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Good Old Powder Days


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........... Are a thing of the past. At least here in the Front Range of Colorado. 

I used to LOVE powder days. I would wake up really early on a weekend day and try to be in the parking lot of the ski area before they opened. If we had a good powder day mid-week, I would play hooky and get my powder fix. 

I don't think that is possible anymore. There are so many powderhounds in the Denver area, it is almost not possible to get some fresh tracks. It's like a huge school of piranha feeding on the first poor cow that wanders into the river. After a couple of hours, all that is left are a few bones.  

A drive that should take an hour might take 4 hours now. Once you're there, plan on 2 hour lift lines. 

We had some new snow here in Colorado over the weekend and most reports were of horrendous drives and lift lines. I don't think it matters anymore if it is on a weekend or a week day. 

It may be worst here because of our huge population growth but how are your powder days elsewhere?

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I think you're convincing yourself that pow is gone. I disagree. Even on Saturday with a really long line at 1 (Loveland) the other lifts were not bad and the powder is still powder. If you know where to go you have fresh lines well into noon.

A friend of mine skied Winter Park on Friday and Saturday and said that the lines in MJ were not all that bad.

Is it busier than 8 years ago? yes. It's not as cool but still fun.


That being said, today I honestly prefer groom on a bluebird day. 

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I still LOVE powder and I know where to find it at my local area (Loveland) after most of it is gone. 

But one has to really love it to tolerate the traffic & lift lines. I heard tales of driving up last Saturday: one person left Denver at 4:30 AM and arrived at Loveland at 5:30. Someone else left Denver at 5 AM and didn't get there until after 7 AM. That's twice as long sitting in traffic. Yuk.

Is it "worth it"? Not for me. 


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I have no idea why people do that. Especially since the back bowls were closed. When that happens Vail becomes a much smaller resort.

Still, friends that were in Winter Park and Steamboat said it really wasn't that bad. My guess is that the people that went to Vail should have gone a bit further to Beaver Creek and would have had far less lines.

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Weekend pow days are a circus on Mt. Hood now, and most midweek days are the same...but occasionally a midweek powder day that comes after an extended storm cycle will still slip under people's radar. Spring powder days are also more manageable than Jan/Feb. 

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Up here in northern Utah we're getting smaller amounts of snow this year, enough to keep a decent base but definitely a odd year. Freezing rain at the end of last week made for some early ice riding but I'm dying for a good 2-3 foot day. Cold temps are keeping what snow we have fluffy. I'm hoping things turn around soon.





Edited by Gossamer
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We still get lots of powder days, but I think that opensnow.com has spoiled it for the smaller resorts.  I run into so many more people from far away on those days.  They see the opensnow forecast of 8" 3-4 days in advance, make plans, and sleep in the parking lot to get first tracks.  I think the "X is going to get 2" more than Y, let's make plans to go to X" happens too.

The approach of monitoring weather reports and checking the snow report at 5am seems somewhat obsolete these days.  

That said, there's a lot of powder still to be ridden.  We had a 7" dump last Friday, huge (comparing to usual) lines by 9am, but by 10am everybody was spread out and things were back to normal, with plenty of fresh in the trees...  As long as the storms keep coming, there's still a lot of good riding...

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I think the only way around here to get a decent powder day is if there is a "surprise" mid-week snowstorm that exceeds the expectations and you just happen to be there that day. Or maybe if one gets a mid-week dump shortly after a big weekend dump and most powderhounds get their fix on the weekend and they are satisfied for a week or so. 

Also, as stated above - if we get a big snowstorm late season (after Spring Break) after most people have turned off their ski brains. 

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