‘Tis the season for the spring corn harvest.
Even though the lifts have started to slow and all the snow for the season has fallen, there’s still plenty of skiing out there. If you take a look up high, you’ll see lots of peaks are still holding plenty of snow to play around in for the next few weeks. With temperature changes, different snow conditions, and no lifts running, spring skiing calls for a little bit different of an approach. To help you get those last few days on your ski day count, we go over our hottest spring touring tips.
Get the timing right
Whether you’re taking laps at A Basin or traveling in the backcountry, timing is everything. Mornings can be a little firm and icy from cool overnight temperatures, while late afternoons hold sticky, slushy snow. Take a look at temperatures for the week, cloud cover, and wind to get an idea of what the conditions might be, so you can time that corn harvest right. Usually, late morning (depending on the aspect of your line) is a safe bet.
Even though our snowpack is transitioning to its lovely summer stabilization, snow slides are still a concern. Wet slides occur on steeper slopes after warming throughout the day and cornices can collapse, creating quite a lot of debris. On top of that, CAIC notes that there are still northerly facing slopes that haven’t fully transitioned to a summer snowpack, so it’s not quite time to let our guards down yet.
Ski binding crampons for early mornings
In early spring, dropping temperatures overnight provide a very crusty, icy surface in the morning. This creates some very exciting skinning conditions when you can’t get great purchase in the snow with your ski edges. Enter: ski binding crampons.
Similar to what you might use for your ski boots when boot packing up a steeper line, ski binding crampons attach to your bindings (usually near the toe piece) to give you greater grip and bite into that firm early morning snow as you skin up.
They’re light, pretty small, and easy to throw in your backpack. While you could probably get away without them, they make for a very nice addition to your backcountry kit just to make those icy uphill climbs feel more solid. They’re typically specific to the binding model, so make sure you pick up the crampon specific to your bindings.
Skin wax can solve all your skin slush problems
When things get a little slushy out, your skins can feel sluggish and sticky to the snow. This is especially true with older skins that have lost a bit of their glide. That’s where skin wax comes in. Just like skis need a little boost to get going on sticky snow, so do skins.
Skin wax prevents snow and ice build up on skins. It’s particularly useful mid-winter as well to prevent ice build up. We love mountainFLOW’s rub on skin wax. It comes in a little container, making it easy to throw into your backpack for a quick on trail application.
Prep for hot temps!
This may be an obvious one to some folks, but somehow we always wind up a little overdressed on these sunny spring days. Warm temperatures combined with a highly reflective bright snow surface all around you, while hiking uphill, make things get pretty toasty pretty quick.
Lightweight, breathable clothes (or a festive collared shirt) allow moisture to pass through your clothes keep you cooler. If I’m touring, I like to wear a breathable sun shirt or something thin to protect my skin from the sun. This usually leaves me feeling more energetic and less wiped out from the hot sun.
As always, don’t forget the sunscreen.
Spending your spring dialing in new tricks? Check out how to front flip with Powder7 athlete Owen Leeper.