Jump to content
Note to New Members ×

Fastest Snow Ever!


Recommended Posts

This has been a weird season for me. On the night of 2-22 (our beer league race night) we had the fastest snow I have ever seen in over 30 years of skiing. One guy characterized it as skiing on ball bearings. I felt like I was on an air-hocky table with my snowboard. Anything that seemed flat invariably had some pitch to it and I just could not keep still. I had to look for hollows to stand in with my board or step out of one binder. Running the course was sheer terror for me because of how quickly speed built up. I basically skidded the whole course.

After the races I went to the widest, flatest run available and tried to link some turns. Crap! I was so timid that I couldn't drive the edge and decamber enough to get a tight carve going. I'd ride the weak arc as far as I could but had to kick the tail out and scrub speed to avoid hitting the fence or going into the trees. Not helping this any was the fact that glide retention was unbelievable and acceleration blew my mind. At one point I was traversing at low speed, looked over to another trail and thought 'what the heck... lets see if I can get there'. Heck, I climbed a rise I've never gotten over like it wasn't even there and hit the new trail with way too much speed. We had just had a bunch of freezing rain which had left a clear glaze about a quarter inch thick on everything. Seems we weren't on snow but rather were on very very small ice cubes. Temp that night was around 28 deg F

Anyway... this comes on the heels of some of the SLOWEST snow I've been on. At SES'11 I was with my wife as she was trying a carving board. We got off the lift and found picture perfect groom that would not let our boards slide. It was quite funny to be standing on the boards, noses pointed straight down the fall line, skootching along like we were trying to XC snowboard... trying to get to a pitch steep enough that would allow us to glide. Felt really silly. Temp that AM is unknown to me, but was COLD.

So... what tales of fast (or slow) snow do the rest of you folks have?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the ski area i use the most has a funicular track running right up the middle of it. on the leeward side of said track is one of the runs i enjoy most (now) for carving, but only since they bought a winch-cat that they now use on it.

before then, though, because of the predominant wind direction, we'd end up with drifted snow on the left side of the run, and wind-scoured hardpack/ice on the right. it was always an amusing alternation between slow-mo surfy slab, and skittering ice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We get that stuff all the time. It's infinitely grippy and it's actually some of the easiest stuff to ride if you can focus on getting the board high on edge before you're even close to the fall line. Then just stand on the nose until you're out of the fall line and crack it over as soon as possible. If you let the g's build at the bottom of the turn you'll murder yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those fast conditions happen in the east quite often after it rains and then gets cold. In genreal my local resort has quite a few of those days. The groomers will try their best to groom it out and make it carvable but they only end up pulling small pea sized ice balls over boiler plate ice. If you are lucky you won't hit mach 2 until you get 2 or 3 turns in. On those days it takes a good set of gonads to commit big carves on most diamond slopes. My only hope on those days is to go for the edge of the slope where one can hopefully carve an edge good enough to hold. It would be near impossible to run gates without sliding alot of your turns.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

small pea sized ice balls over boiler plate ice ... It would be near impossible to run gates without sliding alot of your turns.

I assume you've never been on a prepared slope, then? I have (the "Piste Verte" at Les Houches, just after the Kandahar). I decided "I can do that one", only to find myself on what was effectively a 45-60° ice rink. I nearly shat myself.

We're opening a new slope next year, reserved for the local ski club. It was originally planned to be water injected for hardcore race training, but as it's impossible to keep the tourists off, that's been rejected. There would be deaths.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...