Ahhh, powder days. Is there anything better? It’s what we all dream of in the off-season and pursue like addicts in-season. In San Francisco, there’s nothing better than a heavy rain – it means a powder dump in Tahoe. How many and the quality of powder days we get in a season is a mixture of luck and divine intervention. Having the most fun when you find yourself at the bottom of a lift with mounds of snow on each chair…that’s just simple math (to me, but I’m a finance geek). Here’s my equation:
Epic Powder Day = mountain knowledge + strength of legs + ski group size + ski group compatibility + snacks + mix of hikes and lift rides + gear.
It’s all personal preference, I guess, but I polled some Liftopia powder hounds and here are the essential Top-5 Powder Day Rules.
- Correct Group: Size and quality are key. Size – You need to ski with a partner – safety first, but also share the experience! Also, no one will believe you if you say you hucked a 20 footer skiing alone. But, don’t let your group get too big. Remember, you’re going to be dealing with lines and may need to split into the singles line. The more peeps you have, the less runs. Quality – make sure you’re group is of similar ability and has the same attitude. Do people in your group want to hike? Do you want to take 5 minutes to set up a line or bomb to the bottom and get another run? Do you want to build a kicker?
- Snacks: You’re going to be working very hard. I stuff two Clif Bars in my pockets and take as many free samples of whatever granola they’re passing out at the base. I’ve seen people pull full lunches out of deep jacket pockets. Nothing like a PBJ on the lift. Hydrating is key too. Wear a Camelbak, stash a Gatorade in the snow or ditch to the lodge to chug water.
- Efficiency: Documenting your day is great. Snap pics or wear a helmet cam. Powder days, after all, are what we live for. But please don’t go nuts. A shot of each run or a fiddling with your audio feed wastes valuable time. Also, have your gear straight the night before. Get your boots, gloves and goggles tip-top. Last, plan your attack on the hill and know how the weather is going impact your day.
- No Whining! You can’t whine. It’s not allowed. If you’re tired, take a break. If you’re cold, think warm thoughts.
- There ARE friends on a Powder Day – Yes, you should avoid a large group and even ditch part of the group if you’re getting slowed down. But don’t let people ski alone. Even within your groups, stay close and keep track of one another. If someone loses a ski in the pow (God help us all), help find it…it will happen to you.
I’d love to hear your powder day rules to live by. What am I missing?
Be safe out there guys and gals. Keep dreaming of the white and fluffy.
And have everyone in group use powder cords, helps alleviate that possible lost ski issue in #5
Walkie talkies/communication. Sometimes your line drops you on a different trail or out. Nothing is a bigger waste of time when you’re waiting just out of the glades and your partner is waiting at the lift
Don’t get agro – everyone is having fun so no need for negative energy – know your mountain well (or go with someone who does) and youll have freshies all day!
Wear your avalanche transceiver, carry your shovel and probe and know how to use them, in the event of a slide, and yes they do happen in-bounds you may be the first responder or you may need to assist the ski patrol. Another reason to carry safety gear….when that access opens your good to go!