ski areas: Beaver Creek, Steamboat, Park City, and Aspen. I'm wondering about 1) snow quantity and quality (far and away #1), #2 family friendly, 3) airport accessibility, and 4) general cost. When I say family friendly, I mean the amount of properties at the base of a resort, high quality ski school, generally good (smallish) design, and type of crowd.

I check out Powderhounds and Z Snow pretty regularly and trust them quite a bit, but there's no substitute for personal experience. While I've been to BC, Steamboat, and Aspen, for the latter 2 they were long enough ago I don't remember much and I was also doing boys' trips, which is very different from the type of travel I'm doing these days. I've never been to PCMR.

So for example, BC had pretty darned good quality and quantity of snow (especially in March), it was very family friendly in that there are a ton of properties to rent at the base, it was a far drive from Denver (so I'd likely fly into Eagle if I go again), and I'm guessing it's more expensive than Steamboat and PCMR, but less than Aspen.

From what I've read, it seems like the snow quantity and quality is pretty similar across these 4, with perhaps Steamboat getting a bit more and PCMR getting a bit less, with BC and Aspen somewhere in the middle. All 4 seem to be pretty family friendly. Steamboat and PCMR seem to have smaller base villages than the others, although I wonder if the PCMR ratings don't include the Canyons (that would be significant I think). Flying into SLC is far easier than Eagle, Yampa, or Pitkin. Between the 3 CO regionals, Pitkin has about 2.5x the enplanements as Yampa, and ~1.5x as Eagle.

I'm also thinking of taking a summer trip to one of these places since I've never been to any resort in the summer. I've heard from many people that the summer is actually better (hard to believe, but I digress), but in any event it will be a good opportunity to get out of the FL heat and check out one of these spots.
It's not on your list...But have you thought of Purgatory / Durango? Lots of ski in/ski out, Durango is a kick ass town (with an airport!), Pagosa Springs and Wolf Creek aren't terribly far...
 

GoJeff!

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Had one of my all-time dumbest falls today.

I’ve been up at Mammoth for several days, and it has been spring conditions, with melting even on steep north faces. Today a snowstorm came in, which made all the slush underneath turn to ice.

Skiing was just okay, since there wasn’t quite enough snow to cushion the ice below. So, in a search for fun, I took my eldest to a steep chute we’ve been doing all week. I knew it would be icy underneath, but at least it was pretty smooth for some turns in the pow.

The problem with the chute is that the entrance is rocky, so you need to take off your skis, walk in, then put them back on. This wasn’t too hard in slush, but today it was tricky to get everything lined up and secure.

I was rushing a bit to beat some other guys entering a different way, and decided to take an extra step down to find a flatter transition shelf. But I hopped down like it was still slush, lost my footing, and bounced off my ass right over the edge. One ski came with me, shooting to the bottom, while my poles and the other ski stayed up top.

Meanwhile, I picked up speed on the ice. I bumped over a few rocks, missed a couple others, and scared the crap out of myself before getting my boot tips to punch into the ice. I couldn’t get my fingers in.

My son was nice enough to bring my ski and poles down, and I then had a long, exhausting, one ski descent to get my other ski.

Luckily I didn’t do any damage other than ego bruises, and the snow has picked up so maybe tomorrow will be better.
 

Leon Trotsky

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I'll get off my education soapbox, and back to skinny skis. Do it. Your legs will thank me later :)
Thanks for all the great info and it all makes sense to me. I hear you and GJ loud and clear about the avy class and gear. I'll look into some classes and rentals. I saw something recently about some sort of uphill demo day around here, which might be good too.
 

Zososoxfan

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It's not on your list...But have you thought of Purgatory / Durango? Lots of ski in/ski out, Durango is a kick ass town (with an airport!), Pagosa Springs and Wolf Creek aren't terribly far...
That's an interesting area, one I'd like to hit at some point in the future! However for all the travel and schlepping, snow quantity is my number 1 priority and it looks like Purgatory comes in a little light on that front. Since you got me all excited again, I looked into Telluride and now that's super high on my list. That one will have to wait though, since the Telluride airport seems tiny, and Montrose is still a significant drive away. Other than that, Telluride looks like the bees knees.

Had one of my all-time dumbest falls today.

I’ve been up at Mammoth for several days, and it has been spring conditions, with melting even on steep north faces. Today a snowstorm came in, which made all the slush underneath turn to ice.

Skiing was just okay, since there wasn’t quite enough snow to cushion the ice below. So, in a search for fun, I took my eldest to a steep chute we’ve been doing all week. I knew it would be icy underneath, but at least it was pretty smooth for some turns in the pow.

The problem with the chute is that the entrance is rocky, so you need to take off your skis, walk in, then put them back on. This wasn’t too hard in slush, but today it was tricky to get everything lined up and secure.

I was rushing a bit to beat some other guys entering a different way, and decided to take an extra step down to find a flatter transition shelf. But I hopped down like it was still slush, lost my footing, and bounced off my ass right over the edge. One ski came with me, shooting to the bottom, while my poles and the other ski stayed up top.

Meanwhile, I picked up speed on the ice. I bumped over a few rocks, missed a couple others, and scared the crap out of myself before getting my boot tips to punch into the ice. I couldn’t get my fingers in.

My son was nice enough to bring my ski and poles down, and I then had a long, exhausting, one ski descent to get my other ski.

Luckily I didn’t do any damage other than ego bruises, and the snow has picked up so maybe tomorrow will be better.
That sounds terrifying--do you have a pic (not necessarily yours) of the run/area? I'm just curious to know what it looks like, even though I don't do chutes much.

Thanks for all the great info and it all makes sense to me. I hear you and GJ loud and clear about the avy class and gear. I'll look into some classes and rentals. I saw something recently about some sort of uphill demo day around here, which might be good too.
I'm trying to go sled skiing or cat skiing later this year, and I need to get an avy class in. Not too many offered in Florida though--hopefully there are some online?
 

Zososoxfan

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Here it is in good condition. I’ll see if I can get a pic if it today.
Nice! The run down the middle of the pic looks manageable until you look at the top and see the exposed rocks--that would make dropping in a wee bit terrifying. Did you go down that, on the ridge itself, or to the skier's left of that ridge on the right of the pic?
 

GoJeff!

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Almost everything in that pic is skiable, but the chute I was on is the one in the center.

The exposed rocks were exactly the issue yesterday. The top is a bit melted out and you have to walk over some rocks and find a place to snap back in.
 

graffam198

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Dec 10, 2007
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Had one of my all-time dumbest falls today.

I’ve been up at Mammoth for several days, and it has been spring conditions, with melting even on steep north faces. Today a snowstorm came in, which made all the slush underneath turn to ice.

Skiing was just okay, since there wasn’t quite enough snow to cushion the ice below. So, in a search for fun, I took my eldest to a steep chute we’ve been doing all week. I knew it would be icy underneath, but at least it was pretty smooth for some turns in the pow.

The problem with the chute is that the entrance is rocky, so you need to take off your skis, walk in, then put them back on. This wasn’t too hard in slush, but today it was tricky to get everything lined up and secure.

I was rushing a bit to beat some other guys entering a different way, and decided to take an extra step down to find a flatter transition shelf. But I hopped down like it was still slush, lost my footing, and bounced off my ass right over the edge. One ski came with me, shooting to the bottom, while my poles and the other ski stayed up top.

Meanwhile, I picked up speed on the ice. I bumped over a few rocks, missed a couple others, and scared the crap out of myself before getting my boot tips to punch into the ice. I couldn’t get my fingers in.

My son was nice enough to bring my ski and poles down, and I then had a long, exhausting, one ski descent to get my other ski.

Luckily I didn’t do any damage other than ego bruises, and the snow has picked up so maybe tomorrow will be better.
Whoa, that's a gripper! Glad to hear you are alright! Always happens when there is an audience... I saw Mammoth got 8 ish inches or so, pretty solid timing!
 

graffam198

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I'm trying to go sled skiing or cat skiing later this year, and I need to get an avy class in. Not too many offered in Florida though--hopefully there are some online?
Sounds like you need a trip out to Mammoth...

Howie of SMG guides is top notch and is trying to step up the guide game in North America. For the money, I don't know if you will do better than SMG stateside. That being said....if you are doing Cat Skiing/Heli in Canada....They are the Gold Standard of avy knowledge in the Western Hemisphere. if you can make it work, and are traveling to that region anyways, I would try to extend your stay a couple days. Avy 1 is 4 days, 2 classroom and 2 field. COVID switched classroom to zoom and self-study for most, if not all programs. Just some food for thought
 

GoJeff!

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Whoa, that's a gripper! Glad to hear you are alright! Always happens when there is an audience... I saw Mammoth got 8 ish inches or so, pretty solid timing!
Yeah, we got some great laps in today. Seemed like half the people there had driven down from Tahoe for the pow.

50481
 

graffam198

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Dec 10, 2007
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Reno, NV
Yeah, we got some great laps in today. Seemed like half the people there had driven down from Tahoe for the pow.
Driest Jan - March since 1970, maybe all recorded time here in Tahoe. Guess I picked the right time to end a season o_O

On a semi-related note, what's everyone doing to maintain / dry land this year? Obviously I'm limited, so will be doing a ton of running and air squats. (Maybe some box step ups, but I'm in a no fall zone for the next 6 months...) Aside from your standard sit-ups, flutter kicks, etc. any good body weight recs? Cannot be load bearing on the wrist, so back on ground mostly.

Generally I like to prep with runs, squats, and upper body lifting. No weights for many months and I want to do more than just run (which I do enjoy, but kind of one dimensional)
 

Zososoxfan

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Driest Jan - March since 1970, maybe all recorded time here in Tahoe. Guess I picked the right time to end a season o_O

On a semi-related note, what's everyone doing to maintain / dry land this year? Obviously I'm limited, so will be doing a ton of running and air squats. (Maybe some box step ups, but I'm in a no fall zone for the next 6 months...) Aside from your standard sit-ups, flutter kicks, etc. any good body weight recs? Cannot be load bearing on the wrist, so back on ground mostly.

Generally I like to prep with runs, squats, and upper body lifting. No weights for many months and I want to do more than just run (which I do enjoy, but kind of one dimensional)
I lost my longboard during a move a few years back, but even more so for skiing rollerblading is considered a primo offseason activity.

I don't do anything special during the year to prepare for trips. I play soccer 2x/week, lift 2x/week, and do as much mobility and core work as I can on the other days. A month or 2 before a trip, I'll add in wall-sits and any other lower body muscles that feel like they need extra love. Truth be told, the same things I target regularly will help my riding the most--mobility and strength in my posterior chain.
 

GoJeff!

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On a semi-related note, what's everyone doing to maintain / dry land this year? Obviously I'm limited, so will be doing a ton of running and air squats. (Maybe some box step ups, but I'm in a no fall zone for the next 6 months...) Aside from your standard sit-ups, flutter kicks, etc. any good body weight recs? Cannot be load bearing on the wrist, so back on ground mostly.
First of all, I think it is inexcusable to bring up dryland before fishmas ;)

I generally try to maintain an aerobic and core base throughout the year, and only ramp up skiing specific stuff in the fall. Every day I do a bunch of back and ab stretches and exercises I was given after back surgery (can PM a list if you want). For aerobic conditioning, I like to mountain bike, and I find that standing out of the saddle approximates skiing better than sitting and spinning. But your wrist probably makes that impossible unless you can use a brace or something.

In skiing news, I'm trying to plan spring backcountry trips while dealing with the realities of a terrible snowpack. It seems like more of a "peak bagging" year than a "great descents" year, so I'm thinking about Whitney and some other big ones like Tom or Gilbert. My normal partner is out injured so I'm flying even more by the seat of my pants than usual.
 

graffam198

dog lover
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Dec 10, 2007
1,378
Reno, NV
First of all, I think it is inexcusable to bring up dryland before fishmas ;)

I generally try to maintain an aerobic and core base throughout the year, and only ramp up skiing specific stuff in the fall. Every day I do a bunch of back and ab stretches and exercises I was given after back surgery (can PM a list if you want). For aerobic conditioning, I like to mountain bike, and I find that standing out of the saddle approximates skiing better than sitting and spinning. But your wrist probably makes that impossible unless you can use a brace or something.

In skiing news, I'm trying to plan spring backcountry trips while dealing with the realities of a terrible snowpack. It seems like more of a "peak bagging" year than a "great descents" year, so I'm thinking about Whitney and some other big ones like Tom or Gilbert. My normal partner is out injured so I'm flying even more by the seat of my pants than usual.
I know I know. It’s selfish of me to even think of the d word much less speak it.
Would love that list!
No bike. Aside from unable to hold, was told I’m a no fall candidate.
dunderburg to green creek coulaire is awesome! And Virginia lakes just opened.
 

Devizier

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I'm already starting to think ahead to next season and I'm curious if anyone here has insight in comparing a few ski areas: Beaver Creek, Steamboat, Park City, and Aspen. I'm wondering about 1) snow quantity and quality (far and away #1), #2 family friendly, 3) airport accessibility, and 4) general cost.
I can attest to Beaver Creek and Park City. Of those two, Park City is more family friendly and airport accessible. They are both fairly expensive, although if you are staying for a week, you’ll want to invest in an Epic Pass. I can’t speak for the crowds, I think they are insane now. For pure skiing, Beaver Creek is better though (IMHO). Given your time there you can probably make a judgement.
 

Zososoxfan

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I can attest to Beaver Creek and Park City. Of those two, Park City is more family friendly and airport accessible. They are both fairly expensive, although if you are staying for a week, you’ll want to invest in an Epic Pass. I can’t speak for the crowds, I think they are insane now. For pure skiing, Beaver Creek is better though (IMHO). Given your time there you can probably make a judgement.
Many thanks. I bought a 4-day Epic pass last year and it worked out very well. It usually only takes about 5 days to justify the Epic Local pass, so once they announce fall prices I'll reconsider.

The lines in BC were downright reasonable for the last week of Spring Break when I was just there--but that says more about the visitors than the capacity. IOW, the lift lines were empty, but the lodges, restaurants, etc. were packed.

For better or worse, I'm a grass is always greener guy and I really want to check out PCMR. I'm thinking about heading there or Snowmass for the 4th of July to check it out. BC was great, but I think flying into Eagle will be a PITA, and while I really like the family vibe at BC, a bigger playground to grow into over the next few years would be nice and I think Snowmass and PC fit that description better.
 

Zososoxfan

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First of all, I think it is inexcusable to bring up dryland before fishmas ;)

I generally try to maintain an aerobic and core base throughout the year, and only ramp up skiing specific stuff in the fall. Every day I do a bunch of back and ab stretches and exercises I was given after back surgery (can PM a list if you want). For aerobic conditioning, I like to mountain bike, and I find that standing out of the saddle approximates skiing better than sitting and spinning. But your wrist probably makes that impossible unless you can use a brace or something.

In skiing news, I'm trying to plan spring backcountry trips while dealing with the realities of a terrible snowpack. It seems like more of a "peak bagging" year than a "great descents" year, so I'm thinking about Whitney and some other big ones like Tom or Gilbert. My normal partner is out injured so I'm flying even more by the seat of my pants than usual.
What does the bagging vs. descents part mean?
 

Devizier

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For better or worse, I'm a grass is always greener guy and I really want to check out PCMR. I'm thinking about heading there or Snowmass for the 4th of July to check it out. BC was great, but I think flying into Eagle will be a PITA, and while I really like the family vibe at BC, a bigger playground to grow into over the next few years would be nice and I think Snowmass and PC fit that description better.
One thing about the Epic Pass is that you can snag a bunch of mountains in Colorado. Obviously Beaver Creek is far afield, but Vail is near enough. Breckinridge is a decent trip. It’s too bad (but maybe not so much) that A Basin is Ikon now. That is a unique mountain that is awesome in the spring.
 

Zososoxfan

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One thing about the Epic Pass is that you can snag a bunch of mountains in Colorado. Obviously Beaver Creek is far afield, but Vail is near enough. Breckinridge is a decent trip. It’s too bad (but maybe not so much) that A Basin is Ikon now. That is a unique mountain that is awesome in the spring.
Vail is the closest thing I've had to a "home" mountain over the years, but I think it's jumped the shark for me. The backside of Vail with fresh snow is truly a special feeling IMO--the White Room if you will. I'll note here that I haven't been to Jackson or Big Sky yet, so I'm sure other resorts can offer this, but even Snowbird didn't have that wide open expanse of bowls and glades (although the 'Bird had the craziest terrain I've ever done to date).

But Vail has become comically expensive and suffers from its proximity to Denver. There are some locals who still go there, and with the out of town crush it has become crippling. I won't be going back to Breck for the same reason. There's a Twitter account dedicated to showing Vail Resorts' failures manifesting as interminable lift lines, and the 2 videos that stood out to the most were from Vail and Breck. I love both mountains unconditionally and I've had some of my best days there, but as someone who has to make the few days I get count the most, I think there are better options at this point sadly.
 

Zososoxfan

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”Peak bagging” is how many mountains you’ve hiked/skied. I’m assuming “great descents” refers to chasing the highest quality runs.
Got it, thanks. So in this context, a weak snowpack means going to new places that have acceptable conditions as opposed to chasing the best locations?
 

GoJeff!

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Got it, thanks. So in this context, a weak snowpack means going to new places that have acceptable conditions as opposed to chasing the best locations?
Somewhat.

In the eastern Sierra, there are some descents that are reliably good. Maybe not all of them every year, but a large percentage each year. Those are kind of the go-to standards, and I'll definitely hit some this year, but they are mostly repeats for me.

There are also lines that are harder to get, either requiring the right conditions or a lot of effort. I also like to get a few of these "interesting lines" each year.

In a good snow year, some really aesthetic, steep descents become skiable. However, in off years, there are likely to be ice bulges or rocks that make the descent impossible or require ropes/downclimbing. Those descents are pretty much all off limits this year.

The other ones of interest to me are big peaks. These often have so-so skiing. For starters, the large elevation gain means it is hard for the snow to be great (or even exist) at both the bottom and the top. They can also just be off for other reasons. For example, the route off Mt. Whitney gets tons of snowshoe traffic, which messes up the snow. But in a low snow year you aren't necessarily getting GREAT skiing anywhere, so I don't mind trying for something that could potentially be lousy if it has been on my mind for awhile.
 

Zososoxfan

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Somewhat.

In the eastern Sierra, there are some descents that are reliably good. Maybe not all of them every year, but a large percentage each year. Those are kind of the go-to standards, and I'll definitely hit some this year, but they are mostly repeats for me.

There are also lines that are harder to get, either requiring the right conditions or a lot of effort. I also like to get a few of these "interesting lines" each year.

In a good snow year, some really aesthetic, steep descents become skiable. However, in off years, there are likely to be ice bulges or rocks that make the descent impossible or require ropes/downclimbing. Those descents are pretty much all off limits this year.

The other ones of interest to me are big peaks. These often have so-so skiing. For starters, the large elevation gain means it is hard for the snow to be great (or even exist) at both the bottom and the top. They can also just be off for other reasons. For example, the route off Mt. Whitney gets tons of snowshoe traffic, which messes up the snow. But in a low snow year you aren't necessarily getting GREAT skiing anywhere, so I don't mind trying for something that could potentially be lousy if it has been on my mind for awhile.
Super interesting, thanks for sharing. My buddy is a NorCal ski beast and I bet he can relate to a lot of this. I've still never been skiing with him, but hope to see him carve some tracks at some point.
 

fairlee76

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Vail is the closest thing I've had to a "home" mountain over the years, but I think it's jumped the shark for me. The backside of Vail with fresh snow is truly a special feeling IMO--the White Room if you will. I'll note here that I haven't been to Jackson or Big Sky yet, so I'm sure other resorts can offer this, but even Snowbird didn't have that wide open expanse of bowls and glades (although the 'Bird had the craziest terrain I've ever done to date).

But Vail has become comically expensive and suffers from its proximity to Denver. There are some locals who still go there, and with the out of town crush it has become crippling. I won't be going back to Breck for the same reason. There's a Twitter account dedicated to showing Vail Resorts' failures manifesting as interminable lift lines, and the 2 videos that stood out to the most were from Vail and Breck. I love both mountains unconditionally and I've had some of my best days there, but as someone who has to make the few days I get count the most, I think there are better options at this point sadly.
Sorry to be a dissenting voice here, but of the mountains you mentioned as contenders for next year's trip, I think Steamboat is the clear winner. Might even be able to score a direct flight: https://www.steamboat.com/plan-your-trip/getting-here-and-around/flights. I also love Aspen for the diversity of mountains there and it's relative quiet. And the town of Aspen is awesome. Uber bougie but does not feel as phony/nouveau riche as Vail.

Buuuut, maybe next year you go to Jackson? It is busier now than it was 15 years ago, but not unrecognizably so (AKA not like any of the I70 resorts in CO) and I imagine Grand Targhee remains quieter still than JHMR. The town of Jackson is great - super walkable and really reasonable lodging if you are just looking for a basic place to sleep. I generally pay $120-$140 a night at this place: https://www.townsquareinns.com/hotels/antler-inn/. Here are the direct flight options to Jackson: https://www.visitjacksonhole.com/getting-here.