Spring skiing seems to have come a week after the season finally began. Our buried persistent week layer finally settled down due to good consolidation, depth, and warming temperatures. Avalanche forecasts have switched from “high” and “extreme” to “low” with normal caution. We have shifted avalanche problems from wondering what was hiding below our skis to visually being able to see avalanche problems on the surface. As we begin spring skiing, it’s all about timing. Starting early and hitting our desired slopes as they warm, then getting off of and out from under these slopes as they get too warm. Great indicators of rapid warming are roller balls or snow building up on the bottoms of our skins.
Spring skiing is a blast and can produce a mixed bag of rewards. The high-elevation, sheltered, northerly slopes still hold hidden pockets of soft, recycled pow.
Where temperatures are still fluctuating to freezing at night, we will see spring corn skiing. If you are unfortunate in your timing and aspect selection, you will ski a lot of sun and wind crusts. Stay safe and lather up on the sun screen!