Spring Skiing: A Fun Time For Colorado Residents
My brother visited in Denver from Texas on July 4, 1975, if I remember the year correctly. Weather turned cold and he still swears it snowed. I loaned him and his wife coats to wear for a neighborhood fireworks show. I even have old pictures to prove it.
Although snow in July remains rare, spring in Colorado changes minute by minute. Saturday reached mid 80s in Denver. Sunday predictions of rain, snow, and more than thirty degrees lower temperatures proved correct. We locals know we can experience all four seasons in one day and spring snowstorms break budding limbs and destroy new bulbs/flowers just poking through the soil.
Yet, some hope the mountains continue to collect, not inches, but feet of snow. Snowboarders and skiers look forward to ski areas remaining open long into spring. To discover ski resort closing dates, check www.coloradoski.com/page/resort-season-dates. You will find that although many areas close around April 24th, and a few April 10, Loveland Ski Resort says they will remain open until May 8th. Kathy Sabine of 9News predicts more storms are on the way.
Spring and winter skiing differ. Both have their pluses and problems. Here are a few I gathered from the Internet and ski/snowboard fans.
Spring’s warmer weather allows fewer clothes. My son claims you might even see some bikinis on the slopes. Best of all, kids complain less of being cold.
One big advantage of Spring skiing is fewer people. The snowbirds return home and leave the slopes to the locals. Resorts offer deals to entice the home folks such as reduced passes, plenty of parties, and live bands. My son declares Spring skiing is a relaxed sport of smiles and sunshine.
Another source states snow conditions require careful consideration of when to ski. If you rush out to catch the first chair, you might have a bumpy ride down the slopes because of warm temperatures during the day that caused ruts and overnight freezing of those bumps.
Linger over breakfast a while and you might experience some of the best skiing of the year on “corn snow”. Corn forms from large crystals caused by multiple melting and freezing. It gives a feeling of skiing on butter. Begin on the east-facing slopes where the sun softens the snow just enough, but not too much. Then follow the sun south and west for perfect conditions throughout the day.
That said, April changes create slushy snow if nighttime temperatures remain above freezing. In that case, ski earlier in the day.
Spring ski equipment varies from winter skiing. Skis should have more flex to navigate turns with less steering. Wax skis with a warm-snow wax.
A few Spring skiing tips:
- Buckle boots tighter since they soften in higher temps.
- Wear layers to shed and prevent overheating.
- Include water repellent/proof light jackets.
- Avoid painful skin raspberries by staying covered.
- Wear gloves.
- Wear sunglasses and sunscreen, but carry goggles in case of unexpected inclement weather.
- Keep hydrated; you’ll sweat more so replace your water loss.
- Shorten your day to stay out of mushy, wet snow. Lower ski prices allow you to forego all day skiing without feeling guilty. Afternoons provide the perfect time to peruse the shops for end-of-season bargains, have a drink, or visit your favorite restaurant.
A few weeks remain for Spring skiing. Enjoy.