Spring Skiing In Glenwood Springs
Just because spring is right around the corner doesn’t mean that ski season is over! Here in Glenwood Springs, Sunlight Mountain will be open until the first week of April and Aspen will be open a few weeks longer.
But spring skiing isn’t quite the same experience as skiing in the middle of winter. Here’s what to expect when you visit the mountains this spring.
Casual Ski Days
Don’t worry about waking up before the break of dawn to catch the first chair or make tracks in fresh powder — there isn’t much left! So hit the snooze button, have yourself a hearty breakfast, and wait for the sun to soften up the snow a bit before you hit the slopes.
Expect a super fun and casual environment, too. Lots of ski mountains do costume days in the spring — people wear pajamas, beachwear, 80s one-piece ski gear, and all kinds of other eye-catching outfits under the sunny skies and warmer weather of spring.
Make Sure Your Gear Is Ready
Don’t forget to prepare for the weather — spring in the mountains of Colorado is unpredictable. You might get balmy temperatures in the high 50s, but you can’t rule out a surprise snowstorm either. Make sure you check the weather reports and bring enough clothing along with you for whatever conditions might show up.
Consider getting your skis waxed with warm-weather wax — it slides better on the wetter, more packed snow of spring. Melted slush can turn into sticky spots, especially in the flat areas near the bottom of the lifts, and warm-weather wax will handle it better.
Make sure you wear sunscreen! Sunburn is a concern, even when it’s cold — the bright sun will reflect off the snow and toast you in no time. And in the thinner air of high altitude, the UV rays are even stronger. Bring sunscreen up the mountain with you to re-apply during the day.
Check your goggles as well. You might have lenses set up for all-around light or flat light, but you’re more likely to encounter bright sun in the spring, so consider goggles or lenses that are better equipped for bright light. If it’s warm enough, you can even wear sunglasses instead!
Conditions To Expect
The snow will be soft — locals call it “sugar snow” or “mashed potatoes” — which means casual, easy skiing for the whole family. On south-facing slopes, the snow will be easy to cruise, with no difficult chunks, crust, or ice to deal with. If you feel like going fast, on the other hand, the north-facing slopes will be packed, firm, and groomed.
The sun is stronger in spring, so the snow will vary more between sun and shade than it would in the dead of winter. It also means that conditions will change faster throughout the day. Be prepared to mix it up — a run that felt great the first time you rode it might be very different by the time you get back up the lift.
Another factor to keep in mind is elevation. Generally speaking, the bottom of the mountain warms up faster, so that’s where the snow will be soft and forgiving for kids and casual skiers. That’s also where the weather will be warmer and the wind will be calm, so don’t be surprised if you see riders in shorts and sunglasses!
Up high, the snow will likely stay harder later in the day, so if you want to get a few speed runs in, that’s where you’ll find the really firm snow. In extreme cases, the cycle of warm days and cold nights can create a crust on the snow that’s difficult and unpleasant to ski — if you find crusty snow, head for the sun!
Be Ready To Party!
Spring is when the real apres ski parties kick in! The sun stays up later, so you can get in a day of skiing and then kick back on a patio with a cold beer and a big, juicy burger. You’ll even have time to head back down the mountain and go for a soak in the hot springs!
Summer is coming up, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on skiing Sunlight just yet!