Look, skiing is skiing. We are all aware of that and there is no such thing as a bad day of skiing, or at the very least a bad day to go skiing. That being said, spring skiing is just not the same as winter skiing. Don’t get me wrong, winter skiing is absolute perfection; the powder, the crisp air, not to mention that getting out on the mountain is the best way to spend a day during the winter. But that springtime air though… the temps are higher, the days are longer, the snow is softer, and the world just seems like a better place. What does spring skiing conditions mean?
Spring conditions can actually come at any time, the occasional “spring day” will pop up in winter, but real spring skiing is unmatched. It’s when the snow goes from hard pack and powder to something so much better than that. No spoilers though, keep reading and you will find out what I am talking about. Let’s dive in and examine all the ways spring skiing is better than winter skiing. Also, it’s important to note that as a scientist I felt it was imperative to literally fill this blog with scientific facts that I absolutely did not make up.
Alright here we go, I want to talk to you about something serious. We need to talk about the birds and the bees… No, not those birds and the bees, I want to discuss the birds chirping and the bees making honey. I want to discuss the warm weather and the spring conditions on the mountains. You see, in the spring everything is easier than it is in the winter, that’s a scientifically proven fact (Google it, I dare you).
Days start out hard packed in the morning after that cool crisp evening, but as the sun gets higher in the sky and the temps start to rise that top layer of snow starts to soften up. And then it happens, like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, spring snow emerges from the hard pack, the miracle of life is so beautiful it actually brings a tear to my eye. Well, sort of. In the spring we get to ski in what is called “hero” snow. But what is hero snow?
Great question, I am so happy you asked. You see hero snow is somewhere in between hard pack and powder. It’s this wonderful soft layer of snow on top of the hard pack layer base of snow. It gives you that little extra confidence while on the mountain, you can be more aggressive than normal because falls hurt a little less than they do on the hard pack. Hero snow hides technical mistakes and allows for heroic recoveries from big time mistakes. Plus, if you do get hurt, you have the entire summer to hang out in a cast and then be ready to go for next winter (not that we recommend it).
In the winter you’ll hear people complaining about the snow, you hear terms like boiler plate and tracked out. Well in the spring nobody is complaining about the snow, because the snow is at least 50% of the reason they are looking so good on the hill that day. Go hero snow!
Now that we’re all on board with the snow conditions in the spring, let’s talk about the other conditions, namely the weather. In the winter, we get all bundled up just to stick our heads outside. That’s right, I’m talking about cold weather folks. We need layer on top of layer just to withstand the weather. We need balaclavas, boot heaters, hand warmers, and a hot chocolate break somewhere around 2 pm because I get chilly and need a little warm up to get me through the rest of the day.
In the spring, we don’t need any of that, all we need is some sunscreen and our favorite gaper or retro outfit. The sun is shining, it’s warm, we are looking good, and we may or may not have had a couple nips of our favorite jiggle juice. Here’s just a few things the sun and the warmth do for you: it enhances your mood, it treats seasonal depression, it relieves stress, and it improves sleep. Was that more science? You bet it was! When it’s warm out and the sun is shining literally everything is better.
We have made it through the short days drenched in grey skies, it’s time for some sun. Don’t get me wrong I love the winter, if you don’t embrace the cold air and the shorter days and the grey skies, then how are you supposed to appreciate the warmer temps and longer days and bright sunshine filled sky?
So let’s recap here. The weather is perfect and so is the snow, plus, as stated above, spring skiing has some serious health benefits. The evidence is hard to argue with, the spring is just so great. The snow makes you feel and look like a better skier than you actually are. As the old saying goes, “look good, feel good, play good”. The weather is so perfect in the spring that you can spend the entire day on mountain and still be begging for more time outside. Not to mention the epic goggle tans you get in the spring.
Spring contributes to what we all want as skiers, it is another step in the process of having an endless winter. It is the perfect way to break out of that winter slump and get yourself prepared for the warm and sunny off season, and even check out our blog on Summer Travel Ideas for Ski Bums. Don’t miss out, spring, in my opinion, is the best part of the ski season. So as a certified ski doctor I am writing you a prescription to go and get some Vitamin D and to get it while out on the mountain.