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Spring Skiing: A Whole Different Animal

It’s sunny and warm but the snow is slushy and heavy. On the other hand, chances are good you’ll probably spot Elvis on the slopes.

The Weather
Nothing beats skiing in shorts and a t-shirt. Instead of wearing gear designed for the Arctic, spring skiing affords the chance to pitch the parka and gloves, the hat and hand warmers and the gaiter around your neck and soak up some sun. After a long winter of being bundled up in gear, spring skiing is about freedom from all that garb.

Timing is Everything
When the snow melts during the day, then re-freezes at night, it creates a surface with the consistency of concrete. Until the sun softens things up, you’ll be miserable as your skis and consequently your feet take a pounding. There is really no reason to ski until about 10 or 10:30 so getting in line for first chair doesn’t really make sense. The tradeoff is you get to sleep in for the first time this season.

Everybody is There
By everybody we mean Elvis, Spiderman and a gaggle of nuns. Spring skiers, when they doff their arctic gear seem to trade it in for costumes. For some reason Elvis thrives on the slopes of every ski resort from Stowe to Tahoe and everywhere in between. Nuns seem to be very popular and super-heroes like to take ski vacations as well. The closing weekend of every resort is full of costumed riders but they begin to appear as soon as the spring sun, slush and warmth arrive.

Skin to Win
Skiing in bikinis or even just shorts is not recommended, especially if there is a chance of falling. Not only will you scrape some mighty sensitive areas but you will get a lot of intense sun on places that haven’t seen the light of day for half a year or so. The rest of us though do enjoy the sights as long as we’re not the ones on top of the mountain when the spring squall rolls in and temperatures drop by 30 degrees instantly.

Bring the Gear
You may want to bring both powder and rock skis because you could be skiing both. Since you can’t trust the weather in springtime, you need to bring it all. It could be 20 degrees and fresh powder, 60 degrees and slush or both in the same day. You’ll need your cold weather gear and your bikini packed in your bag. If you’ve ever skied closing weekend, you’ll know that bikini could be for a woman or a man (you’ll just have to see it to believe it.)

Music to Our Ears
Most resorts start firing up the concert stages once spring arrives. Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone in Colorado and many other resorts all host spring concert shows, usually at the base of the mountain or in their respective villages. Ever try dancing in ski boots? It’s not as easy as it looks, and it doesn’t look that easy to begin with. It helps that these shows are usually hosted by beer or liquor companies with booths plying their products, for a small, or make that a large fee.

Oh the Nightlife
Well, we already established that you’re not getting up early for first chair, so why not step out for the evening. Not only do some resorts have nighttime concerts, but the bars are jumping in the spring. There seems to be a younger crowd staying in town this time of year and since there is no reason for anyone to get up too early, the bars are packed until closing time in the spring.

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