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(@therealmrtall)
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On Mt. Washington last week we had a beautiful bluebird morning with fresh snow. I hit Powder Face for several turns and headed over to Westerly (where there always seems to be a few more fresh lines available). The snow was really nice that day -- the typical Mt. Washington powder, not champagne pow, but not West Coast "cement". I felt like I was skiing well, but my legs burned out fairly quickly.

Could my legs have burned out because of my technique -- working harder than I need to be -- or in part due to my momentum (or lack thereof) making the turns more difficult?(Probably a combination of factors.) I have a great time skiing the chop -- no problems and I really enjoy it actually -- but I'd love to shred some pow just as efficiently and confidently as I do in other conditions.

A couple of things I keep in mind when skiing powder:

  • Speed is your friend;
  • Take more of a two-footed approach.

The second point is one that I'm not 100% sure about. Is it more of a situational thing? Any general advice for powder skiing (in typical West Coast conditions)?

 


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(@skinerd)
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It just so happens I’m midway through editing a video/post about this very topic. Probably a few days away from posting.

As for a ‘two footed’ approach. The important thing to think about here is creating a platform that will compress the snow so it pushes back on you, unlike a hard surface where you need your edges to bight into the snow.

I still tend to balance primarily towards the outside ski, but use a muscular effort to push the inside ski into the snow and create a broader platform whenever I feel the outside ski start to submarine.


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(@therealmrtall)
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@skinerd Thanks for the notes. I think I had tended toward what you described -- more balance toward the outside ski, keeping a bit more thought as to what the inside was doing. The point about a platform triggered a thought. I think the extra effort in my legs was coming from lack of a platform to push against (to get my skis more above the snow to turn) and I was perhaps trying to steer too much while in the snow, if that makes any sense -- just powering through the turns.

Hopefully I'll get another powder day in soon to try a few things. Wish I were on the mountain now as it looks like tomorrow will be epic.


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(@skinerd)
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That makes sense. In deep snow I typically try to create the majority of the steering angle when the skis are light (or out of the snow). Not too much though or you will faceplant!

Then as the skis plunge back into the snow they will bend to create the any further steering effort. All you have to do is resist.


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(@geepers)
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@skinerd and @therealmrtall

What skis are you using on pow days - more specifically underfoot width rather than brand? 


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 kuba
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Posted by: @geepers

@skinerd and @therealmrtall

What skis are you using on pow days - more specifically underfoot width rather than brand? 

Decent rocker also helps. Without it one might have a tendency to lean backward which can quickly burn out legs.

 


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(@skinerd)
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Posted by: @geepers

@skinerd and @therealmrtall

What skis are you using on pow days - more specifically underfoot width rather than brand? 

My everyday ski these days is a Blizzard Quattro (72mm under foot)... which I still enjoy on lighter powder days when it’s not bottomless. On bigger powder days (like today!), or when I want to ski ‘switch’ with the kids, I ski on Blizzard Peacemakers (104 under foot). Both are super fun for different applications.

The main difference with the skinnies in powder is the need to seek out steeper terrain to keep the momentum going and take a little more direct line. Balance also needs to be a little better, but sometimes they’re actually more fun as you get way more face shots:) That said, when it’s super schmooey or in lower angle wide open terrain the Peacemakers really shine.


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(@therealmrtall)
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Posted by: @geepers

@skinerd and @therealmrtall

What skis are you using on pow days - more specifically underfoot width rather than brand? 

Rossignol Experience 88 HD, so 88mm underfoot. That's my only ski right now. I had a pair of Volkl Gotamas that were 107mm underfoot. Pretty decent ski actually. Sold them a couple of years ago, but in retrospect perhaps I should have kept them for a bit of fun. My thinking at the time was that I shouldn't rely on a fatter ski and that instead I should develop my technique.

88 seems to be a good middle ground. I'm interested in the Elan Wingman -- maybe the 82 or even the 78. It would be nice to take them for a spin.


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(@therealmrtall)
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Posted by: @kuba
Posted by: @geepers

@skinerd and @therealmrtall

What skis are you using on pow days - more specifically underfoot width rather than brand? 

Decent rocker also helps. Without it one might have a tendency to lean backward which can quickly burn out legs.

 

Good point. My balance may have been back a bit as well. We need more powder days for experimentation!


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(@geepers)
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Looking forward to @skinerd new pow vid. Hopefully there will be some skiing in there with non-fat skis and relevant pointers. 

Been on 67mm underfoot as only ski for 2020. Will probably re-intro a wider ski (no wider than 88) once we have the opportunity to return to Canada.

A bit more powder experimentation - yes! Bring it on.


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(@adrian_hamilton)
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I've never owned a wide ski, the widest being 85mm. I have skied knee deep on my Head Titans and found them just fine. For me living in the UK and rarely getting to ski any deep stuff in Europe it's not worth buying anything wider. When we ski in Canada we're limited to how many skis we bring.

I am also a bit old school in my thoughts and have quotes from 2 very esteemed CSIA Level 4 examiners ringing in my ears.

1. On a gondola lift in Austria in response to a woman interrupting a conversation she was not part of, said L4 said that when he encountered wonderful deep powder he wanted to ski in it rather than in the top 6 inches and would stick with his 81mm Salomons.

2. In a conversation with some young instructors deciding whether to take out the 110s or the 120s, second L4 said out of earshot of young guys ''alternatively you could learn to ski.''


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(@skinerd)
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I don’t want to knock fat skis as they are a tonne of fun for certain applications and open up a lot of creative possibilities tactics wise.

However, it is my opinion that the vast majority of skiers on the west coast are on skis way too wide for 98% of the skiing they do. Mostly victims of good marketing as it’s nearly impossible to find skinny skis on the shop racks around here.  


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I agree they have their place but I find it frustrating when I hear people talking about going for a ski of 90mm underfoot when they ski almost exclusively on piste.

Apart from the increasing evidence linking wide skis with knee pain and injury when skied on hard pistes, I really don't think it's helping technique. It's hard persuading people otherwise as there is so much promotion of wider skis and 90mm is often portrayed as a frontside ski.

For me, if you want to improve technically ski something narrower. 70 -80mm underfoot with a max 85 in my opinion.

There are a couple of paragraphs in Ron LeMaster's book where he talks about the reduction for potential edge grip as the edge moves further away from the centre. It's down to physics. It doesn't matter how hard ski manufacturers work, they can't rewrite the laws of physics.


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(@geepers)
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Posted by: @skinerd

However, it is my opinion that the vast majority of skiers on the west coast are on skis way too wide for 98% of the skiing they do. Mostly victims of good marketing as it’s nearly impossible to find skinny skis on the shop racks around here.

This.

Wide skis that don't leave the groomers are like giant 4WDs stuck in the city. But they sure are popular.

 


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(@skierjohan)
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It's very interesting topic.
Being Ski Ninja, who loves to sword on the snow, like Samurai, I mean, curving on the snow, I feel skiing with powder snow is no cheating.
If you ski on gloomed tellaine, you can cheat with sliding your ski to complete our turns, however, skiing with powder we somehow face, my meaning of resistance, terrorists.
I agree with what SkiNerd states about outsideski (downhill ski), the platform.
Well, I feel the most important thing is that keeping tight core, and always be on the ski.
I use Head Titan 170cm for all tellaine here in Japan. It's kind of GS turn based, 133-80-111 R14M, early edging, 3-6 & 9-12 o'clock cutting in ski (needs to be right position and put body weight on the ski for sure).

I think being tight core for COS (Center of Mass), if you watch Section 8 video, you have idea for that, and I feel that's 1 thing, and somehow I feel that CSIA standard is that stable upper body with start turns with closet contact of the snow. THis part, Ski Nerd can explain much better than me.

I attach this for the importance of COS.


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