If you have ever been spring skiing or snowboarding in the Rockies, you know that the snowpack is deepest this time of year, the skies are sunnier, and air temperatures can be downright balmy. As long as you are prepared with lighter clothing and good sunscreen (!), what’s not to love about all that? Spring is also the time to experience the sheer of “corn snow,” which happens as the hard snow softens and forms little granules that look like corn. Turning on this kind of snow, whether you are on skis or a snowboard, requires a bit more oomph than when you’re on powder, but with a little practice, you’ll soon be having a blast. Corn snow tends to have a pleasingly uniform surface, perfect for fast gliding and predictable, smooth turns.
If you are more into cross-country or skate skiing, spring snow has surprises in store for you, too. The cycles of melting and refreezing that occur on backcountry cross-country ski trails in spring cause a firm, upper crust to form on top of the snowpack. If you head out early in the morning, before temperatures rise, you can actually ski on top of this crust. No longer confined to groomed roads and trails, you can freely explore areas that were inaccessible during the colder months of winter. The best place to experience skate skiing or cross country skiing this time of year is in Grand Teton National Park.