Peter Hines

by Peter Hines

Spring Skiing: Fast in the Morning, Buttery in the Afternoon

I love skiing in the winter. The crisp mornings with fluffy powder are delightful. It is great to get out on the weekend, or even mid week, after being cooped up for days on end. The freedom of gliding down the slopes is a joy unequaled.

Spring skiing is a different experience from start to end. For daytrippers, which is what I mostly , the day starts after sun up even though daylight savings has started. There is sun on both ends of the trip, driving to and from the mountain in daylight. The long low shadows of mid winter are replaced with rays from a higher angle.

For those who like to sleep in, do it! Spring Skiing is not always about chasing the first chair. Capturing the last chair is a good option too.

Brilliant Sunshine
Photo by he author
Brilliant Sunshine at Gore Mountain in New York's Adirondack Mountains

There are often deals to be found. Most resorts offer late season rates with reduced lift ticket prices. Even with reduced rates, the crowds are generally less. With little league, lacrosse and golf starting many of the midwinter slopers choose those sports over gliding down hill.

Once on the slopes the day starts out fast and ends soft. That is, with cold nights the snow freezes. The groomed trails are often flat and fast, sliding over the ice capped layer firmed up from the night before.

With the sun being higher in the sky the day warms up quickly. Shed the layers. No more cold hands and feet. Liners are removed from helmets and some even go without. The skiers and riders don't retreat to the warmth of the lodge to warm up and eat. Quite the contrary, when it's sunny to flock to the tables and chairs of the porches and patios to bask in the sun. Gone are the heavy coats, and pants. Goggle tans are always great.

Photo by the author
Soft Buttery Snow on "Lies" at New York's Gore Mountain

There are so many differences to be experiences than the three months before. One difference is the smell. Gone are the masks that cover up the faces of skiers and riders. With the warmer temperatures one can almost smell spring in the air. Moving past pines and furs one is greeted with the fragrant aroma that wasn't there before.

The sounds are different too. The chickdees and jays hop from limb to limb as they look for mates and nests. The snow sounds different too. The low rumble of snowboards as the scrape and shutter on the mid winter hard pack not have a silent push of moving the soft mounds of snow. The sounds of skis, while usually more quiet, are hushed as then cut through the buttery mounds of snow.

Photo by the author
Spring Snow is easy to grip



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