Spring Skiing 101
Even with season passes and enough days under our belts to make most people insane with jealousy, we at ActiveJunky still get a little squirrely when the weather starts to warm. We see the end of the snowy season looming like a sunny demon, primed to sneak up and steal our cold-weather fun. But late-season ski sessions don’t have to be just a sad slush-fest. Spring is a great time to be on the hill — the days are longer, the prices are better and the crowds are starting to thin. So we’ve come up with our ten best tips and tricks to make the end of your season just as awe-inspiring as the beginning.
Do: Scope Out The Best Deals
Resorts bust out the best deals late in the season to try and keep the slopes packed. Some of the best season pass prices don’t come out until March, meaning at least two months of riding in the sun for almost half the price of the full season pass.
Do: Go Pond Skimming
For some, pond skimming is THE reason for the season. Almost every resort has a day devoted to this lovechild of snow and water skiing and it usually includes prizes, costume and a slew of other raucous activity. Folks get into it and, even if you’re not up to get wet yourself, these events can be a real hoot for people watching.
Do: Invest In One Last Big Hurrah
A big group trip to cap off the winter is what legends are made of and, these days, the options couldn’t be more diverse. Plan a backcountry tour around your favorite town and crash in a hostel or cheap hotels. Yurt hop for a weekend or just rent a cabin and cram as many or your ski-bumming friends in as possible. Friends and snow- there really is no bad option.
Don’t: Forget a Tune Up
A springtime tune up could make or break your late season adventures. A good edge tune is crucial for that firm, early morning snow and a softer, warm weather wax will keep the wet stuff from sticking come late afternoon.
Do: Remember- The Less Clothing, The Better.
A few bikini runs never hurt anyone, if you don’t count sun burn or snow rash. Plus, nothing will get your head out of the clouds after a serious shred session, or get you stoked for a hot tub, quicker than few pow shots to a bare torso.
Don’t: Get Reckless
Months of weekend outings can definitely boost confidence and give you the courage to tackle lines you wouldn’t have dreamed of in early December. That’s progress. But conditions change rapidly when the weather warms and some areas can be more treacherous than they were in the dead of winter. Remember to keep your wits about you, keep an eye on conditions and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Don’t: Stay Dehydrated.
A blazing sun, high altitude, dry air and not to mention all that rushing adrenaline. It’s amazing how many things can contribute to dehydration on the slopes. Sport a hydration pack to stay ahead of the curve.
Don’t: Underestimate The Corn
Snow is never more versatile than in the spring. Corn is so-named because of its large, rounded-off snow crystal structure, the result of an ongoing melt-freeze cycle. Warm days melt the snowpack, allowing smaller crystals to merge together, forming larger structures that will then melt and refreeze into anything from a crusty top layer to slushy, sand-like granules to firm pack. You can get some great carving out of corn so watch conditions to know what’s happening when. And always be prepared for a late-day slush show.
Do: Wear Sunscreen
We all know this but sometimes we still need a reminder. That snow-white tan you’ve been sporting all winter is even more vulnerable in the spring since the sun is exponentially stronger. And, since often the first thing to go in warmer weather is headcoverings, things like the tops of your ears and the top of your forehead will be taking on a whole lot more rays than they may be used to. Slather it on.
Do: Dress in Layers
It’s tempting, when the sun is shining and you’re feeling good, to skip all those meticulously planned shells and bases and hit the slopes sporting just your high school track sweatshirt. And, while we do approve of a few flashes of skin (see above), we also don’t condone being unprepared. While you can ditch some of the heavier stuff, early morning and later afternoon are still going to be chilly if you’re drenched in sweat from the noonday sun. Dress smart with wicking baselayers and waterproof shells that can be added and subtracted as you go.