Why is it that skiing powder gets ALL the attention? Okay, admittedly powder snow is pretty awesome; it’s fun to ski, it looks pretty as it floats to the ground and it’s safe to eat. But honestly, is skiing powder the ‘be all and end all’ of skiing?
Over the years, long-distance international ski travel has developed a lot, and in many ways, it’s affected how, where and when we ski and snowboard. Now it’s like we have the ‘world at our ski tips’, with such an abundance of mountains to ski/board, but unfortunately, the trend is that people are always more focused on booking in the middle of winter when it’s ‘powing’… because it’s a better skiing experience, right?
Wrong! It’s time to talk about the lost art of spring snowsports. A time of year that resort locals actually look forward to, and for good reason, because as far as mountain experiences go it’s one of the best times to have a ski holiday… and here’s why.
Short lift lines
It’s all about zigging when everyone else is zagging. When spring comes around and people are getting geared up for summer – take a ski trip – you’ll spend less time in the lift line and more time going downhill.
Sunny days on the mountain are mood-enhancing
The days are longer, warmer and there’s this big ball of fire that appears in the sky most days and it makes people feel happy. If you’re in Hokkaido you might not see the sun in the early months of the winter season. When the sun comes out people get a spring in their step, everyone is in good spirits and the mood on the mountain is infectious. Everyone can feel it, the season is coming to a close and it’s time to party.
I’ve not checked the stats on this, but I’d hazard a guess that there’s a retro day of some description at every resort worth visiting in spring. The concept is simple; find yourself the oldest and most fashionably obscure ski suit possible and join in the festivities. Some resorts make an event of it; with bands playing, competitions for best dressed, splash jam pool skimming contests and après sessions that end up in table dancing. If you’re all out of retro and in the market for a new outfit, check out OOSC Clothing.
It’s spring, the sun is out and it’s getting warmer so the snow quality is getting slushier – but it’s nothing to worry about because this is hero snow; some of the best confidence-building snow to improve your skiing and snowboarding. Late mornings are best as the grooming is softening up so get out there and practice your high speed turns and carving. Also, the moguls will be soft after about mid-morning, aspect dependent, and slushy snow makes them slower to ski so you’ll find it much easier to practice them. Lastly, if you’re young and uninjured (or old and stupid) why not check out the terrain park; the landings will be soft and super forgiving… just make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance.
Spring is ski touring season
If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to do some split-boarding or ski touring, spring is your chance. With less inclement weather coming through it’s an ideal time to grab a guide and hit the backcountry. You will still find plenty of untracked dry powder snow and if you are lucky you may even find some corn snow, all while spending a beautiful day exploring the mountains with friends. And after all that sweating, that first beer at après always tastes so much better!
Sunny days and helicopters go hand in hand. Clear skies make flying a guarantee and when you sign up for a few days in the heli during spring you’ll be skiing/boarding in the high alpine elevations on glaciers with stunning views. If you’re lucky enough to get a good stability week, which are usually more common in spring, you’ll be venturing out into some big country to ski/board the thrilling steeps of higher angled terrain.
Mabey Ski’s adventure designers have travelled and skied all over the world to find the best hidden gem ski areas for anyone from intermediate skiers skiers through to professional freeriders. Whether you want to ski in the champagne powder of Niseko, Japan or the endless coastal ski networkd of British Columbia, Canada – we are here to plan your spring skiing getaway.