The Joy of Spring Skiing

The First Warm Days of Spring

The temperatures a few days last week broke into the 40s marking the beginning of spring skiing conditions across the region. The warm days and soft snow were a big change from the cold weather which had dominated our forecasts for much of the winter. It arrived right on time - after all, spring officially begins this coming weekend. Soft spring snow may be slow, but with plenty of it on the ground Wren and I were out in spite of the wet conditions. Slow snow or not, spring skiing is our last chance to enjoy the snow before the sun completely takes it away.

This is not simply some desperate last gasp of skiing before we pack away our gear for the summer. It is a chance to ski less encumbered, without the clothing and layers which are necessary throughout much of the winter. Clear blue skis and bright sunshine propel us outside and it is nice to feel those first warming days for which our bodies have been starved. And with longer days and more light at the end of the day – particularly since we switched the clocks onto Daylight Savings Time – spring grants us more time to enjoy the last few weeks of snow.Blue skies - bloomingdale Bog

Variable Conditions

And so, Wren and I have been out skiing all across the region; at the trails near Lake Clear, Deer Pond, and skate skiing the Bloomingdale Bog Trail. Conditions vary greatly as each day may plunge the world into ice or soften it depending on the mood of our fluctuating temperatures. Icy paths make trail skiing more difficult, or at times impossible, such tricky conditions are best skied at local ski centers. I’ve recently been out at Cascade Cross Country Ski Center and the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Cross Country Ski Center as a result. Both were great. And with more snow predicted in the coming days, trail skiing should really improve – we have plenty of base on the ground.

While I ski at many locations throughout the winter, spring skiing is nothing if not a lesson in coping with varying conditions and choosing a skiing location based upon that. One day the snow is soft, the next it may be rock hard. One day I’m enjoying a warm ski on a trail and the next I’m at a ski center where their groomed trails have made the icy conditions great for gliding. Even individual days vary this time of year as sunny spots suck your skis into soft snow and shaded areas are often glazed. It adds variety and texture to your skiing and can make you a better skier as a result.Wren - Deer Pond

Getting the Most out of Spring Skiing

Because of these variable conditions, I often bring a couple pairs of skis along each time I head out so that I have the option of choosing a pair that best suits the conditions I find when I arrive. Figuring out how to decide the appropriate kick wax for skis is tricky in this sort of snow, and so waxless designs or skate skiing can often be easier alternatives which take less time to prepare. Skating this time of year can be particularly good.

Despite the challenges of varying conditions, spring skiing is a time of year I love. While I may want mid-winter trail conditions all year, that’s just not going to happen. And so, as temperatures warm, this is a time when I sometimes feel like we are able to steal a few more times out on skis before the oncoming spring spoils our skiing fun completely. And so we skiers strive to take advantage of these last few weeks with snow. As such there is no time to waste for folks looking to get out on skis a few more times this year - get here now! This last rush to ski before the snow is gone, is also about embracing the sun, the warmth, and the oncoming spring destined to put an end to our snow. It will inevitably come, and it brings with it new recreation opportunities.

For those looking for a last skiing getaway or to plan a trip in spring, check out the lodging and dining pages. In addition, those interested in outdoor recreation of all types will find lots to do no matter what the season.

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About The Author

Alan Belford has spent much of his life outdoors exploring and learning about wildlife – particularly birds. Alan is often out hiking, paddling, running, or cross country skiing – with his Labrador retriever Wren at this side. A certified teacher and former cross country, baseball, and ultimate frisbee coach, he loves teaching others and has taught multiple natural history (specializing in ornithology) courses for both college students and the general public. He is a licensed guide in New York State, he has traveled widely both domestically and internationally, and he is also a published travel writer and photographer – focusing on outdoor and nature writing.

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