For those of us who’ve only known fluffy, powdery snow, this early season may bring a different experience, and while our snow-makers and groomers have worked wonders all over Deer Valley Resort, it may be difficult to fully experience these brand new “rocker skis” that some us got from Santa, until heaven dumps its next supply of bottomless powder. For one, I’m far from complaining. I’ve been more than twenty times on my skis this season and on each occasion; my actual experience has exceeded my expectations.
The added benefit of this year’s capricious weather is that the harder ski surface has forced me to pay greater attention to my technique and to the tuning of my equipment. It’s absolutely true that skiing in Utah makes all of us a little bit lazy and complacent. We lean or bank into a turn and that’s generally what it takes. Our minimalist technique often provokes sarcasm from Eastern skiers that sometimes don’t mince their words and will go as far as saying that Utahans can’t ski. Granted, New England skiers are generally speaking better technicians, as most of them have learned to get a good grip on ice and make all of the right moves that a hard snow-pack requires. In the West and particularly in the Rockies where blue ice doesn’t even exist, our compacted powder is often called “ice,” and most of us have little idea about the hard-facts of hard-snow.
Perhaps this particular moment is another great opportunity to make sure our equipment is in tip-top shape, with skis tuned right for these more exacting conditions, boots fit snugly, custom insoles updated and buckles shut tight so there is nothing that can flop around or is left to chance. Nothing that a qualified ski shop technician couldn’t do for us. From a skier’s standpoint, we’re still building up our skiing legs in this early part of the season and are often the product of a those bad habits picked here and there, all these years on our legendary bottomless powder.
Now is the perfect opportunity to spend some time learning, or reviewing, the hard facts about super solid snow. Learning what “keeping an edge” means, getting familiar with what “chattering skis” mean and what can be done about it, learning how to be brief, quick and finally getting the upper hand on that gentler cousin of “ice” that is Utah hard snow. After all, a visit to the Deer Valley Ski School might be an excellent idea to review all these important basic elements…
That’s right, a good refresher course might be all what’s needed, because as we all know, great skiers don’t need to be told, they just have to be reminded, from time to time. I for one, have decided to focus all of my skiing efforts to becoming a real ace on our gentler version of “ice.” But don’t delay; do it now before the next snow fall spoils all these great plans!