Spring time and the skiing is easy

March 25, 2004

In today's Times, Bill Pennington ponders why, for most people, ski season ends too early: Time to Stash the Skis? Not So Fast

We will go out in the cold and in the wind. We will brave crowds and long lift lines. We will endure icy trails and jarring, hard-packed snow underfoot. We will pay handsomely to do it.

But we will not, or at least most of us will not, ski once it is spring.

This decision makes no sense. Because the elementary facts about spring skiing and riding are that it is warmer, the slopes are far less congested, the snow is softer and more forgiving, and the lift ticket prices are usually slashed.

In early season, many skiers are excited to get on the snow as soon as possible and are more forgiving of thin cover, minimal terrain open and early sunset. In April, though, when days are longer and brighter, the temperature is warmer and the snow cover is better, skiers prematurely abandon the slopes. Ski resorts close in the spring not because they have run out of snow, but because they have run out of skiers.

In the East, Killington generally remains open the longest, typically through Memorial Day. Beyond that, one can always hike Tuckerman's Ravine on Mt. Washington. Out West, with higher elevations, there's even more spring skiing. Mammoth and Squaw Valley have had skiing on July 4th.

Posted by Andrew Raff at March 25, 2004 01:53 PM
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Headed out to Breckenridge myself next week. Can't wait to ski in short sleeves and sun glasses. :-)

Posted by: saltydog on March 25, 2004 03:41 PM