PROBAR, The North Face, and Teton Gravity Research athlete Griffin Post reports on how times have changed and closing day at the local ski resort no longer means it’s time to hang up the skis for the season.
There’s still snow in them hills
Growing up, closing day was just that, the end of skiing for the season. I’d milk the last run to the very bottom, savoring each turn, knowing it’d be a long time before I’d get that sensation again. I’d leave the resort and be bummed out for the next several weeks. People laugh now when I tell them how sad I was, but it’s the truth, as if the family dog had run away, I was truly morose.
Lucky for me (and those that have to be around me after closing day), I’ve learned that closing day is by no means the season’s end, just the start of the next phase of the season that can last several more months, depending on where you live. I’ve even gone as far as to delay the start of my season in the fall just so I have extra motivation come springtime. And, truth be told, some of the best turns of the year happen after the lifts stop spinning.
While everyone else is reaching for their mountain and road bikes, consider holding off putting away your skis and snowboard just yet. Spring skiing can make up for lost turns during a subpar winter and is arguably the best time of the year to go explore new terrain and bigger objectives. Winter is still out there, even if it’s in a different form, and the snow deserves another visit. Here’s why:
It’s (generally) stable
Remember all those persistent slab problems of the winter months? Well, generally speaking, those heal come springtime. While this isn’t a green light to ski everything, everywhere, it does open up a lot of options that might have had you puckering mid-winter. By all means still proceed with caution, but there’s a reason that a lot of bigger lines aren’t in until April.
It’s hard to have lift lines when the lifts aren’t spinning, and every skier that’s now reaching for his or her mountain bike to ride the one trail that’s melted out means one less skier out there. Sure, it’s a bit more work to get turns, but they can be every bit as worthy as those mid-season lift-access turns, sans the crowds.
It’s easy going
As far as mountain travel goes, there may be no easier time to move around than the spring months. On the right day, it’s as if all of scree, boulders, stumps and roots have been smoothed over with a perfect sheet of concrete. You can fly on the way up and the way down, exceeding even your fastest summer and fall times. Plus you get to ski instead of run downhill.
Days are long
As far as backcountry adventures go, daylight is your friend, and we have more of that right now than any time during the ski season, and tomorrow will be even longer. Between extended hours and ease of travel, those far-off objectives are a little closer, and you could even still squeeze in a bike ride when you get home.
November is a long way off
If nothing else, remember next ski season is a long way off and it’s going to be a while before you can scratch that itch again. Do that November you a favor (you know, the one that’s constantly staring at the forecast), and milk a few more days out of the season. Trust me, it will be far better than talking yourself into skiing grass and rocks after that first snowfall.