The Driest Snow on Earth?

James Morland •

That super-low density, smoky-dry ‘champagne’ powder. The pinnacle of powder skiing, right? I'm not so sure.......

More often than not I’d take snow with a bit of density to it. Not to the extent that it turns to elephant snot, but not that zero-density, lighter-than-air stuff either. Just enough to get a bit of bite and some float. Don’t get me wrong, choking on bottomless cold smoke is something pretty special but the key word is bottomless. Anything much less than that and the frustrations of ‘dust on crust’ can ruin overnight expectations in a single turn.

10-15 cm of super-light fluff on a hard frozen base might make for OK to good skiing at best.....if it's a soft base or powder then better still. Throw in a frozen rut, tree bomb or baby mogul and it quickly becomes terrible skiing. On the other hand, take 10-15 cm of overnight snow, add a bit of moisture, break up the crystals with some wind and suddenly mmmm . . . you float effortlessly over that bump without feeling a thing. Confidence rises, the throttle opens and before you know it, it's an epic morning!

So next time you hear a resort boasting of champagne powder, make sure they serve it by the bucket load!


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Heliskiing Iceland, Image copyright Mathis Dumas

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Heli-skiers arrive at yellow helicopter

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Deep powder skiing

The Driest Snow on Earth?

By James Morland •

That super-low density, smoky dry ‘champagne’ powder. The pinnacle of powder skiing right? We're not so sure.......