Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Anticipating Spring

I heard a rumor that Jackson Ski Touring might try to stay open until April 20. Sheer depth of snow might make this seem like a reasonable course of action, but meteorological reality usually proves otherwise.

By mid April, the snowpack should have degenerated to a state of deepening slushiness that would only be offset by solidly freezing nights. While the latitude and elevation of the touring center suggests this possibility, skier interest usually drops off sharply at the beginning of April. The casual trippers want to trip in other directions, and the hard-core skiers have gone into their favorite haunts off-piste. Don't go away mad, just go off-piste.

Groomed surfaces will probably offer premium conditions for approximately 20 minutes of each day. On the other hand, a settled snowpack offers a good surface for fat boards in the great wilderness of your choice for hours of fun. Slow snow is not such a problem if you match it to the right steepness of slope. Trudge up and let gravity do the work.

You see, deep snow will not turn April into March no matter how much you wish for it.

For the devoted few, April's unrelenting slush probably offers consistent kick with warm klisters or sporty non-wax skis, but I'd really rather spend a nice half or full day out dodging trees in a few spots I know. Others flock to Tuckerman Ravine to join the lemmings hurtling off the headwall. Ravine devotees who know the territory also venture off to the less accessible steep and treeless venues. Less known and more strenuous to reach, these are therefore less spackled with dubious humanity under the influence of gravity (if nothing else).

Jackson Ski Touring!

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