Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How Deep is Too Deep?

Okay, so I just scored a copy of Powderwhore O7 (which by the way, is a pretty fun way to spend an hour of your life to get fired up for charging on the snow) and watched it two days ago. Besides the ripping tele skiing footage, the question is asked at the end of the video, whether it is ever too deep for skiing. Now I can pose you all with the same question, and present first hand documentation of a day that just might be too deep, but that is for you to decide.

This morning started out typical enough. Wake up at 5am, meet the ski partners Adam and's very own Tommy (who might have been skipping out on work?!!!??) for an early AM Wasatch style slacker dawn patrol. A few quick phone calls tell us that both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons are closed for control work, so we already know that turns won't come easy. It has snowed about 35 inches in the last 40 hours. So with our fate of Mill Creek Canyon decided, we start hauling up the gradual climb into Porter Fork.

Down low in the early morning light, trailbreaking is easy enough: boot top powder, staying dry while it continues to dump in my super light Outdoor Research Synapse Jacket, but not over heating, and chit chatting the morning away. Slowly we climb, until about 2,000' later we realize progress is being slowed tremendously, and the question of 'How deep is too deep?' is pondered. It shouldn't take you too long to notice the WAIST high trench that I am plowing!

You might start to think, as I am, that maybe it is too deep? However, there is more evidence for you to examine. Here is exhibit B, a short video clip to show the speed and efficiency taking place this morning, in an attempt to ski some powder:

At least there was 3 of us to break trail, so the novelty gets to refresh itself every 5 minutes or so. However, we need to examine the evidence from the other side of the coin...the downhill evidence. So here for you to examine is exhibits C and D. The first shot here is of Tommy skipping work, but to his luck, you can't really tell it's him, so he might just stay out of trouble.

The second shot though, is definitely some good proof, that maybe its not too deep, or even if it is, we can still laugh about it...then again Adam's face might be frozen in the single digit temps after sticking his mug shot in the snowmaking gun for a few turns!

In the end, we all decided that we had experienced enough of the ridiculously deep powder, and would glide down the canyon to resume our other responsibilities. At least we still got to debate the question of if it is ever really too deep...what do you think?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as you stay right side up, there is no "too deep". As soon as you huck or fall, deep might pose a problem. But after skiing on 30+ inches of overnight snowfall at Silverton time after time, and loving the feeling of plowing through snow at CHEST level, you learn that no deep is too deep.

1/30/2008 4:12 PM

Blogger powstash said...

the question is pitch related. Like anonymous said, skiing Silverton with waist deep involves a significant pitch on every run there (I've been twice with 5 days total including one very waist deep day). Porter Fork on the other hand, yikes.

But I think anything over 20" should be used in the roll over plan - you know, like the cell phone deal. If it's already snowed 20" anything deeper could be rolled over to the next day cause let's face it, anything more than 20 and it's kinda like diminishing returns.

I'll let you know tomorrow if this is true

1/30/2008 9:00 PM

Anonymous nevertoodeep said...

This weekend I had a minor crisis when my ski tip dove into the snowpack and I ended up face down, upside down with a mouthfull of snow. Couldn't breath. Couldn't move my leg. It took me a good ten minutes to get out of this predicament. Still, I'm not convinced that the snow was too deep. I'm convinced that my skis were too small!

At the same time, the ability to ski deep snow greatly depends on how light and dry it is..

Check out a video of deep snow on Teton Pass (Jackson WY) from this weekend. We have had 3 feet of new snow in the last few days.

2/04/2008 10:46 AM


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