Powder, Chowder, Crud, etc.


New member
I have faith it's going to snow this week. We're going to have sweet, deep powder conditions soon.

Do you have trouble skiing well in powder? I've seen many outstanding east coast skiers go out west and flounder for a day or two until they get used to skiing deep snow.

Of course, untracked powder eventually gets tracked out. Chopped up snow like this can be a real challenge, especially here in the east where that powder is deposited over an icy base. How do you handle chopped up snow where conditions are so variable they can change from turn to turn?

What about wet heavy snow? How about powder that's been sitting in the sun for a while that has a crust on top of it? Wind crust? Avy debris?


New member
I have one foolproof way to handle all the conditions you describe....


Before I get I beat up for that one...... I LOVE skiing powder. But ever since I started snowboarding, I just can't bring myself to choose the skis over the board when it's freshie time.

Tony Crocker

Staff member
Two words: fat skis.

The heavier, the more sun-baked, the more crusty, the more variable, the more important it is to have fat skis. They also help after a smaller storm, keeping you on top instead of skiing the unknown or variable subsurface.

When the powder is of good consistent quality any old ski will do. Remember the old days before the mid-1990's? I had a handful of great powder days back then despite my infrequent experience and less than stellar balance.

It seems pretty simple now: stay centered (the last subject posted here). But on skinny skis and less-than-perfect snow they would hook, dive or grab, so I would resort to the sit-back technique to stay upright, and then inevitably retire to the groomers by lunchtime as my quads would be cooked.

If you can ski like Glen Plake (who disdains the modern hardware), you can ignore the above advice. The rest of us should own or be willing to rent fat skis for powder days. I owned a fat ski for 3 seasons before I owned a shaped ski, as the need seemed far more compelling.


New member
sure, if you know how to ride a snowboard aggressively then it WILL
dominate any terrain you can handle.......pow, crud, or whatever else.
the thing is, it's just as demanding, if not more than skiing. IMO. this will
sum it up........is it easier to ride/ski bumps on a board or ski's? ski's are
more or less easier to control than one wide board (slidding sideways).
fat ski's add to the endurance/stamina needed that it takes to dominate
the powder and crud, but having one board under the feet is still a lot
harder to control i think, when it comes to crud........easier in fresh pow.
also, it must be the right kind of board. a softer freestyle board will take
the crud a lot easier than a really stiff board. i flexed some 'big stix'
recently when i was with someone in JH who was riding them and they
were really flimsy boards.....hense powder ski's.......making it easier to
control. finding the right board or ski's to rip everything is hard to do, so
we just try to find a happy medium and learn how to ride whatever we
end up choosing. most of it is not in the ski's or board though.......it's in the legs. got legs?

also, got winter? 59 degrees in bozeman today!


New member
0-20 across New England.

Unfortunatley we're stuck in another of those patterns where the Cape keeps getting hit harder than the mtns.


Staff member
Cannonball":2wy8itm1 said:
0-20 across New England.

Just to clarify what Cannonball meant, that's 0ºF to -20ºF. An inch or two has fallen almost daily across northern VT this week, and southern VT may get a moderate snowfall this weekend if the predicted coastal low tracks far enough north.


New member
Huh. So the consensus is that equipment choices make or break powder days. Interesting!

Of course, there is truth to that. Alot of snowboarders tell me it is easier for them to ride pow and crud on a board than on skis. Dovetails right into Tony's response about using fat skis.

I like Hamdog's answer best...we slide in these conditions given what's on our feet regardless, and we use our legs to make it work. How?

-Stay relaxed and breathe properly. Skiing powder is more like a dance, dependent on proper speed, footwork, and rhythm. You need a little speed to move through the deep snow, but not too much. Once you have a rhythm going, DON'T STOP!

-Stand up! You need the ability to flex and extend to compensate for hidden terrain variations, use those ankles and knees. If you're skiing trees, an upright stance will promote good head position so you can look ahead and plan your descent.

-Stay centered. Sitting back is not going to do anything but make you tired. Again, use your knees and ankles.

-Ski the base. Some skiers see powder and have images of sinking in it. If you visualize yourself sinking, you will! Try skiing the base under the powder, or create a base in your mind if the snow is bottomless; the snow will compress and rebound at some point, so use that point as your "base".

-Don't over-edge. This will slow you down and make turning harder. In addition, holding on to edges too long or too hard just increases the risk of catching an edge and falling. Over-edging becomes even more of an issue the steeper the terrain gets, especially when it is over 40 degrees in pitch. The only way to develop a feel for proper edging on really steep terrain in powder is to practice. You have to break some eggs to make an omelette.

Now we need it to snow alot so we can go out and practice.