When the season’s calendar turns to spring about early March it arrives with the perfect opportunity for beginners, especially kids, to get out on the slopes. Why? Well, we’ll explain.
1. No cold fingers and toes
Whoever invented toe warmers deserves a Nobel prize, but even those small pouches of life-giving goodness have their limits. In the beginning, it’s all about having fun, and it’s hard to have fun if you can’t feel your fingers or toes. With warmer temps come happier extremities, and that’s no small thing, especially for the kids. Yes, warmer weather means all of us can focus on learning skills, not figuring how to get to the base lodge quicker for hot chocolate. Heading home with “raccoon eyes” will make you the envy of all your friends.
2. Shorter lift lines, more groomer lines
No one’s ever learned how to ski standing in a lift line. Getting multiple reps in succession is the best way to progress. In the middle of winter, when lift lines are at their longest, it can be hard to get into a flow. Fewer crowds also just mean fewer hassles. Learning to ski can be daunting enough without navigating lines to get lift tickets, rent gear, etc.
You’ll find deals on everything from tickets and lodging to rentals and lessons in the spring when reduced demand typically equates to reduced rates. And in some cases, it’s even free. Many mountains offer those who purchase a new season pass for the following winter the ability to use it right away. With some ski resorts like Mammoth staying open into the late spring and summer, that equates to as much as three free months of skiing and riding when you commit to purchasing a pass for next winter. You can also find some good deals on gear this time of year, as retailers slash prices on remaining inventory.
4. The vibe is different
You may have heard the saying that there’s “no friends on a powder day.” We think whoever coined that phrase needs new friends, but regardless, the opposite is true in the spring. An experience that can feel intimidating in the winter—lift lines packed full of powder hounds frothing at the mouth to get their fix—is much more approachable in the springtime. As the temps climb, it’s all about having fun, being outside in the sunshine with friends and enjoying the last couple months of the season. For new skiers and snowboarders, that translates to a much more enjoyable learning experience. It’s easy to remind yourself that this is supposed to be fun and not to take it too seriously when everyone else is doing the same.
5. The snow is softer
The painful truth is that in the beginning, new skiers and snowboarders are going to fall. It’s not a bad thing. It’s the only way to improve, but it also may mean a few bumps and bruises along the way. In the springtime, the snow tends to soften up a bit, reducing the size of those bumps and bruises, even if slightly. When it comes to one’s tailbone, “slightly” isn’t trivial.
So, where should you ski?
Here’s a thought you might not have considered when choosing a resort for beginners in the spring: Often, the great mountains for intermediates through experts are perfect for beginners in the spring because they often feature huge swaths easily-accessed surprisingly mellow terrain. And be sure to head to an area where the ski school has lots of instructors for beginners. Consider Beaver Creek, Steamboat and Copper Mt. in Colorado; Mammoth Mountain and Palisades Tahoe in California and Park City Mountain Resort in Utah.
Vail Resorts just released their late season roster for 2022: The extensions span resorts across the country including Stevens Pass in Washington State, Heavenly and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe, Vail Mountain in Colorado, Boston Mills in Ohio, Hunter Mountain in New York, and Mount Snow in Vermont. Additionally, Breckenridge in Colorado and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia will remain open through late May, as planned, conditions permitting.