In March the weather can be warm one day and strikingly cold the second day. The sun can be bright one day. And the sky can be dark and gray the next day.
In March and April crowds can be nonexistent.
No doubt about it, March and April can offer memorable skiing and riding. Most commonly, for season pass holders, locals, and dedicated weekend warriors, the thinning crowds, the mix of warm days and sun, and the possibility of spring powder keeps the “diehards” planning spring escapes.
Most folks stop skiing and riding too early.
Spring can vary dramatically on the slopes. On one area of the mountain the snow can become so soft it’s a real - excuse the pun - bear to ski. Elsewhere the snow texture may feel like corn. High on the mountain, in the shade, you may even experience harder, icy conditions.
You can sweat at the base and shiver at the summit.
Fortunately Mount Snow and nearby Stratton Mountain are so vast snow can easily vary from slush to ice. Temperatures can vary from shirtsleeve warmth to midwinter cold. Crowds can vary from jovial exuberance on the bumps on the North Face at Mount Snow to quiet solitude at the Snowbowl at Stratton
Spring skiing can yield special memories.
Take stock of your options. Can you recall that weekend when you were so cold that your toes and fingers felt numb? Picture soft snow. Picture a clear sky. Picture yourself playing in soft forgiving moguls. Picture a picnic lunch with friends.
Start early when the snow is firm. By late afternoon it may resemble a slush cup.
Know, too, a midwinter-like powder “dump” is not without possibility. And without midwinter crowds, fresh tracks are a true possibility.
Consider these keys to a spring escape:
Spring Escape Pointer #1: Expect the unexpected. In the mountains, weather is fickle. Conditions can change quickly. Plan accordingly. Temperatures may change. Snow conditions may change. Stay mentally loose. Stay relaxed. Savor the moment.
Spring Escape Pointer #2: Start the day early. In spring, snow conditions change quickly. On a great day that means hard, firm, conditions in the morning, and possibly softer snow midday.
Spring Escape Pointer #3: Dress in layers. Spring temperatures can vary. It may be cold early. It may feel very warm by noon. Bring a pack to stash clothes. Consider wearing a vest.
Spring Escape Pointer #4: Use sunblock. Wearsunglasses. Snow reflects the sun. Do not neglect to use sunblock and to wear sunglasses.
The good news is that Vermont’s spring skiing adventures can be surprisingly delightful. Consider skiing and riding through skiing’s second season. You might be surprised. You may experience mid winter powder. You may experience soft bumps.
Whatever your experience, savor your adventure, from your first run to your last run.
Columnist Tony Crespi is a frequent contributor to publications throughout snow country. His column is published throughout the season.