Take any week in Colorado from January to April and flip a coin on whether it’s winter or spring. Even on the warmer days, you can still get out early and enjoy some runs in the backcountry. Check out these five tips for spring backcountry skiing.
What to Wear
It’s warmer out now and you’re going to roast in your usual gear if you’re hiking for each run. Thin, breathable fabric is ideal for your legs and upper body. Softshell pants and nylon or acrylic type fabric shirts will shed moisture quickly. Cotton is usually faux pas but it can be a layer that protects you from the sun and keeps you cool.
Sun protection is extremely important during this time of year. Hats, gloves and sunscreen are vital pieces to keep your body healthy for years to come of backcountry skiing.
Just like your pants and shirt, a breathable nylon or acrylic hat will keep you cool during the sweatier parts of your day. Full circle brim hats are more effective than your ordinary ball cap. Trade fashion for function and protect your noggin.
Lightweight gloves will protect your hands against the sun and abrasions from falling. Find a pair you love and keep them in your pack for every trip.
Sunscreen seems like an unspoken item to bring along, but many of us can forget how intense the Colorado sun is, year round. It’s an easy way to protect your skin from the sun. Use these considerations when choosing your sunscreen: does it stay on when you sweat, does it sting your eyes and it is SPF 40 or better?
Eye protection is another piece to remember before you go “snow blind.” These glasses or goggles need to be rated to filter 100 percent of UV and IR rays, blocking light coming in at all angles.
Wax Your Skis or Snowboard
Hitting abrasive snow in the backcountry can cause your skis or snowboard to pick up more gunk than you want. Making sure your equipment is waxed before heading out will make for a much better trip.
Hydration bladders are perfect for spring backcountry skiing. You don’t have to worry about the sip tube freezing. The minimum amount you’ll want to bring with you is a liter. Bigger days can call for athletic activity drinks over water for a little extra oompf. Experiment with what you enjoy and find works best for you on your runs.
Don’t Forget The Essentials
It’s warmer out and can be easy to think you don’t need everything in your pack that you have had all season. A survival kit will always come in handy so don’t leave it out. It can contain a butane lighter, avalanche safety gear, first-aid, waterproof matches and a repair kit. Don’t forget a bit of extra food in case you are out longer than expected.
We know you’re all ready to getting early starts for runs. Spring weather can bring sun heat quicker than usual and heavily influence snowpack conditions. Plus, being up earlier means more runs for the day.
Enjoy the season for as long as possible with these five tips for spring backcountry skiing. Have tips of your own? Let us know!