Park prowess is often associated with skill. In fact, I'm guilty of this type of thinking as well. It's partly justified - park riding is, imo, the most challenging aspect of snowboarding - especially at resorts (and even more so on EC resorts, where I live).
I remember being 13 and spending most of my time in the park. I think it's just a different skill. Frankly you can't be great in the park without being great on the groomers anyway.
That's why I like "Big Mountain" or FreeRide I guess. I consider dropping a cliff into powder about as challenging as laying some really hard carves on a groomer and about as challenging as some big air in the park. The great thing about trying to master is all is no matter what hill you're at, or what the weather's like you can find something to work on.
There are many very good east coast riders who come out here on a deep powder day and cannot make it down the mountain.
Another one here.
This year, I rode my little local ice rink for a few on Wednesday after work. Flew Thursday, did my first run at Kicking Horse Friday morning in mid-thigh powder. And tomahawked my way down the first pitch, trying to remember how to ride in powder. Rest of the day and the week were phenomenal, but that first run...ooooo. Flew home the next Thursday, went out Friday after 24 hours of freezing rain. And spent my first run on my butt, my face, my knees, trying to remember how to ride on ice.
Kind of a funny "flipside" to this argument. Powder riding is super fun but it, like anything else has a substantial learning curve. This is especially true for west coast maritime wet, heavy "Cascade cement". Many people from both the east coast and even locals who have not gotten the powder experience really flail and struggle with it. There are many very good east coast riders who come out here on a deep powder day and cannot make it down the mountain. I have a good friend who was a fellow instructor at Mt. Hood Meadows from the east coast who literally would stay home on a powder day because he hated powder......
The guy was a killer rider in the park but just could not ride powder and didnt want to go through the learning curve to get good at it.
We have the worse equivalent of that. On slushy days when all the man-made snow turns into bigger clumps. They feel heavy, sticky, and the board feels sluggish.
There was a time when I hated it when we have more than 2" snowfall. The 'Powder' stuff feels funny and I'd either catch an edge or stop. Then I realize it's cause I'm too used to riding hardpacked/groomers. It's definitely a different mode of riding.
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A true intermediate rider is comfortable riding blue terrain and off piste blue terrain and is beginning to explore blacks. They are riding more dynamically in their skidded turns and are starting to actually carve. They have the ability to ride some basic switch. If they are park oriented, they will be able to 50/50 boxes without any problems and are probably exploring boardslides. Can ride the pipe through the transition and are able to straight air off small kickers.
Well this pretty much describes me to a T, other than riding the pipe. Since it's only my 2nd season I seem to still call myself a beginner though.
Regarding the powder riding, I certainly got my ass kicked trying to ride powder for the 1st time ever last season at Laax in Switzerland. That place is incredible for off piste acreage, but man I ate a lot of snow that day. Looking forward to getting another shot at it when I go to Mammoth & Big Sky later this year (if they ever get any snow )
no, totally wrong. thinking because a rider out west rides "good conditions" that they cant go ride some icy "blacks" out east is flawed logic. Sure the beginners probably were falling alot because ice is harder to ride and they dont know what they are doing, but take any normal rider and going down some east coast "black" ice runs and the only thing they will have a problem with is boredom.
Agreed. When I was a kid there was an old axiom that if you can ski here (New England) you can ski anywhere. Now that I've traveled some I see that as a crock of crap. All things considered, the terrain out west is considerably steeper and more challenging. Yes, the "Front Four" at Stowe are challenging, but nothing compared to some of the stuff I've seen in Utah and Wyoming. And just because you can ride icy groomers at Loon doesn't mean you can drop into a 45 degree chute at Snowbird.