Ready for Spring Skiing!

By J.R. Murray, General Manager

After two feet of new snow this week, Snowbowl is more than ready for spring skiing! Everyone enjoys spring skiing; the days are longer, warmer, and the snow gets better as the day progresses. Spring skiing in March is at its best when the snow cover is deep like it is at Snowbowl—we are almost at 300” total snowfall for the season with a mid-mountain base over 100”.

Soft snow and sunny skies! Spring skiing at its best.

Great skiing begins with great grooming and our groomers know how to make adjustments for spring conditions. Snowbowl groomers work in two shifts with first shift beginning right after the ski patrol sweeps the mountain each day. Our veteran groomers tackle the upper mountain on first shift as the snow freezes sooner at the higher elevations. First shift is also when our special winch snowcat works on the steepest terrain. Second shift groomers work the lower mountain making sure the beginner terrain has the best surface at 9 AM.

Perfect corduroy, thanks to our expert groomers and state-of-the-art snowcats.

This season we acquired a special “park cat” that is designed with unique front and rear implements for shaping terrain park features. We also use the park cat for normal trail grooming once the terrain parks are completed. You can see the groomers pass by each day around 5:30 PM and again in the morning when they are working around the lodges and decks. Snowcats are very technical with microprocessors and many hydraulic functions to make the fantastic surface skiers expect in the morning. During warm spring days the snow gets softer throughout the day. It is the job of the groomers to smooth out the snow each night and leave behind the “corduroy” surface that is so fun to ski first thing in the morning.

Our new park cat. Notice the rear tool used for shaping features.

When I ski in March I go directly to the freshly groomed trails like Ridge, Route 66, or Hart Prairie. Once the sun rises over the ski area the sunny slopes are best right after the sun warms the snow.  In the afternoon certain trails have corn snow which is similar to a sno-cone and it skis really well. Mogul runs take a little more time to soften depending on the sun, but by lunch time most moguls are ready for the taking. A good rule of thumb is when you see skiers removing clothing layers or skiing in T-shirts, the snow has completely softened.

The magnificent clear view from the top of the new Grand Canyon Express lift.

My recommendation is to ski the groomers first then venture to the sun exposed trails as the day warms up. I don’t ski in shorts or T-shirts anymore but did when I was younger!

Thanks for reading and see you on the mountain soaking up the sun!