It’s light out in the evenings, it’s starting to warm up, and it’s officially spring on the calendar! While I appreciate a powder day or storm riding session as much as the next person, spring is my favorite time of year to get on the mountain in Tahoe.
Only in California are we #blessed with such a long spring ski season, and, with the amount of snow we got this winter, it’s going to be extra long in 2019! The days are long, it’s usually warm and sunny, everybody is more relaxed, and the resorts get much less crowded. What’s not to love?
However, there are a few tips to get the most out of the spring ski and ride season.
1. Check the weather. It’s probably going to be warm and sunny, but we can get snow storms basically every month of the year in Tahoe. And, the weather can change really quickly so be prepared for winter driving, even if it’s April or May.
2. Dress appropriately. Nothing will ruin my day faster than being overly hot, while others are miserable when cold. Know which type you are, and that will help you dress for the in-between weather. For spring skiing, I like to wear thin, light pants (like Arcteryx Sentinal Pants or Patagonia Powderbowl Pants), a light weight base layer (like the Patagonia Midweight Capilene or this Midweight Base Layer by Stoic), a down or synthetic vest (I live in my Marmot Aruna Down Vest) and a light wind shell (like the Patagonia Houdini Jacket or the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Lite Jacket).
3. Make sure you have sun glasses and/or dark goggles. Suncloud is my favorite brand for nice, polarized sunglasses that aren’t too expensive. For goggles, I wear the Smith Squad Snow Goggles in both winter and spring, just switching out lenses based on conditions. I’ve had other goggles that make my face sweaty when it’s warm out, but I haven’t run into that with the Smith Squads. They ventilate well.
4. Find sunscreen that doesn’t sweat into your eyes. I try to find environmentally friendly sunscreen that isn’t tested on animals, doesn’t turn my face white, and doesn’t run directly into my eyes the second I heat up. So far, Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer is the best thing I’ve found for my face. I don’t care as much about my neck/arms/body turning white, so for that I use thinksport.
5. Get your board or skis freshly waxed and tuned. If you’ve been riding a lot all winter, your skis or board might be a little beaten up and in need of some work. Some people like to use a softer “spring” wax for warmer weather to help glide faster in wetter conditions. Note: some waxes contain fluorocarbon additives which aren’t great for human health or the environment. PFCs from the wax persist in waxers blood streams, likely enter water sources and soil from skis and snowboards, and are manufactured using toxic chemicals that end up in water pollution. Good news, there are green ski wax alternatives available. I bought a variety pack of Purl Wax for Greyson for Christmas. We haven’t tried it out yet, but I’ll report back on how it works.
6. Wear your helmet! Just because it’s mellower skiing and snowboarding doesn’t mean you don’t need to protect your brain. Even if you’re not worried about your own abilities, worry about someone else crashing into you!