MAKE FRESH TRACKS
Powder Waits For No One!
These are a few key concepts that are sure to help you score fresh tracks the next time Uller unleashes his furry, no matter if the mountain is just around the corner or a few states away. Will you answer the pow god’s call? If you crave fresh deep powder turns like I do, you will!
Be sure to have a job that encourages snow days, or at the very least allows you the flexibility to get work done outside the traditional 9-5. The snow gods don’t work on a weekend only schedule. As Yvon Chouinard famously said; “Let my people go surfing.”
Capable Four-Wheeled Friend
Your choice in four-wheeled transport can mean the difference between getting out of the driveway and up the mountain, to staring out your bedroom window watching the snow accumulate. Pick an adventuremobile that can get you there and back again, no matter the conditions. Bonus points for room to sleep, and double bonus points if it has heated sleeping accommodations. Sometimes there just aren’t available accommodations, or the budget to afford them.
You’re not going to want to miss that first chair, that you got up so early to snag, so be sure to take care of your daily constitutional at home, or give yourself plenty of time at the resort. It’s important to get to “comp weight” for optimal performance.
If you’re visiting a mountain you’re not familiar with, you are going to want to know before hand which trails/areas offer the best terrain for your style and the conditions of the day. I’ve found that the best resource to find those secret stashes is the people at the customer service desk at the resort. I always go there to buy my ticket and chat them up. They probably know what was closed and what was open the day before, and can point you in the direction of the fresh stuff. They are also there to make you happy, not hide the pow stashes like the locals might want to do.
The Early Bird Gets The Worm
If the storm dumped overnight, the first few runs of the day are going to be the best, especially at a busy resort. Yes getting up early sucks, and yes it’s hard to prepare your body to be at its best so early in the morning, but first chair/tram/gondola is worth it! Go for the obvious fresh turns first, before they are tracked out, and then go explore those hidden stashes.
Stocking up on all the things that will keep you on the mountain making turns is key to maximizing pow turn volume. Carry hand warmers and snacks on you, and have a prepared lunch, water and possibly a few adult beverages ready to go at the car. There is nothing worse than spending crazy money on resort food, while waiting in long lines and staring out the window at the snow falling, knowing others are tracking out all those fresh lines that you dream about. Stocking the hotel fridge with some meals and frosty beverages will also save you a ton of money, and optimize your rest and recovery after a day of powder hunting.
The right gear in the right shape will make all the difference. No you don’t need the latest greatest monster fat skis and newest color ski jacket, but you do need gear that fits you well, keeps you warm and is setup/tuned correctly for the conditions. If it’s super deep cold dry snow, a narrow carving ski with spring wax on it isn’t going to optimize your experience!
Fresh turns take lots of strength and flexibility to enjoy fully, which means you should be in shape and prepared when the snow gods answer your prayers. It’s also key to take care of your body after a big day in the mountains, as you’re probably going to want to do it all over again soon. Hot tubs are awesome, foam rollers are lifesavers and stretching WILL help.
(A HUGE shout out to Ninkasi Brewing for helping make my powder ski dreams a reality this winter. Be sure to #PerpetuateBetterLiving…Cheers!)