How to Manage a Low Snow Year

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 16, 2012 4:46 am

It’s been low tide for a long time in northern Chile.  My friends have started to send condolences.  “Two dry seasons in a row.  Bummer.”  “It must be tough to be down there when the skiing’s not good.”  For the record, even when it’s “tough” down here, it’s not as if a prison sentence has been extended.  Honestly, I can handle a crappy ski season.  They happen; and can be manageable.

The easiest way to manage a low snow year is to travel.  It’s good somewhere.   Last season the continental U.S. was bone dry; but Alaska and Japan were insanely deep, and Europe had a pretty good year too.  Down here, the north is dismal but the south is doing pretty well.  I head further south on Sunday, so I’m psyched.  Travel is not always possible though.  Sometimes you have to stay put and ride what you’ve got.

There’s always something worth doing out there.

When dealing with long periods of dry weather, the key is take each day as a new adventure.  It is too easy to get caught in the inertia of consecutive days of seemingly unchanged conditions.  The problem with this is that when conditions do change, it’s easy to miss it because it’s somewhat unexpected.  If you want to be present on the good days, you’ve got to stay psyched on the down days.  To do this, create some adventure for every day.  Even the smallest objective can keep things fresh: maybe it’s an obscure line, or a super long tour in warm weather.  Just keep going out with fresh ideas, so when you get home you’re more pleased than worn down.

Last week I was lucky enough to be present for what will likely be the only powder skiing I’ll have this season.  It wasn’t huge, but I am glad I didn’t miss it.  A storm brought about two-feet of snow to help fill in some cracks and cover some rough surfaces.  Then we got small refreshes every few days.  We still had to be light on our feet, but it sure was nice to ski quiet snow. A lot of people were caught out because they have spent the whole season disappointed and didn’t expect much.  This is a shame.  Don’t fall asleep at the wheel!

We got a little paint job! It wasn’t much, but we were glad to not miss it.

I’m personally glad I got a little powder fix in.  It may be the only one of the season.  I’m out of the mountains for the moment, putting together the final touches for the next trip into the cordillera.  We’re headed to a place no one has every skied before, and I am nervous and psyched at the same time.  Again, this is no time to be bummed out and miss an opportunity.  It could be great.