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In spring conditions, be ready to adjust to changing surfaces

The thing about spring skiing is making its promise live up to its potential.

Idyllic sun-splashed days divided between leisurely runs over corn snow and leisurely siestas on the sun deck, a picnic here, a barbecue there - any PR person who can't make it sound fantastic should go back to the School of Purple Prose Press Releases.

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In the real world, on the other hand, spring skiing can be ice at the top, mush at the bottom, slush in the parking lot, and sunburn on your schnozzle.

Cary Adgate, who leads the Eastern pro ski circuit going into the North American Pro Ski Championships April 10-11 at Stowe, Vt., has some tips to help make spring skiing all it's supposed to be.

The ex-US ski team regular, now seeking the biggest first prize in pro skiing history: $10,000, says in the spring it's more vital than ever to keep your weight centered over your skis, neither forward nor back.

OK, but that's not always easy when you're hitting every kind of snow, from fast to face-plant stop. So Cary says, ''It's important to keep your center of gravity lower over the skis'' than you might normally do. Coming out of the shade of the trees, for example, you may hit sunny snow that's a lot slower. By being lower over your skis, you'll be better prepared to adjust to the changes, says Cary.

Cary also advises to dress in layers even more than you do in winter. Mornings and late afternoons can be cold, with shirtsleeve weather in between. Be prepared to keep a windbreaker or shell and a sweater in a day pack or tied around your waist. Sunglasses and sun protection cream are musts, particularly at high altitudes. And keep the insides of your boots dry. This is one time not to ski with your top boot buckle unbuttoned, and gaiters or over-the-boot pants are not a bad idea.

Now go enjoy the second season.

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