Spring skiing has officially arrived with the move to daylight savings time this past weekend. You now need to be more strategic when planning your ski day. Warm days and cold nights increase the potential for crispy snow. The direction each run faces becomes important. And, the time of day needs to be factored into deciding which runs to ski.
Ski Planning Guidelines to Consider
Since the clock has been moved forward, the snow conditions at 10:00 am are now the snow conditions that used to be at 9:00 am. The impact: you will have to wait longer for the snow to soften and temperatures to warm. You are likely to find more chilly mornings and warmer afternoons.
Because spring skiing days are warmer, the snow will typically become softer as the day progresses. When the sun starts going down, the semi-melted snow will then start to freeze again. And it will often stay frozen (or crispy) until the sun warms the snow back up the next day.
East facing runs will tend to warm up more quickly and the snow on them will get softer earlier in the day. West facing runs will tend to warm up later in the day – when the afternoon sun hits the runs. North facing runs will be less impacted by the sun and snow conditions and will tend to be more consistent. A good rule of thumb: ski North-facing runs anytime, ski East-facing runs in the late morning and ski West-facing runs in the afternoon.
If it was sunny the day before – with a clear ski overnight – but cloudy the next day, expect runs to remain crispy for a longer period because the intensity of the sun will be less and it will take longer for the snow to soften.
If it was sunny the day before – with a cloudy ski overnight – it will not likely be as cold and the snow will tend to freeze less. In that case, the snow will likely soften earlier the following morning.
Ski runs with steeper pitches that directly face the sun will warm up more – and faster – than runs with shallower pitches that are at a lower/flatter angle to the path of the sun.
Take these Spring skiing considerations into account and you will be able to plan your ski day for maximum fun and optimum conditions!