Off Piste Skiing

PMTS Forum

Re: Off Piste Skiing

Postby HeluvaSkier » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:47 am

HighAngles wrote:I think I know the reaction here among fellow PMTS advocates, but I'm interested in hearing perspectives on off-piste skiing. What are you guys looking for when choosing ungroomed terrain on a mountain?


When 'skiing' downhill becomes 'mountaineering' or 'bushwhacking', I, personally, start to lose interest (no issues with those things when going up / earning turns). Can I ski that kind of terrain? Sure. Do I get a sense of satisfaction out of it? Not really. Do some people get satisfaction out of it? Yeah.

I'm also not one to use terrain to define ability, and certainly not to define technical capability. Those who do use terrain to define ability/capability are often skiers who haven't developed much beyond the technical-level of an intermediate, even if their tactics and athleticism allow them to survive on the terrain on which they choose to base their expert claim.

As you know HighAngles, I tend to seek snow quality above all else... If the good snow is on a green groomer... I go there. If the good snow is on double black chutes or in the trees... I go there. In other words, I don't go seeking a specific type of terrain. I rarely consider trail markings or ratings. You may recall skiing the same trail for three hours in a row one day last spring when I was visiting—because that was where the best snow on the mountain was… A few days earlier, skiing that same trail was the last thing on our minds as it was a powder day.

If it hasn’t snowed in days, but the groomers are great, why would I go knock over trees with my face to find what little remnants of powder might be remaining so I could enjoy 4 turns? Same for when it snows—why would I go trying to find a mushy groomed run when there is fresh snow, either powder or crud, on every trail. In the spring… why chase either of those things when there are perfectly good slush bumps or corn snow to be skied? I guess I just don’t have the ego that says “to prove that I’m a real expert today I must ski particular terrain.” When watching ‘real’ experts ski, we tend to be acutely aware of it, regardless of the terrain we are observing them on. If a skiers needs to use terrain to justify why they are an expert, they probably aren’t an expert.
Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.

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Re: Off Piste Skiing

Postby Doghouse » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:04 pm

Good post, Heluva!
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Re: Off Piste Skiing

Postby Max_501 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:24 am

HighAngles wrote:What are you guys looking for when choosing ungroomed terrain on a mountain?


My main reasons for skiing off piste is the challenge/fun and getting away from the masses that crowd the groomers.

Pow day -

1 - slopes that have enough pitch to ski at terminal velocity for the snow density
2 - slopes that have fresh tracks and challenging/fun terrain
3 - slopes with cut up pow that still have pillows of fresh pow for turns

Old snow or crud day -

1 - looking for the least crowded runs that are challenging/fun (usually bumps)

For me snow quality plays a lower role because challenge/fun is a higher priority.
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Re: Off Piste Skiing

Postby ErikCO » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:26 am

I'd say I'm a bit of a middle road between Helluva and Max. The main reasons that I will ski off piste are snow quality and to get away from crowds. You aren't going to find me heading down a super icy bump run just for the challenge, but you may find me skiing some mildly tracked out trees or crud to get away from busy groomers. I don't mind doing things that are a challenge, but I want to actually ski terrain, not just side-slip and jump-turn down some super steep narrow chute.

As to Harald's reviews on skis, that is disappointing. Why do the ski companies insist on changing all their skis up every few years? They should keep a few models that are essentially unchanged for a good number of years and only "update" them very carefully.
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Re: Off Piste Skiing

Postby jbotti » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:39 am

I moved the gear commentary and posts over to the Gear Thread under Head 2021.
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