Home USA How to ski well in iffy conditions – Boston Herald

How to ski well in iffy conditions – Boston Herald


If you’re not new to ski life, you know that everything – no matter where you are – doesn’t always come up fresh corduroy and powder shots.

If you’re newer to ski life, it’s not your fault you don’t know that. Snowmaking has evolved so well that, with even the most questionable of weather, you’ll usually find some good lines to ski out there.

But this year – particularly in the northeast and Europe, it’s been a huge challenge. Even the best systems need the right combo of temperature and humidity (called “Wet Bulb”) and this season of crazy, confusing weather has been a wild challenge for even the most gifted of snowmakers.

In these times, I adapt not just my expectations (easy for me as a now five-decade long skier) as well as my game plan. Here are some tips should you head out on a more challenging snow day this year.

Dress for wet: Even with the sun out, there’s a chance you’ll ski through some snowmaking, and that can make you damp pretty fast. Make sure your jacket and ski pants are actually waterproof – and bring your goggles, you’ll want them if you should need to ski through that manmade but glorious storm.

Embrace the greens and blues: You may crave extreme, but you can find true joy on the easier trails as well. Don’t think that only greens and blues mean your day won’t be complete; cruising those trails is fun and freeing. For advanced skiers, it’s a chance to explore parts of the mountain you may have missed. And for lower level skiers, it’s a chance to ski as a group with friends you may usually just meet at apres. Win/win.

Talk to the staff: Ski area staff wants you to have fun, and when snowmaking is ongoing and trails are iffy, you can hit some challenging spots out there. My day at the River, I was about to head to a trail I like and an employee gave me a heads up.

“The first hundred feet or so it’s pretty rough,” he warned me. “You’ll be fine but you might not love it.” I appreciate that kind of input. I avoided that trail and went the way they told me to and had a perfect run. Nice customer service, Sunday River. We all appreciate that kind of honesty.

Take a lesson: A lesser trail day can be a great change to work on your skills. The instructor will know where the snow is good, and since you’ll be focused on skills, you don’t need a lot of varied terrain. It’s a good way to get a lot of a perhaps lesser day.

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