>   We've all got years of time looking down from chairlifts
> at people sideslipping down lift line trails.  I think that
> a boarder with their single edge are scraping off more snow than
> most sideslipping skiers.

I've got really mixed feelings about this too. As far as what they do to
groomed trails, I don't really care.. cause I really don't ski them that
much, and once there is any natural snow in the woods or on closed
trails, that's where I am.

In the trees, I've noticed some new phenomenon as boarders become more
regular visitors. Early season, when cover is questionable in tight and
steep woods (i.e. the Bypass Chutes and the Pipelines at Stowe) a few
inept snowboarders are all it takes to sideslide the cover down to
nothing. This doesn't happen so often at places like Mad River because,
in powder anyway, it is easier to side*step* on skis than to
side*slide*. That's key cause those who bail on skis are actually
helping things a bit by packing the snow into a more durable surface
rather than pushing it off into the puckerbrush. I can guarantee you
that Paradise Lost will be skiable (or at least enjoyable) at least a
month before Pipeline. Both are steep narrow chutes, one sees a lot of
boarder traffic, the other sees almost exclusively skier traffic.

If all the boarders in the woods were capable, this wouldn't be a
problem, they could use jump turns where it gets too straight and narrow
to just schuss it. But the reality is that if things get hairy, a
snowboarder can usually get by it by sideslipping, whereas a similarly
skilled skier would be stuck. That difference is what draws a lot of new
snowboarders into terrain that isn't so suited for them -- they always
have an easy way out.

On the flip side of all this is the fact that skiers in the woods form
bumps. I personally would rather not ski bumps in the trees. I like to
go fast and smooth and bumps change that whole experience. The cool
thing about snowboards is that once the snow is is mid to late season
deep, they smooth all that out. This past spring I had a blast skiing
what I called "boarder luge" in the trees where sideslipping boarders
had made a smooth path down through tight trees. I could just point and
shoot and accumulate fantastic speed. It was a blast, as anyone who
skied in the Sick Puppy contingent at last year's partee can attest. If
all those woods were bumped up, we could not have skied like that.

So what's to do? I know what I'm gonna do, ski Mad River early to mid
season, and ski Stowe mid to late! The best of both worlds...


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