Call me crazy, but ever since I learned how to really, truly ski powder (thank you, KAT skiing), I wanted to know how powder skiing stacked up against taking to the corduroy, or really anything that didn’t sink my skis into the snow. Was it harder? Would more energy be expended in one type of terrain over another? Could I bank on a greater calorie burn—and feel less guilty over scarfing down that Epic Burger at lunch—by heading straight to the powder stashes? Yep, these are thoughts that can run through your head, especially when you’re skiing on your own, waiting in the singles line and accidentally singling yourself out from your lift-mates’ conversation.
The interesting thing is that it’s tough to find research on it. (Exercise physiologists, researchers, science nerds, here’s a shout-out for your next big project idea.) There are details on how equipment can affect our bodies, how much energy ski patrollers expend, and how muscles function and fatigue. But not the straight up differences between corduroy and powder, information that I can only assume could be calculated with accelerometers, heart rate monitors and fancy tools affixed to skis.
If corduroy (aka smooth terrain) and powder were to face off, does one offer a tougher workout than the other?
Why Corduroy Could Win
Why Powder Could Win
Which one do you feel gives you the harder workout—or is more deserving of an après beer?