Spring in Vail is different than it is in other parts of the country.
Where many parts in the United States are seeing the fluorescent green of young shoots and early blooms on the pear trees, here in Vail Valley, the mountains are still picturesquely bright white.
What this means is that the season of spring skiing has officially started in Vail Valley! Some people wait all year for spring skiing with a plethora of fresh powder and warmer temperatures that make it more enjoyable. Thousands pour into this community of 5,500 with Spring Breakers looking to have a great week of vacation skiing. To assist in having the best possible time, here are the top 8 tips and reminders about spring skiing in Vail.
1. WATERPROOF! The snow can be wet and heavy. This simply means that some of your snow gear isn’t actually ready for this kind of weather. Really look for moisture-wicking materials that won’t soak up water like some snow gear can and will. If you don’t want to invest in a new wardrobe, simply be sure to bring a outer shell that is water proof and you will be fine.
2. LAYERS! Be sure to layer up! Although it seems confusing to people visiting and new to this area it’s not uncommon to start the day in warm snow gear only to remove it to ski in a tee shirt in the afternoon! This is one of the most magical aspects of spring skiing in Vail.
3. SUNSCREEN! Speaking of the warm weather- don’t forget the Sunscreen. The sun is more intense in the higher elevation and it will reflect off of the snow. Although it is an after thought for most visitors, sunscreen is a necessity for spring skiing. Many people are surprised at the intensity of it and end up leaving the slopes with sunburn. So, plan to apply it generously in the morning and then reapply it in the afternoon when you remove a few layers.
4. ICE! Always check with CDot (Colorado Weather Alerts) when traveling or for current road conditions. While driving to and from the slopes, keep in mind that this wet snow will freeze differently than snow in January, February and some of March. Although road crews up here work tirelessly, black ice can happen and there were numerous wrecks last March and April. Drive carefully, even on roads that appear to be completely clear as spring snow storms can be brutal- while leaving tons of perfect powder to ski in!
5. Because of the cold overnight conditions and the warm afternoons, the snow can become slushy. If you plan on skiing during the warm part of the day try to stay at the top of the mountain where it is less likely to get slushy. For best skiing conditions and experience, hit the slopes early and take the rest of the day to explore all that Vail Valley has to offer.
6. Most Avalanches occur in the early months of winter and also in late spring skiing. The snow is unstable and spring storms can dump a lot of snow very quickly, making prime avalanche conditions. Skiing on groomed trails is best during this time of year. If back country skiing is more your thing, be sure to check out (Colorado Avalanche Information Center) for avalanche reports and safety tips.
7. Tree wells are a startlingly unknown part of resort “tree” skiing and back country skiing. Fortunately this year has given it more attention through a few viral videos of people escaping from them. A shocking 20% ski deaths occurred last year were by expert level skiers and from people skiing alone that fell into a tree well. If you are in to back country skiing, which Vail Valley boasts some of the best mountains in the country and should be safely taken advantage of, take a buddy and be mindful when skiing through trees. (Tree Wells)
8. The spring Apres ski opportunities are even better than the winter time ones! With milder temperatures, outdoor eating and activities starts to show it’s face for the first time! The hot colorado sun helps out! (Vail Activities)
All in all, spring is one of the best times to be in Vail Valley. Another highlight is the “Taste of Vail” event, click here to find out more and get tickets!