It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Okay, that was maybe a bit misleading. But for the tried and true skiers out there, March and April can be the best months to hit the slopes. You might miss some powder dumps and the light freshies, but the atmosphere around spring skiing will more than make up for it.
If you don’t believe me, check out the Top 6 Reasons to Love Spring Skiing. We’re talking outdoor bars, tanning with your goggles on, bluebird days, and 40 degree weather. But here’s the catch, this amazing weather brings with it heavier snow, wetter conditions, and increases the likelihood that you’re going to get warm and sweaty in your ski gear. So it’s important to know how to dress properly for some fun in the sun during spring skiing.
What to Wear Spring Skiing
The key here is layering. Layering, layering, and more layering. Did we already say you should layer? I know, I know, you got it, but it is important. The only not so fun part of spring skiing is that often when you get out on the hill in the morning, it’s a cool 15 degrees out, but the temps will jump to 45 by mid-afternoon. So what do you do? Dress to stay warm for the freezing morning and feel like you’re dying mid-way into the day, or go light and ski and fast as you can in the morning to keep warm until the temps can keep up with you? My suggestion is neither, and that’s where layering and tips for spring skiing can come in handy.
Let’s get started and work from head to toe on this
For the head itself, although the warm weather may seem like perfect hat or headband conditions, here at Skis.com we always recommend wearing a helmet. If you’re the type who usually wears a hat or headband under your helmet, we recommend forgoing that for spring skiing and just rocking the helmet.
Worried about getting too warm in a helmet? Fret not, because modern helmets now have adjustable vents. They are usually located right on top of the helmet, so switch them closed for your chilly morning runs, then open them back up when you need to release some heat later in the day. And although it may be tempting to leave the goggles at home, throw a pair on your helmet just in case and then throw a pair of sunglasses on your jacket pocket for lounging and apres activities later. Goggles are built with venting systems as well to not fog up and keep your face too warm.
Now let’s focus on your torso, where the true layering will take place
A quick note, you can probably leave your neck warmer at home for spring skiing, but if you need one just to feel complete, check out the thinner options that are easy to take on and off. Okay, back to the upper body. For your next to skin layer, it’s going to be more important than ever to pick something that’s got moisture wicking capabilities. You are more likely to work up a sweat while spring skiing, which will keep you bogged down, uncomfortable, and possibly cold if you don’t move that moisture away from your skin. If you’re the type that gets warm easily, go for a short sleeve option to cover the major areas
(back and under arms), but if not a full sleeve base layer is a great start.
Then let’s look at some midlayers. It may seem like skipping this layer is a good call, but having skied so many spring days, I would recommend throwing one on and just taking it off when you get warm (hence the reason layering is so important). Pick something light weight here to keep it easy, such as a heavier base layer, or a lightweight fleece option. Something that you can stuff into a backpack, or toss in your car or the lodge at lunch when it warms up and won’t be a pain to remove. I would also highly recommend something that zips up here so you can unzip to release some heat if it’s right in-between needing the layer but being just slightly overheated.
As for a jacket, your puffy insulated jacket is probably a mistake
Instead, go for a slightly lighter weight jacket that has lots of venting options, such as pit zips, so you can unzip as need and let off some steam as you ride. If you don’t have a shell jacket (no insulation), then consider skipping the midlayer or grabbing a jacket with a little less insulation and layering up under that. The idea is that the more layers you have, the more options you have to control your body temp by adding or taking off layers.
We also don’t suggest that you skimp out on gloves or mittens either, they not only keep you warm but also protect your hands. Gloves will generally be slightly cooler than mittens because they separate your fingers and produce less combined body heat. But if it’s a super warm day, consider wearing a pair of glove liners or pipe gloves, which will be a little lighter weight and still keep your hands safe.
Now we move on to the pants
It might seem like a good idea to skip any and all layers under your ski pants, but I wouldn’t suggest this. The inside of ski pants have hems and aren’t very soft, so they could cause some chaffing. Plus, as with your jacket, pants with vents are key for spring skiing because they will allow you to open the vents and let some cool air in. If you’re not wearing anything under your pants, bare skin could be exposed to the elements, which is usually not very fun. I would suggest a thin pair of base layer pants that will absorb moisture from your sweat and protect your legs.
Last, but not least, don’t forget about your ski socks. A nice light pair of socks will be plenty warm and protect your feet. Not to mention absorb sweat. Don’t skip this step unless you want terrible blisters!
Spring Skiing Tips
Okay, now that we’ve covered what you need to wear, let’s touch on just a few quick tips. Just some quick things to keep in mind for spring skiing.
- Remember to wear sunscreen, the suns reflected rays off the snow can burn your face even quicker
- Watch for rocks and exposed terrain, melted snow can leave bare patches open
- Drink more water, the heat can make you sweat more and lose water faster
- Use warm-temperature wax for your skis, and make sure you get them tuned
- Keep an eye out for deals, many places are cheaper during spring so be sure to looks for some sweet discounts
Need tips on where to head to plan your spring skiing trip? Check out our blog on the Top 3 Destinations for Spring Skiing in 2018. Now get out there and ski!