Thursday, February 6, 2014

"No Friends On a Powder Day"

Powder day! Photo from 2/5/14

With 7-9" of fresh powder in the last 24 hours, we're in for another powder morning today under bluebird skies. With that in mind, it occurs to me that some people may be visiting us for the first time, or have never experienced powder before. GASP! You're in for a treat. Let me assure you that it's some of the most fun you'll ever have in the Winter, but there's a few things you need to know. Powder skiing & riding is vastly different from lapping groomers all day, and you'll likely hear a bevy of new language and terminology you're unfamiliar with. So, here's a list of key terms to help you find your way through your first powder day.

  • Powder Day: While the qualifying amounts vary from resort-to-resort and even from person-to-person, generally accepted to be any day with at least 6" of new snowfall. In light snow years, amounts greater than 4" may be called a powder day.
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  • Powder: The fluffy stuff. There are two kinds - heavy wet and light dry. Think of heavy wet powder as the kind you'd make snowmen out of. It's sticky and hard to gain any speed on the hill, but we love it because it helps build up our base. Light dry powder (also called champagne powder) is, well, really light! If you've seen some "powder shots" in magazines, those ones where skiers just burst through a cloud of snow, that's the dry stuff. Easy to float on top of and easy to keep up your speed.
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  • Pow/powpow/Gnar/Shred Sugar/White Gold: Other terms skiers & riders use when referring to powder. Varies with age and geographic location.
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  • Wahooooooo!: One of many sounds a skier or rider may expel when dipping and diving through deep snow on a powder day. You'll develop your own without even realizing it.
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  • Primo/Sick/Wicked/Stellar/**insert other adjective here**: Terms used by skiers and riders to describe the conditions and whatever line they just took through fresh powder.
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  • "No friends on a powder day!": A popular phrase meaning, "Hey, good friend of mine, when it's snowing this hard, I sure will leave you at home or start my day at the lift without you unless you gear up in a timely fashion. I don't want to miss out on fresh lines because you took your sweet time making breakfast!"
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  • Giggling or continued laughter: Typically happens within or immediately after the first few turns in fresh powder. That moment when you realize, "oh em gee, this is going to be a blast!"
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  • Silence: Because when it's snowing, everything is quiet. It doesn't make a sound when it's falling, or when you're gliding over top of it.
And remember, if you keep passing people with huge stupid grins on their face all day, or you can't keep one off your own, you're doing it right. Now get after it!

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