Guide to Spring Skiing

Mar. 3, 2016

Sun-filled days, endless blue skies and temperatures that make you feel spoiled—spring skiing in Vail is an experience all its own. The snow is soft, the vibe is laid-back and the après scene takes on a new energy. If winter skiing is all you’ve known, get ready to enjoy the mountain in a whole new way as you close the season out in style.


What To Expect

  • A late start. No waking up with the birds to get first chair and fresh powder – hit that snooze button and let the sun work its magic before getting on the mountain. Head into town for a hearty breakfast and hit the slopes afterward so the snow has time to soften.
  • Soft, easy snow conditions. Soft snow = easy skiing for the whole family. Vail’s south-facing sunlit terrain is where you’ll find more cruise-able snow, like in our unrivaled Back Bowls. If you feel the need for speed, stick to the shade where the snow is packed and firm.
  • Tons of fun! Spring skiing is all about having a good time, so expect a lively crowd. You might even see locals and visitors dressed in eye-catching costumes or their most outrageous 80s ski gear while whooshing down groomers – or while starting the après party early.
  • Check the weather. Spring skiing is warm and sunny most of the time, but Colorado weather patterns can sneak in a springtime snowstorm every once in a while. It’s always best to be prepared before you get on the mountain.
  • Book a ski guide. Vail’s expert guides know the mountain and its current snow conditions like the backs of their hands. Book an instructor who can show you their favorite spring skiing spots while giving you tips on navigating our terrain in any weather.

Gear Up

  • Dress appropriately. Warmer temperatures are the best part of spring skiing, and those temps mean changes in the type of clothes you should wear on the slopes. Dress in breathable layers and opt for a jacket, ski pants and helmet with vents so you have the option to cool off as you soak up the sun.
  • Wax on, wax off. Watch out for “super glue,” or the sticky spots that form from melted slush, usually at the bottom of the mountain near the lifts. Give your skis or board some oomph with a good warm weather wax to keep you moving and grooving.
  • Have the right gear. Leave your powder skis at home – spring snow is heavier, so you’ll need a ski or board that can carve into it. Our knowledgeable rental staff is happy to make sure you have the right gear for these warm, dazzling days. Rent your gear online before you arrive so it’s ready when you get here.
  • Sport some SPF. Sunburn is not just a hazard of beach vacations. With every 3,000′ increase in altitude, UV levels rise by 10-12%, so slather on some sunscreen before you gear up. If you forget before you head out, don’t worry. You can purchase Supergoop! Broad Spectrum sun care products at retail locations on the mountain and in the village, so you’ll be prepared all vacation.
  • Get sun-friendly lenses. Your regular goggles may be great for flat light conditions, but they might not be your best option when the sun is shining brightly. Check out Smith goggles’ lens finder to help choose the ideal lens for the spring sun. If it’s warm enough, you could even break out a pair of sunglasses – foldable frames are compact and easy to carry.

Springtime Specialties

  • Après all day! Skiing is what brought you here, but it’s the après that’ll make you want to stay. There’s something about warmer weather that makes a mid-morning Bloody Mary or afternoon brew hit the spot. Springtime means it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere in Vail.
  • BBQ at Belles Camp. Combine two springtime favorites at Belle’s Camp, where you can BBQ while taking a break on the way to the Back Bowls. Just throw some hot dogs in a backpack and cook your own lunch using the grills on the mountain hut’s deck. There’s nothing better than a home-cooked meal 11,480 feet high!
  • Our epic end-of-season send-off. Spring Back to Vail celebrates the close of the season with live music, ample après parties and, of course, the World Pond Skimming Championships. Visit Vail April 8-10 and take in the electric atmosphere while sending off another successful season. We’ll see you back here next season!

 

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