Featured When is powder TOO deep?

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by dbostedo, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister--Utah Team Gathermeister

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    Just read an article on Powder (http://www.powder.com/stories/features/scenes-biggest-winter-generation/), and it contained this anecdote about Mammoth last year:

    After 104 inches in five days, the upper mountain opened on January 24 under blue skies.... I got in the gondy line early and... was the first to head out to the Dragon's Tail.

    Patrol had ski-cut and bombed the sheltered old growth of the Tail, but nothing had slid, just surface sluff. I traversed to the far end of the ridge, dropped into my favorite chute, and was immediately terrified. The snow was incredible, but it was too deep. The first turn was over my shoulders without hitting bottom. Something clicked as I came up for air—I was by myself, nobody knew I was out there, and it was so deep that you didn't need a tree well to die, you just had to fall over.

    I went into emergency mode, skiing two-footed for maximum float, slithering instead of slashing, and didn't exhale until I finally shot onto the trail across the flats....

    Anyone ever experience anything like that? I've never thought powder could be that deep and not compact under its own weight! Can it really be that dangerous?
     
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  2. Rod9301

    Rod9301 Putting on skis Skier

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    I only received this a few years ago, I felt that my 112 skis were to narrow, and I was really sinking.
     
  3. Mothertucker

    Mothertucker Sweep Dodger Skier

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    It can't be too deep, only too flat or too steep.
     
  4. tromano

    tromano <3 Spring Skiing Skier

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    I have skied over the head blower a few times. I guess its not for everyone. I don't think it's dangerous if you fall down. There are techniques for getting up like making an x with your poles and using the xed poles in one hand to push off the snow and stand up. Or just roll arround until you compact stuff and can get your feet under you
     
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  5. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    Too deep? Not recently with the with the new wider skis. Unlike most young'um, I still remember how to porpoise my skis.

    Too deep? Quite often back in the old straight ski days. I remember going off Gun Sight at Alta after a big storm. Dropped in way over my head on the first turn and continued for the rest of the way down. Had to do everything I can so I would blow out of the snow at the end of the turn. I heard myself scream "OH S**T" every time I was about to drop back into the snow after coming up for air. The other two guys that I was with was doing the exact same thing. We figured out later that the "OH S**T" was just short for "Keep Skiing, I'm OK." Yeah, that's it. :P
     
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  6. slowrider

    slowrider Out on the slopes Skier

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    I've been in a few different types of deep snow slides/avies over the years which were unsettling at best. These days I tend to make decisions with a little more hesitation.
     
  7. Bad Bob

    Bad Bob Out on the slopes Skier

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    What KingGrump said. Skiing the real bottomless on a pair of old skinny GS skis was a very doable thing and fun. To catch a day when you only ski for as many turns as you could hold your breath was something not to be forgotten. Caught the Bird after the tram had been closed for 2 full days in a blizzard in 72. To this day it is what all of my powder days are measured by. No, it can not be too deep.

    Oh ya, in those bygone days you didn't have near the level of competition on a powder day that exists today either.
     
  8. graham418

    graham418 Getting off the lift Skier

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    ..when the whole mountain is closed for avalanche control!
     
  9. Jellybeans1000

    Jellybeans1000 Resident Weatherman Skier

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    Just bring a snorkel if you are under the powder!
     
  10. Uncle Louie

    Uncle Louie The Original Gathermeister Skier Team Gathermeister

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    We had conditions like that at one of the Utah Gatherings. I can't remember which year it was. We got approx. 2' of snow every day of the event.

    I'll bet jgiddyup still has some pics. He recently started a picture thread centered on previous Gatherings and ESA events. I'll all but bet you see a few pics on that thread from the Gathering I mentioned above before too long.
     
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  11. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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  12. fatbob

    fatbob Out on the slopes Skier

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    Sure it can be too deep if there is over 6ft of unconsolidated snow then you can easily get in over your head and risk a NARSID if you fall.

    And 2 ft can be too deep on some flattish pitches if it's really heavy sierra cement style - you can get down but it isn't necessarily fun.
     
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  13. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    We had this problem in Tahoe in 10/11 and last year. Squaw couldn't open for Avi control and Northstar had the issues where it was too flat in some areas. I remember joking that you didn't need poles to ski, you needed oars to get though the lower angle terrain.
     
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  14. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister--Utah Team Gathermeister

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    That's more the question I was asking. I've heard of people falling and having NARSID events in deep pow, but it's usually been attributable to a heart attack or some other serious injury that makes them unable to get their head up. I've never heard of it being so deep that anyone could risk NARSID from a simple fall while skiing.

    I always figured that powder that deep would compact under its own weight enough to prevent that. I know talk of snorkels and holding your breath come up a lot, but I assumed that was more about the way the snow rises over you as you ski.... not literally sinking so much that if you stop, the snow covers over your head.
     
  15. crgildart

    crgildart Gravity Slave Skier

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    It's possible to drown in powder hanging upside down from your skis just like in a tree well if you don't have the core strength to right yourself. Losing your poles in the fall could also lead to similar problems. Other than that, there is sometimes so much new snow that the lifts are buried... When that happens it's usually also too unstable to hike for turns.
     
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  16. DanoT

    DanoT RVer-Skier Skier

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    All you need to do is have 4 or 5 feet deep unconsolidated snow tilted on a steep slope and it becomes bottomless.

    I have crashed (more than once) in very deep, very light snow that will not compress so when you set the skis up to step back in them they are at chest or shoulder height because you have sunk in and your skis won't.

    To get the skis on in chest deep powder it requires you to set the skis side by side (at chest height) and uphill from you. Then hoist yourself (jump) up onto the skis, just back of the bindings, just like getting out of a swimming pool, and position yourself kneeling behind the bindings, facing forward. You then carefully stand up on the skis and then step forward into the bindings.... You now know why I replaced my Marker Griffon bindings that require a heavy stomp to get into.
     
  17. mdf

    mdf back to being an ordinary Gatheree Skier

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    I did a "lawn dart" fall once where I went in head first. (As it happens, it was at NorthStar and Phil was right behind me laughing.) I don't know how deep it was, but it was enough that head first didn't hurt. It was initially disoriented and I did have a mouthful of snow, but it was not particularly difficult to turn right side up.

    That was in an open area -- I suppose if there was something next to me limiting my ability to squirm upright it could be different.
     
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  18. Blue Streak

    Blue Streak Behind the Epic Curtain Skier

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    I think this thread needs to be moved to the Too Much Money, Too Much Sex, and Too Thin thread.
    Oh, that's right...THERE IS NO SUCH THING!
    :D
     
  19. Blue Streak

    Blue Streak Behind the Epic Curtain Skier

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    OMG. Now I've gone and offended the Trust Funders, Nymphomaniacs, and Anorexics.:huh:
     
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  20. tromano

    tromano <3 Spring Skiing Skier

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    @dbostedo the author was probably using poetic license.
     

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