With just under four weeks of spring skiing left on Blackcomb Mountain, there’s a ton of fun to be had! We know – it’s the end of the season and you’re feeling more sendy than ever. Still, it’s important to understand potential hazards so you can keep yourself, and those around you, safe. With that in mind, here are our top tips for safe spring skiing.
1) Understand Conditions: Even though it’s warmer outside, it’s still important to check the weather every day before you ski or ride. Conditions are extremely variable this time of year. Overnight, it’s still cold on the mountain, which causes the previous day’s slush to harden up – great for speedy groomer runs in the morning. Any snow that sits in direct sunlight will soften as the day goes on. It’s important to take your time and adjust to these often quickly-changing conditions due to overnight cooling and daytime warming.
2) Obey Signage: In the spring, avalanche hazards in our alpine zones can change hour by the hour, so it’s important to pay attention to closures and signage. We may be in-bounds, but this is still technically avalanche terrain. Please pay attention to signage and respect it.
3) Get Waxed: As mentioned above, the snow softens significantly throughout the day this time of year, especially when exposed to sun. It’s advised that you get your skis or board waxed to avoid getting stuck in a situation where you may need to call Patrol or hike out. Our retail locations in Whistler Village offer tuning and waxing services so that you can optimize your skis and boards for spring!
4) Avoid Tree Runs: While cruising through the trees on a massive mid-season powder day can be an incredible experience, doing so in the spring is riskier. With the snow melting, obstacles previously buried are coming to the surface in forested areas. Things like tree stumps, rocks, and fallen logs are all popping up and can be extremely hazardous to you and your gear. Also, tree wells are still a danger and you should be avoiding trunks of trees and ALWAYS ski with a buddy!
5) Protect Your Skin: Just because we aren’t in the heat of summer, doesn’t mean you’re not at risk. It’s still important to protect yourself from the sun – especially in the alpine where sun exposure can be stronger! Your Oakleys might give you a cool goggle tan, but it’s not worth the sun damage – wear sunscreen and SPF lip balm to avoid a burn.
6) Consider Downloading: The lower portion of Blackcomb Mountain is getting slushier with each passing day. Obstacles like rocks, ditches, holes, and branches are starting to poke through the snow. Save damage to yourself and your equipment by downloading either Excalibur Gondola (7 days a week) or Blackcomb Gondola (weekends).
Spring skiing is a magical time of year here in Whistler. We hope you stay safe while soaking up those sunny final turns!