Decisions, Decisions: Skiing Spring Snow

Among the many things skiers like to rhapsodize about from “back in the old days” is that winters were far colder and stuck around longer than they do today.


Growing up in Central New York in the early/mid-1970s, I still remember traipsing through shoulder-deep snow to deliver the Syracuse Post-Standard at 5 am every morning while walking backwards for most of my route to avoid getting blasted in the face by sub-zero wind gusts.

While 2013-14 hasn’t been a record breaker for snow, it’s been noticeably colder than recent seasons and has delayed the arrival of spring skiing.

mj Rockin the Corn

Spring skiing means different things to different people – carving big arcs through luscious corn snow, plowing through soft bumps, inhaling the sweet smell of warm breezes, lounging on an Adirondack chair in the sun with a cold beer in your hand, grilling burgers, and if you’re lucky, checking out the fairer sex making turns in bikinis.

At the same time, it’s a bittersweet time because everyone knows that the end of the lift-served season is near and that we’ll soon be, for better or worse, transitioning to warm-weather pursuits.

The Belleayre Deck

While I’ve logged gorgeous spring days all over the northeast, including Gore, Whiteface, and the furthest north I’ve ever been, Mont Edouard (Québec), the ones that really stick in my mind are places closer to home.

One of my favorites was during the second week of April 2007, when a surprise 13-inch dump turned Belleayre into an old-school late-season paradise with stunningly soft conditions and a memorable late afternoon nursing beers on the outdoor deck.

Windham Base Area and Fire Pit

A visit to Windham in late March 2011 featured an empty mountain, sun-ripened perfection on the slopes (someone on another ski forum referred to this condition as “cornfection”), and mixed drinks on the base-area patio.

If you’ve never been to Windham on a spring weekday, with its two high-speed quads and two distinct aspects so you can follow the sun, you’re in for a treat.


And then comes the saddest and most curious sensation of all, when I’m standing at the top of the hill in mid-April knowing that this is “last call” – the final run of the season and I’ll probably be waiting more than seven months to click into my skis again.

Even though it’s often a temporary goodbye (until next season), there’s always a melancholy feeling that I’ll never get this moment back again – and the truth is, I won’t. Decision time is coming: where is your favorite place to make spring turns?

3 comments on “Decisions, Decisions: Skiing Spring Snow

  1. Spring seems to be late to arrive this year in the East, my home mt is closing this Sat. I haven’t skied in shorts nor have I experienced the White Ribbon of life at any ski area yet.{amazing in the NE) I love lapping Northface at Platt in the Spring and have had fun Sprnng days at Hunter and Windham. Last season I hit on two perfect spring skiing wkends at Gore.

  2. This coming week in the Catskills looks good. Always seem to have the best days at Belleayre. Any plans, JD, to head up to this neck of the woods?

  3. I was there that day at the Belle in 07 with that late season storm. Easily one of my favorites as well! The deck at Belleayre is a great place to be on a nice spring day and the pond skim at Hunter is always a good time…and their cover seems to hold up the best.

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