Spring Skiing in Whistler, BC
Just because the flowers are beginning to sprout does not mean it’s time to put your skis away.
Empty slopes + Sunny days + Soft Snow = Great Spring Skiing.
While the storms slowing down may mean less frequent pow days than the midwinter, the accumulated snowpack is deep and you won’t be freezing your butt off in negative temps and heavy winds. Warm weather during the day coupled with lows below freezing overnight result in excellent skiing conditions. Add to this the fact that there are less people on the mountain, and the sun shining and it's not hard to see why we love spring skiing.
An added bonus to longer days and more sun in Whistler in the Spring is the ability to do multiple sports in one day. When you come down off the hill, slip out of your ski boots and into your golf shoes or trade your ski helmet for your bike helmet and explore the trails in the valley that are clear of snow and just waiting to be shredded. Of course if you’re more of an apres lover there's also plenty of patios to enjoy a cool refreshment on.
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What to Pack
When it comes to packing, not all ski trips should be treated the same. Be sure to take the following tips into account to prepare for your spring getaway.
It can still be chilly in the mornings but the days warm up quickly when you’re ripping laps in the sun. Leave the thick long johns and down jacket at home and opt for shell pants and jacket instead. Dress to stay dry and warm in the morning but focus on layers that you can strip them off as the day warms up.
By the end of the day it isn’t unheard of to be skiing in a t-shirt. It’s not a bad idea to bring a backpack to hold the layers as you shed them so you don’t have to interrupt your day to return to the hotel to change.
Sunny Day Lenses
Check your google lenses and make sure you’re prepared for the sun. Those lowlight lenses you used in February will almost certainly leave you squinting in the spring sun - a mirrored lens with a darker tint is ideal for spring skiing.
Light Gloves and Socks
Don’t forget to swap your gloves and socks options - focus on gloves that are wind and water resistant rather than insulated, and choose a thinner wool sock.
Local’s tip: don’t forget the sunscreen!
Be sure to put sunscreen on your face in the morning and reapply throughout the day as you expose more skin. The reflected sun rays off the snow can quickly result in sunburn if you aren’t prepared.
Prepare your Skis/Snowboard
Spring snow can be variable and as it warms up it often becomes sticky. You’ll be a lot happier if your skis or board have a fresh coat of wax that’s made for warmer temperatures.
Where to Ski
The trick to spring skiing is moving with the sun. Low overnight temps will start the day off with firm snow but as the sun hits it the snow begins to melt and soften. Begin your morning on the south-facing runs as these will be the quickest to turn soft and sticky. When this happens you should move towards the more East facing slopes. Late in the day you will want to favour the Western aspects, while finally finishing your day on the most Northerly terrain.
As you can see from the lack of snow in the valley, the temperatures warm up as you get nearer to the base of the mountains. It’s best to stay on the mid to upper mountain in the spring, that is unless you’re looking to try out slush surfing.
It is also advisable to avoid the trees in the spring – as the snow falls off the branches it creates variable conditions that just aren’t the most enjoyable. There’s often also debris and sap that can damage and slow down your skis. On that note we should also mention avoiding dirty snow – the grit isn’t a friend to your bases.