For many locations across the globe spring means melting snows, daffodils in bloom, and the promise of summer. Yet, winter sports enthusiasts don’t need to stash their skis in the attic just yet – there are still plenty of sweet spots where the powder is fresh, the skies are blue, and you get to freestyle down the mountain in a T-shirt.
Swap those steaming hot chocolates for cold beers, trade your heavy wools for thin layers, and be prepared to chase the sun – this is how to handle spring skiing…
Spring skiing can be some of the most enjoyable skiing of the entire season. If you follow our advice, you’re sure to have a great time on the mountain. Make sure that you arrive relaxed and don’t miss any time on the slopes by shipping skis and luggage directly to the resort! Luggage Forward handles all of the details and guarantees that your bags will be delivered on time anywhere in the world.
Stay in Bed
While winter may have you raring to go at the crack of dawn, spring skiing is a different kettle of fish. Early morning snow can be icy as warm days and cold nights tends to run a pattern of thawing and freezing. By waiting until late morning (after 10am) and sticking to sunny runs you can be sure that the snow is softer and easier to manage.
Get Warm Wax
The last thing you want is your skis sticking to the snow and leaving you plodding down the mountain. A warmer temperature wax will ensure that you can pick up speed and handle all those turns with ease. Tuning your skis before shipping them off with Luggage Forward will keep you slicing through the snow in spring weather.
Just because there is snow on the ground doesn’t mean you need to bundle up. Layers are your best friend in the spring ski season. In the morning you may need your ski jacket but come the afternoon you could be down to your vest. Also, make sure to bring plenty of water onto the slopes because the altitude, dry air, and sun glare off white snow can leave you hot, bothered and dehydrated.
SPF to Ski
Sunburn isn’t strictly for balmy beach vacations. In the spring months the UV levels rise by 10-12% with every 3000 ft in altitude. Combined with strong sunlight reflecting off the snow and you have a recipe for burning skin. Slather on SPF sunscreen prior to hitting the slopes and don some protective sun friendly shades to avoid that dreaded google tan.
Go Above the Tree Line
High elevation is your best bet for brilliant spring skiing. Slopes lower down are more susceptible to rising temperatures and tend to turn slushy and soft faster. North facing runs above the tree line will still throw out plenty of fun.
In Lake Tahoe you can swish down the slopes at Squaw Valley well into late spring and Colorado also boasts Vail until the end of April.
Across the pond and Tignes and Val d’Isere in France both have the benefits of high altitude, with Tignes offering glacier skiing and Val d’Isere being north facing. Zermatt in Switzerland is also home to Europe’s highest ski lifts.
Keep Stacked and Centered
Spring skiing can be turbulent with patches of ice, pure silk and those freeze-thaw cycles. The best way to adapt your style to suit the shifting conditions is to keep a stacked and centered body position. Keep your shoulders angled over your hips, your hips over your feet, and keep your elbows in front of your body with hands up. This position will ensure your upper body is stable while giving you time and space to shift and be adaptable.
Late starts shouldn’t mean late finishes when it comes to spring skiing. The afternoon sun can quickly turn powdered slopes into piles of slush leaving more danger for exposed rocks and branches. The last thing you want is to be far from your chalet with terrible conditions for getting home. Plan to finish a little earlier than you normally would and make the most of apres ski beers in the dwindling sun.