For the average skiing enthusiast, the start of spring means hanging up the equipment for the year. For those who are a notch above enthusiastic when it comes to skiing, it’s challenging to find the last few white-powdered hills to enjoy before they melt away.
End-of-the-season skiing is usually packed, both with events and people, but you have to be at the right place at the right time. Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado, for example, celebrates a month-long Spring Fever festival, which features a number of events held from March 21 to April 19. With live concerts by Third Eye Blind, Eric Paslay and American Authors, and parties like Spring Fever Breck Beer & Chili Cook-off and, the BRC Ambassador’s End of the Season Jam and the Closing Day Luau, you might forget the whole reason you visit Breckenridge — for the skiing!
With as hard as winter hit the New England this year, one may think skiing will last well into the spring. Sugarbush in Warren, VT is one of the usual hot spots for springtime skiers. This back-country ski area features more than 2,000 acres and a six-peak mountain resort. Take a tour with extreme skier John Egan and enjoy tree skiing, ski moutaineering or even cliff diving, if you dare. Then rent a Lincoln Limo Cat for private skiing with friends at Mount Ellen.
The Right Gear
The sun stays out a little longer and shine a little more bright come springtime so good waterproof sunblock is a necessity, as is sunglasses/goggles. If you have a pair of Oakley sunglasses, buy replacement lenses as backup in case you face plant and damage yours. Equipping yourself with a vented helmet may not sound important, but as temperatures rise and the sun continues to beat down, you’ll want to get some air flow underneath your helmet. Just as with your helmet, the layers under your jacket ought to allow for some breathability. Thus, a lightweight vest that covers the core of your upper body but still allows for air flow cuts down on how much you’re sweating.
The great thing about spring skiing is that the slopes won’t be as crowded and snowfalls can add even more layers of already good snow, all waiting for you to take advantage. Thus, spring offers lots of fresh snowfall as well as warmer temperatures and less people. Pack a set of skies that have a softer flex, which will allow you to maneuver in spring snow that is more wet. The flexibility allows your ski to bend as you turn without as much steering needed. With the warmer weather during spring, be sure to take account the tightness of your boots, as well. The warmer temperatures soften the plastic boots, causing the boot to loosen. So, check the buckles of your boots to be sure they are strapped firmly.
If you’re looking to upgrade equipment, keep a watch for sales at shops. Typically, with ski shops, sales start slow — between 20 and 30 percent off — then suddenly it becomes a grand close-out sale. One thing to keep in mind is the newest thing isn’t always the better. In fact, manufacturers usually don’t change out an entire product. Rather, they change the look. So those “old” skis that are now 30 to 50 percent off are actually just as good as the new ones you’re eyeing.