Spring Skiing 101 at Snowbird
Spring Skiing 101 at Snowbird
There is nothing better than a powder day where you and your best friends are hooting and hollering your way down the mountain, a wave of blower pow continuously washing over your head. Deep snow days are what drive the powder hounds to the mountain, but as spring rolls around, the energy on the hill shifts to a beach-party atmosphere.
Spring is when everyone (and the snow) loosens up and serves as a reminder to us all to not take the sport so seriously. Tutus, costumes, t-shirts and glitter can be seen all across the mountain. At Snowbird, you can watch skiers, snowboarders, ski bladers and mono-skiers hit The Wave™, a local’s favorite natural jump off of Little Cloud chair. Guests can sit on the patio atop Hidden Peak and absorb the sun's rays with an ice-cold beverage in hand. If you’ve never heard the term “corn snow,” you are in for a treat. Corn snow has the appearance of granular kernels of frozen corn and is created through multiple melt-freeze cycles. This type of snow is splashy, loose, slushy, insanely fun and known to grace Snowbird's spring-time slopes. The Longest Season in Utah ends at Snowbird, with some incredible spring riding and fun in the sun with friends. Here are some tips and tricks to master the art of spring skiing, from face glitter to warm wax.
Knowing the Aspect
Timing is everything in the springtime. Knowing how corn-snow is formed is key to understanding what times and which aspects are best to ski and ride. If it is 9 am and the sun is resting on the tops of the peaks, it is a good assumption that the mountain will still be firm, the corn not quite ready for harvesting. As the sunshine begins to settle on south-facing aspects, the melt portion of the cycle begins and corn skiing is in action. Mineral Basin at Snowbird is the best place to start the morning off, as most of the terrain on the backside is south-facing and gets that early morning sun. As the day progresses, the corn on the backside passes its peak and transforms into what some may call “mashed potatoes,” due to its mushy, sticky nature. When this happens, it's time to head over to Peruvian Gulch, where the corn is ready to be harvested. Peruvian is a spring skiing paradise, choke-full of side hits, cliff bands, chutes, gullies and pristine corduroy.
What to Wear
Loose, light layers are the name of the game in springtime. Forty degrees might sound freezing to some, but forty degrees on a bluebird day at Snowbird, with light refracting off the snow at 11,000 feet, feels like a summer day at the beach - trust us. You will want to pack plenty of sunscreen, wear a t-shirt and layer with something light on top. If you feel confident in your riding, this is the time to break out your favorite tank top and let the wind flow across your arms.
Waxing is Important
Have you ever been cruising down the mountain on a warm, mid-April day until you get to the bottom of a run, only to suddenly have your gear grip onto the snow like Velcro, bringing you to a sudden halt? Me too. Wax is a key component to spring skiing because it dramatically improves glide. When you wax your gear, the porous base soaks up the wax and later works to lubricate the base as you soar down the mountain. There are different types of wax you should use dependent on snow and air temperatures. Warm-rated red or yellow wax is best for days above 25 degrees Fahrenheit, or a typical spring day. If you would rather relax with a beer than tune, you can drop off your equipment to be waxed at either Creekside or Cliff Sports (make sure to check their spring hours), so you are ready to shred the next day.
Don’t Take Life Too Seriously
Finally, the most important aspect of spring skiing is to let loose, have fun and laugh at yourself. The wild outfits, the party trains and the shrieks of joy are the basis of why we all continue to do this sport year after year. Music, dance parties in ski gear and ripping groomers all the way until last chair is the perfect way to send off the ski season. Make those turns slushy turns through May 31 and bid your adieu’s to your ski buddies. We will see you again next year.
About the Author
Born and raised in North Lake Tahoe, Becks is an avid skier, hiker, wake surfer, kayaker and all-around outdoors person. A photographer and writer, she loves to combine her skills to share the art of storytelling through her perspective. Becks is passionate about film photography and its slow, artistic process. She has joined the Marketing team as the Communications Coordinator, where she is able to create compelling and strategic communications material as well as multimedia content at Snowbird.