The Search For Powder: Should You Go To New Resorts Or Return To The Same Place?
When it comes to choosing a resort for your snowboarding trip, there are many, many factors in play.
But what if you’ve found a place you like? How does the choice of new resort vs. old sit with the powder-hungry snowboarder?
You see, when it comes to parks, pistes, accommodation, night life and the like, getting the scoop on a place you haven’t been to yet is relatively easy. There’ll be videos of the park on Youtube, you can ask people in a forum, read a travel guide book, and check the official resort website…
But the search for powder? That’s a different matter. The answers there are guarded a little more closely.
- Are you a snowboarder that loves to ride fresh powder?
- Is bagging a good powder day high on your holiday check-list?
- Do you understand the risks – are you safe when riding off-piste?
- Are you like the majority of snowboarders out there who don’t get to spend all winter snowboarding?
If you fit the above profile, it’s worth considering if you’re better off returning to the same resort, rather than trying somewhere new?
Learning the landscape can take a long time – longer than the 2-week-per-year-shredder has available. But if you return to the same place, you give yourself the opportunity to do just that – to learn the mountains.
First up, you start to build an idea of the good spots close to the piste. Where’s good to go if it dumps? In the least, you need a head-start here. Then there are the more concealed areas; they’re still close by, but less obvious, less travelled. Ask around, observe people who look like they know what they’re doing, explore, un-strap and check what’s behind those trees…
I’ve seen both sides of this coin first-hand. Mornings in Fernie when we scored amazing lines thanks to Simon’s knowledge. And I distinctly remember wasting a 30cm+ day in Morzine while I fumbled with a piste map deciding where to try next. Even just a little local knowledge can reap big rewards.
Beyond that, guides and instructors can be really useful for leading you into the backcountry; sometimes they’re you’re only choice.
It’s no guarantee, but if you return to the same area, you will increase your knowledge of the off-piste and backcountry. Move that little bit closer to the insight of a seasonnaire, or local. Make friends, make an effort, use the same guides if they’re good, glean what you can. Improve your chances in the search for powder.
Most importantly – be safe! Don’t kid yourself when you’re snowboarding off-piste.