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Life on the Mountain

Spring Skiing Tips

Apr 14, 2011 - 12:09 PM
Spring Skiing Tips

Spring has sprung and even though this week it's snowing and everyone is digging their powder skis back out of the closet, conditions, weather, outfits and the mountain are all vastly different than they were in December.

With only two weeks left in the 2010-2011 ski season, skiers and snowboarders are celebrating, skiing and enjoying the snow in every way possible. Whether they are basking in the bluebird sky and sun on the Seattle Ridge deck during that lodge’s final afternoon of the season, seeking out turns on the soft and skiable College South Slopes, or floating through Wednesday’s powder, everyone is enjoying their time on the hill.

But Spring Skiing can be tricky, so we sought out some experts on the subject and they gave us their top three “Spring Skiing Tips”. So read on to find out how best to relish in the final days on the Mountain. (Don’t worry, we were shocked too about the frequency in which one-pieces are mentioned… but that’s a whole other story.)

Spring skiing on Warm Springs.Meredith Richardson (top photo, left), a Sun Valley snowboard instructor, wicked videographer who makes edits like this, has a few tips for the boarders and anyone with a sweet tooth.

1. During spring ugly is beautiful. This time of year it is crucial to find and wear the most ugly “onesie” imaginable. It is like a rite of passage on the mountain, honoring the trends that came before us.
2. Wax on, wax on. Always have your board waxed unless you plan on hiking down the mountain, slush is not your friend.
3. Who said that the best on-mountain food had to be from inside a kitchen? If there is slush, you might as well bring cherry flavoring and make yourself a snow cone.

As Executive Director of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Don Wiseman has seen his fair share of ski conditions but as a former Sun Valley ski instructor, founder of Sun Summit Ski and Cycle, and Sun Valley local for over 25 years, he has a wealth of knowledge about skis, snow, gear and good ol' Bald Mountain.

Don Wiseman and his spring skiing sidekick.1. Be prepared for all conditions. Conditions can vary greatly during the spring. It could be icy and hard at the top, and creamy at the bottom of the mountain.
2. Use all the skis in your quiver. The type of ski that is ideal for spring skiing depends on where and even when you are skiing. If you are headed to the Bowls or Plaza or down into the Ridge South Slopes, a good, fatter, all-mountain ski will work. But if you are staying on-piste, on the groomers, a sharp, fast pair of GS skis will work too.
3. You have your own private mountain and it is a pretty great mountain. The main thing about the spring, nobody is here. And this year we have an unusually high snow pack for the end of the season, and it seems to just continue to grow. So whether you are going to lay your edges in and rip down Warm Springs, or push the snow around down Christmas Ridge, the skiing rocks.

Danielle Travers only recently learned how to ski. This East Coast native and Plum TV account executive has taken to ski-town living quite well, becoming a Town Series racing star, 75-day skier, and Après-Ski expert.

Danielle Travers modeling a one-piece.1. Plan for après, then plan for skiing. Freeze-thaw cycles can confound even the most expert skier. Instead of stressing over how to time it for optimal corn, make sure that you clearly communicate après plans with your ski buddies. That way even if you manage to get nothing but mashed potatoes, there's always a Bloody Mary waiting for you at the other end. (For the record, Bugs at Warm Springs Lodge makes the best in the Valley.)

2. It is all about the one-piece. There are only two reasons why I subjected myself to the embarrassment of learning how to ski at the age of 26: Après and one-pieces. Not only will a good onesie make you a great skier, it will also bring your Après game to a whole new level.

3. Sunscreen. Rocking out gaper-style is all fun and games until someone ends up with a gaper-gap sunburn. Head to Chateau for a travel-size sunscreen to keep in your jacket (or one-piece) pocket and apply before heading to the deck at Lefty's.

Drew Daly is a four-year member of the Sun Valley Ski Patrol and perennial guide for Sawtooth Mountain Guides. He might have crashed a snowmobile during his first season on the Patrol, but this Vail native is nothing short of a mountaineering and skiing expert. Here are his tips for March and April Idaho skiing.

Spring skiing makes Drew Daly smile.1. Timing is everything. You can have some of the best skiing of the year in the spring, but if you don't time it right it could be some of the worst. Check the weather forecast and wait for it to heat up a bit. But don't wait too long or the isothermic snow could swallow you like quicksand. On the other hand, don't be "that guy" chattering your teeth in the Liftline at 9:00am.
2. Dress to impress. Spring is the time of year to show off your brightest and tightest. Pull that neon one-piece out of the closet or head to the Goldmine for a cheap Bogner. Also, now is the time to dust off the Scorpions, Snowlerblades and monoboards. The Gnar points are yours for the taking.
3. Be prepared for anything. You never know what you might encounter during a day of Spring Skiing. Pack your stylish fanny pack with an extra layer for those freak snowstorms. Throw in water and sunscreen for the classic Sun Valley "powder day". And of course, don't forget a snack and your beverage of choice to fuel up on the lift and make sure you're ready for the Après party at Apple’s.


Sun Valley Magazine encourages its readers to post thoughtful and respectful comments on all of our online stories. Your comments may be edited for length and language.

Apr 18, 2011 11:08 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Great (and too funny!) tips! thanks for sharing.

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