Adjust to changing conditions for continued good time on slopes
Spring skiing is right around the corner and you might want to take a few minutes out to get ready for the changing conditions.
It’s the same old routine, of course: follow the sun, ski the corn and escape the California cement. That’s a given and if you don’t know the timetable at a resort, ask a ski patroller or instructor. They’ll know.
What may not be a given is that spring skiing can be a lot more fun if your skis and boards are prepped for the corn snow and warmer weather.
While waxing is super critical (if you have them around, check the last two issues of Ski Times for Dana Jo Turvey’s words on waxing), you may want to consider reworking the structure of your bases. Structure is, of course, the way tiny lines are incised into the Ptex bases, channeling melting snow out from under the bases.
You have to be a pro and have pro equipment to structure the base of skis or boards, and it requires taking a little of the base off, which means in the long run you’ll have to have the bases flattened out sometime in the future.
So take your gear to a shop you trust and ask them what kind of structure you have now and if it would be wise to adapt it to spring conditions.
Frankly, this is a little further than I usually want to go. My old Volants, patched up to near perfection by Mark at the House of Ski, seem to work just fine in the spring stuff, but for the real expert a restructuring may be the thing to do.
Then there’s the waxing. I like to do a hot wax job about once a week when I’m on my skis a lot. However, I touch the bases up with a rub-on wax about every day. I use something called Notwax, which doesn’t seem to be on the market any more, but any rub-on will help.
And in spring skiing you’ll pick up all that crud that surfaces as the snow melts down. That means after a day on the hill, you’ll probably want to get that guck off the bases. I’ve used all kinds of stuff from lighter fluid to fire starter to rubbing alcohol. Of course, taking the crud off usually takes wax off with it. Which means, well, more waxing.
But spring skiing is worth it.
There’s a couple of places where spring ski picnics are almost required. For me, one of them is just below the top of the Slide Mountain lift at Mount Rose, where a big flat rock is a perfect table.
Then there are the decks, thronged in early afternoon after the snow has softened. Sugar Bowl’s new lodge has some of the biggest and nicest decks around Tahoe, but every resort has plenty of footage for just sitting in the sun and dozing.
On Friday night the annual Snowfest of the North Shore kicks off with a torchlight parade, music and general good times at Squaw Valley. Snowfest is celebrated all along the North Shore with all kinds of events. Just go and wander.
And it’s Italy’s Alberto Tomba skiing away for fun and charity at Squaw Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, four-person teams will race, and on Sunday, you can ski against La Bomba’s time for prizes. Proceeds go to help develop skiing in the U.S.
At Sierra-at-Tahoe, the Vans/G Shock Triple Crown of Snowboarding continues, with snowboardcross and big air qualifiers going on all day Friday, halfpipe qualifying Saturday at 8 a.m. and big air finals 2 to 4 p.m. On Sunday, there will be the halfpipe finals at 12:30. This is big stuff for the shredders as well as for spectators.
At Northstar-at-Tahoe, there’s a night-ride halfpipe event Saturday at 6 p.m. with sign-ups all day. Open to all riders of all ages. Also on March 6 is demo day for all the new snow toys such as snow bikes, snow scoots and ski foxes. Free with purchase of a lift ticket.
Diamond Peak offers a nifty family ski package much like that Mount Rose has where for $45 you get an all-day adult and all-day child lift tickets. Add-ons cost $7 for kids, $26 for youths and $32 for adults.
Corporate Ski Challenge is on tap at Alpine Meadows. Put together a team and join in. Call (530) 581-8293 for details.
Homewood Mountain Resort hosts the Tahoe Snowboard Series this weekend with races Saturday and Sunday.
Kirkwood is holding its Celebrity Winterfest Saturday, with the Northern California Special Olympics Winter Games March 8-11.
And get out the long skis – and we do mean long – for the National Longboard Championships Sunday March 21 at historic Soda Springs! If you’ve never seen racers on 12- to 14-foot-long skis, this is something not to be missed. No gates, nothing but a straight run down a moderate slope with a single pole to control speed.
Live music, prizes, trophies, BBQ, dancing and longboard racing all in one day. And while there, why not try tubing? Details, (530) 546-3361.
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