The Powder Day Traverse
The day is perfect, it snowed last night and the entire population with in a 300 mile radius has come to the resort to ski and ride. The ski patrol has just dropped the rope and its game on! Skiers and snowboarders race down the mountain road and onto the traverse to cut across the bowl to find fresh tracks!
Have you been there? In the front of the line when cutting the traverse when the riders behind you stampede pass because you got tied up in the deep snow. Or have you been in the middle of the pack when the person in front of you stuffs a tip into the uphill side of the traverse and spins off downhill into the powder.
Let’s face it if you want fresh tracks traversing is part of the game, it’s a mix between roller derby and short track speed skating. Here are some tips to help you survive the powder dash.
1) Keep your head up and be watching two or three people ahead to see if there are any potential traffic jams.
2) When you first enter the traverse you’ll be traveling faster than the riders already on the track, use the fresh snow above the track to slow down.
3) Once you’re in the toboggan track remember to keep your shoulders slightly square to the hill
4) Always keep you tips slightly downhill of your tails this will keep you from stuffing a tip into the uphill snow bank
5) To decelerate in the track use the downhill side of the track where the snow has piled up, with your tips slightly lower than your tails push your feet into the pile of snow to slow down
6) If you’re a skier pass snowboarders on the downhill side and just give them a verbal “passing”
7) If you have to stop to rest try and get up hill of the traverse and let others pass this is the safest place to be, out of the way and not in danger of being taken out by a passing person
8) If there is an uphill climb involved don’t look at your feet while climbing especially if there is exposure below. Keep your head up and looking around. Looking at your feet will only make your world smaller and you’ll lose perspective of where you are.
9) For really rutted traverses anticipate the humps and bumps and retract your legs so you don’t get launched
10) When in doubt bail out, most traverse lose vertical and many times there is great skiing to be had and being passed up by the powder frenzy herd, so bang a big turn and drop in
This is just one of the many tips we share with our skiers on our adventures around the world at skiclincs.com
Have fun and ski more powder!