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Old 12-08-2010, 01:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Digging out of powder.

What's the best way to dig out of powder when you get stuck in it? Let's say waist deep or chest deep?

I remember going to Utah a few years back and seeing riders with backpacks and I could see the shovels strapped to the side. I was like, well I'm not going back country I guess all these people are. I was going down a diamond and trying to stick with the pow stash instead of riding the trakced runs so I kept to the right of the ridden trails. Low and behold towards the end of the run I just kept getting deeper and deeper and got stuck passed my waist. My friend with skis was able to come on over and help get me out a bit but it took like 30 mins just to get maybe 20 feet to some packed snow.

Was there a way to avoid that? I mean I didn't really know the mountain, I didn't think I was gonna stick just being a few yards away from the tracked runs. The worst part if I went another 10 years to the right it was heading to a valley with no tracks and I'm sure no way out..lol
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Unstrap and start swimming.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Surface area is the trick. Once you get stuck knee deep or deeper don't bother trying to jump around, etc. Try to keep standing and dig out around your bindings. Unstrap but keep your feet on top of the board if possible as stepping off will most likely cause you to sink. Once both feet are out roll or lay off to the side of your board. pull up your board and place on top of the snow away from your body pit. Next crawl on top of the board after pushing your highbacks down. The you should be able to breaststroke to get out.
Tips - don't make really fast movements. nice and controlled. Being stuck in powder can get hot and sweaty so be mindful of over doing it and placing your self at a high risk of hypothermia. Try not to "just" bulldoze a path because logs and and other terrain "traps" can make a mildly discomforting digout a life threatening dig out.

P.S. in your case if the tracks start all melding into one and you don't know what is coming up I suggest getting on them and hauling ass cause there is a reason all those other riders are melding on to one track.
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Beside for the above advice. Just take your time. If you got stuck in deep powder in the flats, it could take quite a bit of effort depending on how far you are from the groomers or steeper slopes. The only thing being in a hurry is going to do is exhaust you. So slow down and pick away at it. You'll get there eventually.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I LOVE glade runs, I HATE tree wells or watever you wanna call em.

First time getting stuck in one of those, boy was I lost. Took me like 10 mins to get out.

I also got stuck on a flat powder spot. Realized I shouldnt be there when I had to jump a creek to get there. By then I was done for, 20 minutes to get out plus crossing a little creek was balls. I then realized when riding new terrain you should try to stick near someone elses tracks.

The joys of riding new terrain or new places.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Wow great advice everyone. I'll be sure to remember to watch if all tracks meld into one. That one happened to me as well, thank goodness it wasn't too deep. lol I always wont venture too far off untracked trails next time I get a storm. It was snowing 8-10 inches per day the 5 days we were there. It was crazy.

I guess there's no 'magic' way of swimming out. That's what I had to do, dig around me and pull my board out to use it as leverage. Once I got close enough, my friend was able to pull me a bit while i layed on my board. I guess it's a mental thing too, if I landed in that ravine I would probably freak out a little bit getting out by myself and wondering how long to climb back up waist deep snow solo.

Being stocky at 5'8 and weighing around 215-230 doesnt help either I bet.

Last edited by Magnum626; 12-08-2010 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Scary....I'd have second thoughts going off trail now. Do avalanche training courses teach about choosing lines or being prepared for events like that? Like is there a do's and dont's of riding down? Or is that more of learning from an experienced BC rider?
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This seems like a great topic for a quality safety/instructional video. Would love a good visual on the techniques people are recommending before I travel out west and land waist-deep in anything. (Ice-coaster here...get giggly anytime powder is even ankle deep!) Any recommendations?
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justdust View Post
This seems like a great topic for a quality safety/instructional video. Would love a good visual on the techniques people are recommending before I travel out west and land waist-deep in anything. (Ice-coaster here...get giggly anytime powder is even ankle deep!) Any recommendations?
Ha! If only we could find someone to volunteer to swim out of deep pow. It's pretty tiring!
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