Who else has a hard time switching from ski season to [insert your spring/summer activity here]? Even though I’m hoping for a few more snow storms, the sunshine and warmth does feel good on the skin.
Just because your local resort isn’t recording reportable snowfalls on a regular basis, you know that it is time to ditch a layer, or two or three, and embrace the end of the season parties. Below are a few reasons to love spring skiing.
Before the temps really warm up for summer, you can count on some of the runs that need snow to be filled in and the snow to be consolidated at this time of year. Even though that does mean you have to watch and time the weather for those perfect corn conditions, or the type of snow that freezes but melts as large granules of snow giving the right amount of coverage over the below harder snow.
Have you been eyeing up that couloir but the entrance has been scraped or rocky? It’s your last chance to go big…errr go home (or try next year).
With less white fluffy stuff falling out of the sky and melt-thaw cycles happening throughout the days and nights, it is the perfect time to hit groomers in the mornings and off-piste once the snow softens up in the afternoon. Not only are the conditions fast, but the snow is consolidated with less risk of avalanches (less doesn’t mean avalanches don’t still happen).
Short lift lines
The time of year when most of the ski schools have finished and the families move onto spring activities, like basketball, baseball, hiking or camping. Most people are sick of snow at this point as well and are staying at lower elevations.
Snow-gaters (or parking lot tailgating)
An annual tradition started by a good friend of mine. Invite everyone you ski with throughout the season and tell them to bring food. Coordinate a parking spot close and get there early. Grill breakfast as the snow starts to soften. Ski a few laps and head back to the car and fire up the grill for some ski-tailgating. After, some showsy friends might get sendy, announce “watch this” and then yard sale after attempting a big jump with a little buzz.
Costumes, parties, and stoke
Ok, yes those who live intercontinental may already have blue-bird days, but here, in the PNW we celebrate the spring skiing and visibility. You find all kind of outfits on the mountain that are hard to miss, from hoodies and jerseys to unicorns and tutus. Don’t forget the annual pond skims where people show up to see if they can gain enough speed to ski or snowboard across a pond of water. DJs and outside patios are welcoming with the sun and warm weather.
Go Around the World
Ok, an extra bonus. With shorter lift lines and fast conditions, create a challenge to ride all the lifts at the resort. Depending on the size of the resort, do the challenge twice. Sit down with your friends, a trail map, and try to see if it is possible. Pro tip: some lifts may close earlier in the day so keeping an eye on lift hours will help you tour the whole mountain.
Longer Days: Time for multi-sports
I’m normally lazy this time of year, but I do know others that are up for the challenge. Maximize the daylight hours and consider adding a bike ride to the ski day or a rock climb or a swim at a lake to the mix. The more activities you add, the better!