How to beat the crowds on a powder day

Big mountain ripper Tatum Monod on how to stay ahead of the pack, and secure maximum freshies, even in the world’s busiest, most tracked resorts

 Tatum ready to attack the pow... |Erik Seo/Red Bull Content Pool
Tatum ready to attack the pow… |Erik Seo/Red Bull Content Pool

1. Pre-pack

And I mean everything, the night before! My skis are in the truck (hopefully waxed, but more of that later) boots on the drier, my backpack is ready, avi gear and batteries tested… I know which jacket and pants I’m wearing, where I’m going, what the forecast is, I’ve double-checked my pass is in the usual pocket, even my socks and thermals are laid out by the bed. Nothing is left to chance; no decisions to make. I’m even hard-boiling eggs ready for the next day so I can be bed to door in under five minutes.

2. Never too early

So obvious, just like having your gear prepped the evening before. But how far do you take it? There’s always a step further. On a pow day, I’m often up at 6am, at the very latest out of the door by 6.30am and if I’m using a lift, in line ages before it opens. I ski a lot in Whistler and with so many pros and really good locals wanting the same chutes and cliffs you have to be early. Very early! The place can be done within two laps. That’s under an hour!

3. Me Time

My favourite people to ski with on pow days are Stan Rey if I’m in Whistler (as he’s a total wild man!) or Wiley Miller, my boyfriend, if I’m in Alta, where I also spend a lot of time. But some days I just can’t wait and don’t want anyone holding me back. It’s great to be selfish. No pressure, no commitment, just go where you want, do a hot lap… use the singles line and beat the queues. Often you meet people, but if you want to ditch them you do: it’s great!

Want to find lines like this? Follow Tatum's advice|Blake Jorgenson / Rossignol
Want to find lines like this? Follow Tatum’s advice|Blake Jorgenson / Rossignol

4. Blood sugar

I’m not ready for much food if it’s early. I like just to grab a little granola with some yoghurt. Then I eat my hard-boiled eggs on the mountain. Strange, I know – no laughing – but they are vital! And if I don’t have them I crash within a couple of hours. I’m not carrying dozens in my pack, just a few, with snacks, water and Red Bull. You have to stay out and grab all the lines you can. You can always head for the lodge when it’s all chop.

5. All about the base

I’m not good on waxing skis, because when I was a racer we had to do it every day. Argh! But if I know a powder day’s coming, I’ll make an exception. It’s vital, especially if you’re somewhere busy, for speeding through the flats. Kuusport red is my default, although if it’s all-time conditions, I’m geekily checking the weather and varying my choice based on temperature. Don’t let your skins (I use BCA with twin-tip tail adjusts) slow you down either. Keep them in your jacket free from snow/ice so they stick right.

Tatum Monod is sponsored by Red Bull, Rossignol, Smith Optics and The North Face.