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Spring Ski question - when no "freeze" overnight

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I have not done much spriing skiing, but am thinking of trying to get out (Mid-Atlantic) somewhere this weekend.  My concern is that if the overnight low only drops to 45 degrees, is it worth skiing the next morning or day? 

 

I have skied in the Spring before, but in the past, it had always dropped below freezing at night so things were very firm in the morning, then softened up throughout the day.  I don't know what to expect if the temperature is going to be above freezing the night before I intend to ski.

post #2 of 14

 

March 14, 2011

 

Hi Skiiding:

 

Where in the mid-Atlantic?  Well, I have spent the last 30+ years spring skiing in the mid-Atlantic and the best advice is to be on the snow as soon as the lifts start turning.  This way you will at least get in 1.5-2 hours of decent skiing.  After that, you may get 0.5-1 hour of sweet creamy snow.  From that point, you are on your own.  However, it is good practice to learn how to ski the thick, heavy, crappy snow.  It will do wonders for training to balance and re-balance.  Just be careful.  As Bob Barnes would say:  "Snow that's good for you".  biggrin.gif

 

Enjoy and Think snow,

 

CP

post #3 of 14

Hi Skidding, as Charlie said it is all about technique (and wax!)

 

If you are indeed skidding a lot it is difficult.  I used to HATE spring skiing because it was so hard on my legs and made my feet cramp up.  That was because I was pushing all the damn snow around.

 

The more you slice through the snow, tails following the tips, the easier it is to ski that kind of surface.  I don't mean pure "carving" so much, but a forward motion with gradual steering and as much carving as appropriate for the turn shape.  I like the word slicing in this case (totally non-technical term btw.)

 

So yes, get out early, but if your skill level (as your screen name implies) is very low, you may have a hard time in deeper piles of wettish snow.

 

Have fun!

post #4 of 14

 

The answer is: yes it does.    Even if the air temps never drop below freezing,  nighttime slows down melting which lets the breeze pick up more moisture out of the surface.    

 

Read: the snow gets drier even though it doesn't freeze, and compression clumps break up more readily.  Tthere is less free water in the am and post-sunset even though there was no freeze overnight.


Edited by comprex - 3/14/11 at 1:14pm
post #5 of 14

And the slopes are usually groomed overnight so the piles of slush from the day before are smoothed out.

post #6 of 14

However comprex my understanding is that grooming cannot be done in those situations, would you agree with that?

post #7 of 14

 

The nice thing about _previously_  often-groomed runs  is that there is usually a slab of packed down snow under the slush so even if the snow isn't groomed overnight the slush isn't "bottomless".

 

Running a groomer on top of that would crack that slab and spread rocks around.    My understanding and your understanding would seem to be in agreement.

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

 

I was looking at Holimont, WISP, or maybe Hidden Valley.   I just didn't like the current forecast.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post

 

March 14, 2011

 

Hi Skiiding:

 

Where in the mid-Atlantic?  Well, I have spent the last 30+ years spring skiing in the mid-Atlantic and the best advice is to be on the snow as soon as the lifts start turning.  This way you will at least get in 1.5-2 hours of decent skiing.  After that, you may get 0.5-1 hour of sweet creamy snow.  From that point, you are on your own.  However, it is good practice to learn how to ski the thick, heavy, crappy snow.  It will do wonders for training to balance and re-balance.  Just be careful.  As Bob Barnes would say:  "Snow that's good for you".  biggrin.gif

 

Enjoy and Think snow,

 

CP



 

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks, all, for the replies.

 

So, it can be OK, I might learn something, but it would be better if there was a hard freeze overnight.  Is that the consensus?  I am debating if I should wait and hope for better conditions starting the March 24th or even March 31st.  I probably will be done for the season after that.

post #10 of 14

Hard freeze overnight imo is worse.  it means ice.  first couple of runs if they do a great grooming job can be good, then it becomes really icy, later in the day when it softens up it could be OK, or it could be slush on ice.

post #11 of 14

Err, go and grab what's there while you still can.       I would be really hard pressed to believe that conditions will be *better* if you wait.

 

FWIW, Timberline are doing snowy luau this weekend, if that's of any interest:

http://www.timberlineresort.com/winter/events.php

 

post #12 of 14

If you have powder skis, bring them along with your regular skis. Really wet soupy snow can be a blast on a powder ski.

post #13 of 14

I use my katana for most springs skiing. I imagine the bushwacker will be great when the slush isnt to deep.

post #14 of 14


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skidding View Post

 

I was looking at Holimont, WISP, or maybe Hidden Valley.   I just didn't like the current forecast.
 



 


March 14, 2011

 

Hi Skidding:

 

I am quite familiar with Wisp since it is the area which I use to extend my season by one or two weekends after my local area Ski Liberty closes.  Wisp is reporting 20-44 inch base, I would start on the backside of the hill (the face which faces right into Deep Creek Lake).  I think the run is called Main Street.  It is a straight fall line run, of some adequate steepness and quite broad.  Because it is facing directly into the lake, it also has the best view, one of the better views east of Heavenly.  The reason to start here is because this run gets the morning sun, so 4-5 runs on this side of the mountain will prove to be wonderful and then it is time to go to the front side of the mountain.  Two runs of note are Squirrel Cage and The Face.  Both Squirrel Cage and The Face are similar to Main Street in that both are cut moderately steep and straight down the fall line and are wide by eastern standards.  Squirrel Case is groomed flat while bumps are allowed to grow on The Face.  When the snow gets soft, the bumps on The Face can be interesting, entertaining and the snow will not be thick and sloppy.  Soft enough to arrest any built up speed, but not enough to pull and jerk your legs and body around.  

 

Other Bears (SMJ, MR, BWPA) have mentioned, good wax, fat skis and slicing though the snow.  All very good advice.  Actually, once you get use to the soft heavy spring snow, it can be addictive.  I always thought that the first two and a half months of the season was to get myself in shape for fun in the sun spring skiing.  With the event of shaply fat skis, not sinking into the crud and skiing more or less as if you were skiing hard pack (albeit with a bit more finesse) has made spring skiing so much more enjoyable.  You may also want to ski on the side of the trail which is shaded from the sun by trees.  In this respect, Timberline, WVa would be a better choice since the trails are narrower and the shade extends further out into the trail, reporting 60+ inch base.  Timberline also has more vertical 1000 ft vs Wisp's 600 ft. 

 

As Comprex said, grab it while it is still there.

 

Think snow,

 

CP   

 


Edited by CharlieP - 3/14/11 at 5:28pm
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