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What to wear Spring Skiing &general questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone! This is my first post on this forum so hopefully everything is right, but anyways I am fortunate enough to be returning to Whistler this season for my second time. The first time I went, I had a wonderful experience and I'm super excited to go back. However this time I will be going in the Spring (Early March) as opposed to last time when I went (Early January). 


I looked up the March temperatures for the last couple years and it seems that it will be in the 40-50s for the majority of the time I'm gonna be there. I've been skiing basically my whole life (only 21 yrs old tho so not too long of a time haha) around the east coast and a couple west coast powder trips, but only in the winter time so I'm not sure exactly how to prepare for this trip. I've read a couple other forums and done other research but I still have a couple questions hopefully someone can help me with!!


1) The temperature says around 40-50, but Whistler is huge and the temperature will drop as you go up higher in elevation, so will it still be that big of a difference since it will be cooler higher up?  Also is spring skiing even be worth it- will there be lots of ice or slush?


2) I read many places that people don't wear helmets in the spring. Being as whistler has some pretty crazy and dangerous runs and I love glade skiing, I don't think I would be comfortable not wearing a helmet. Will this not be okay? Will I get too hot in a helmet?


3) I read many people just wear sunglasses instead of goggles? Is this true? and would it be okay If I still wore my goggles or would I be too hot again?


4) General advice on what to wear!  I know lots of people just ski in their t shirts haha, but I would like some genuine layer advice please!


5) Should I invest in spring gloves or is it okay to just wear my regular winter gloves?


6) Any other additional spring skiing advice would be GREATLY appreciated :)


7) Any apres recommendations? :P



Seriously thank you so much to whoever all can help me! It really means a lot!!! I'm super excited for the trip and just want to be fully prepared and make the most of it! <3

post #2 of 9

In March 2014 I skied Jackson Hole in early March and it was in the 40s and 50s large part of the day. I was really hot in my ski jacket, even with only a base layer on underneath. For last year's spring skiing trip to Beaver Creek at the beginning of April I got fairly light soft-shell jacket over base layer. Still wore Goretex pants with light wool base layer. I was a little cool on the lifts but very comfortable while skiing. Lighter gloves also as my winter mitts were way too warm, and I have cold hands. Still wear helmet and goggles as I still don't want to crack my skull and I like the wind protection from goggles. 

post #3 of 9

Attire discussions always involve a lot of personal preference, but...


I have Hestra gloves where the liners can be pulled out.  The shells themselves work well alone on spring days.  If your regular winter gloves don't have that feature, you might want to find some lightweight gloves.


I sunburn easily, so I like skiing in a long sleeve shirt, like a lightweight Patagonia Capilene layer.  Chairlift rides can be a little chilly though if you're just doing the t-shirt thing, so if you have a light wind breaker, that can help.


I make a point to ski in a baseball hat and sunglasses at least once a season, but if you're planning on skiing some real terrain where falling could be a "big ouch", I'd keep the helmet on.  Just open up the vents all the way.


I've never skied at Whistler, but Spring skiing is about following the sun.  Skiing refrozen slush (i.e., it was slush "yesterday" and then it froze overnight and hasn't softened up again "today") is a good way to rattle some teeth loose.  If the sun isn't coming out, then either head high to someplace that's stayed cold (i.e., it never thawed out -- north facing slopes can be good) or find something else to do that day.


I remember going out to Summit County, Colorado one April to ski with some forum members.  I suggested meeting at the lift at 9:30, they (who lived there...) suggested 11:00...  I took exactly one run at 9:30 and quickly discovered exactly why they had suggested waiting.  Even being a New Englander, that was brutally solid "snow".  By 11:00 it had softened up nicely.

post #4 of 9

If it's warm and sunny enough, your favorite long sleeved base layer topped with a Hawaiian shirt, and maybe even a Lei, can be both comfortable and festive...

post #5 of 9

I like my soft shell winter cycling gloves as warmer weather ski gloves.  I have a couple of pairs (Pearl Izumi and Specialized) and they both work well.

post #6 of 9

So March is a bit of a mixed bag. I don't know the weather in Whistler all that well but March is actually the snowiest month of the year in Colorado and my favorite time of year to ski. As KevinF noted following the sun is key. Refrozen snow is not fun to ride on but slush can be a blast.


I pretty much just where a long sleeve with shell (essentially a rain jacket) when skiing in temps in the 40-50s and am comfortable. I would definitely recommend getting a pair of lighter gloves, some people just don't wear gloves when it's that warm. I also pretty much always where a helmet. If I'm only going to be on groomers then occasionally I won't wear my helmet but that's only a few times a year.  

post #7 of 9

Depends on a number of factors.


!. Male or Female?  Keep it legal (or not). 

    a. Bikinis are normally only worn by young women with tight bodies. 

    b. Most males look ridiculous in speedos.


2. One day in shorts is almost mandatory. 


3. Strawberries aren't in season.  Don't fall down.  Wear gloves.  Prevent road rash.


4. Take at least a two hour lunch break and sit in the sun. 


5. Sunburns are bad.  I've had a few.  One winter the sunburn was mixed with a day of 'training' using gas masks.  It still hurts.


6.  If you want to skip the helmet, consider a HAT.  Best prophylactic to prevent scalp burns.


7.  The EYES can get burned.  This is painful.  Can be avoided with good sun glasses or googles.

post #8 of 9

You might have to pack for all possible situations for a March trip.  That's the bad news.

As far as helmet usage, does your helm et have a venting system?  If so, that will help.  If not, war it on the way down and take it off for the lift rides.

When it is warm (40-50F like you described above) I like to wear my shell jacket with just a capilene base layer.  Also, shell pants without any long underwear underneath.  Pit zips in a jacket and side zips in ski pants provide great ventilation.

Lightweight skiing loves are very nice for spring days also.

So, with the above options for warmer weather skiing, you can always throw on polar fleece layers underneath and you will be prepared for any colder or windier conditions.

post #9 of 9
I've skied in spring temps ranging from teen's to 80's. You'll need to plan for everything. I only wear shells so I can layer, my gloves have removable liners & a pair of spring/summer Gloves. Very thin beanie & a baseball hat the sinches tight so it stays on, I prefer sunglasses on a warm day over goggles. Many days I ski with shorts under my shell pants for temp & sun decking, a t-shirt & vest/windbreaker. Lots of sunscreen!

As far north as Whistler is and in early March I don't think you'll have too warm of conditions.
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