Spring conditions rock.
Like seriously. Maybe it hasn’t snowed in a couple weeks. No big deal. Maybe you’re a little tired because someone blew it on the AirBnB logistics and instead of sleeping slope-side you spent the night in your car parking lot-side. Whatever. Either way, you’re stoked because you’re getting ready to ski, but before you do here’s a few pro tips.
1. Don’t Rush It
In the spring, daytime temperatures can exceed 40°F warmer and the sunshine is abundant, which works quickly to melt a little snow during the day. At night, however, temps plummet and that soft partially-melted layer of snow turns to ice. Unless you’ve got a screw loose or love skiing fast and out of control, skiing on ice is no bueno. So how do you get around it?
It’s simple. Just wait a few hours. No need to get the first chair in the spring and if you’re on vacation from sea level, there’s no conceivable chance you’ll make it a full day anyway. Wait until about 11am and then give it a go–this will also give you a chance to prep for the day with a couple plates of breakfast and three cups of coffee. You will be invincible.
2. Follow the Sun
Throughout the day pay attention to where the sun has been hitting the mountain the most. If you’re directionally inclined, the mountain’s south-facing slopes here are going to be your best friend as they will be getting the most solar blasting throughout the day. By noon you should be enjoying buttery spring snow conditions. If, however, you forget where the sun is you can look up or ask a ski patroller what’s skiing well that day. They know everything.
3. Spring Conditions Rock
Unless your skiing days align with one of Colorado’s big Spring dumps, forget the bat-out-of-hell first chair mentality. There’s nothing that you need to get to first and it would behoove you, as mentioned above, to wait a bit for the snow to soften up. When the snow is soft you can cruise down the mountain with tremendous control over your turns, allowing for ample time to watch your buddies (who aren’t so good at this skiing thing) tumble down the slope. Maybe buy them a beer later.
The moral of the story here is patience. Spring conditions are some of the most fun skiing conditions out there and often mean sitting on a lawn chair drinking a beer somewhere mid-mountain. Kick back and relax, that is until it dumps–then get your ass in gear!
Happy skiing & riding folks!