Finding Pow at a Busy Resort
Tell us if this sounds familiar: Snow is in the forecast, and lots of it. This could be your first big pow day of the season and you can hardly wait. You set your alarm for bright and early the next morning and try to sleep like a kid on Christmas Eve. Maybe you’ve overslept the next morning, there’s an accident on the highway, or maybe hundreds had the same bright idea as you. Whatever the case may be, it becomes clear you’ll have FAR from first chair. Not to worry, here are some tips to finding powder at a busy resort:
Escape the Crowds
Whether you head to the back bowls or just find some more challenging runs on the front side of the mountain, the tougher terrain will see less traffic. Traveling to the backside may require a couple extra lifts rides but you’ll likely find smaller crowds and shorter lines once you arrive. And less people means more pow for your turns. We don’t recommend venturing down a double black if you are a beginner, no matter how untouched the snow. But know your limits and go where the powder takes you. (and the crowds are far, far away)
Hike, hike, hike!
If you feel up to it, the juice is worth the squeeze. The pow is worth the hike. The up is worth the down. That’s right, it you truly want some untouched terrain, hike to a more remote spot within the resort and enjoy some awesome turns on the way down! Just make sure you don’t venture out of bounds as those areas have a higher avalanche risk and are just overall not safe. It’s just not cool to go out of bounds.
To the Trees
Trees can hold fresh powder well after the storm has passed if you know where to look. The farther you drop into them, the more likely you are to find some great turns. But USE CAUTION! Going through trees, especially if you are not an experienced skier or boarder, can be extremely dangerous. Take it slow and stay in control but enjoy the powder! And stay away from the tree wells, those collect a bit TOO much powder to be enjoyable.
Analyze the Elements
Large storms that bring fresh pow are often accompanied by strong winds. If the wind is blowing westward, look for an east facing run or bowl, where all that snow should be sticking. And while we all love bluebird days, the sun can bake the top layer of snow, making for a mushy ride down. If the temperatures are rising on a sunny day, hit the open & sunlit faces early before they start to stick. Sun and wind don’t have to be the enemy of powder, you just have to know how to work with the elements so they don’t work against your perfect powder day.
Check the Forecast
They say there are no friends on powder days but, with over a foot of fresh snow, it will take longer for trails to get tracked out and you won’t have to worry as much about how many others decided to go skiing that day. Check the weather often for predicted snowfall and monitor which resorts are seeing the most fresh stuff. Websites like OnTheSnow allow you to sign up for Powder Alerts so you can browse a list of all the United States ski areas that got at least 8″ of fresh pow within the last 24 hours.
Finding terrain that isn’t tracked out at your favorite resort is possible, even when the lift lines are long. We hope you enjoyed these tips from Christy Sports! Now, go chase some pow!