Ask the Expert: Spring skiing tips

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Ask the expert: Spring skiing
WATCH ABOVE: Cole Fawcett from Castle Mountain joins Jordan Witzel with tips on spring skiing – Mar 18, 2019

Warmer weather doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pack up your skis and call it a season.

Though it brings with its own unique set of challenges, spring skiing is still an option.

READ MORE: Spring skiing, snowboarding draws many to Alberta ski resort before season ends

Cole Fawcett, sales and marketing manager for Castle Mountain Resort, joined Global Calgary on Monday as part of our Ask the Expert series with tips on how to have the best spring skiing experience.

Always wear sunscreen

Snow reflects about 80 per cent of the sun’s rays, Fawcett warned, adding that UV radiation increases four or five per cent for every 300 metres of elevation you gain. As such, unprotected skin can burn quickly if you aren’t wearing SPF on your face. Wearing a lip balm with SPF is also recommended.

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Along with helping prevent brain injury, wearing a helmet helps keep your scalp from burning.

“There really isn’t an excuse not to wear a helmet,” Fawcett said. “Many of them do provide several layers of ventilation.”

Fawcett also suggests investing in a pair of goggles with interchangeable lenses so you can adjust them depending on the time of day, the amount of sunshine and the sun angle.

Be cautious of the impact warm weather has on the snowpack

The spring often brings with it a freeze-thaw cycle, which can lead to mushy snow during the day that freezes to become hard-packed at night.

Fawcett recommends looking for areas of the mountain that face north where snow consistency may be less affected by sunlight. He said this is where you’ll often find mid-winter-like snow even far into the spring.

Fawcett also recommends sticking to groomed runs in the morning until a firm snowpack is softened by sunlight in mid-to-late morning.

Dress in layers

Mornings can still be quite cold in the spring with temperatures well below zero before climbing as the day goes on. As such, Fawcett suggests dressing in layers so those who hit the slopes for a full day can maintain a comfortable temperature.

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Fawcett said most skiers are going to start the day with a next-to-skin layer or a base layer, a mid-layer or an insulating layer, and a shell. He said as the temperature warms up, it’s the mid-layer that will be taken off.

More details on Castle Mountain Resort

This coming weekend is Castle Mountain’s last for cat-skiing operations, but lift-serviced terrain will remain open until April 7.

Passes for next year’s ski season are already available.

Castle Mountain Resort is located in southwest Alberta about 230 kilometres from Calgary.

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