Spring snowboarding and skiing. Well whatever is happening outside it is certainly spring conditions. It is still winter and we will be getting more snow and rain but the conditions right now are all spring. This is an awesome time to be outside and especially in the mountains. But what is the best way to enjoy the days on the snow.
Well this is a great question and like all things snowboarding and skiing we could sit here for hours and talk about the nuances but lets just keep it simple or at least as much as we can.
The challenges with spring. Challenge 1, cold in the morning, softens up mid day and slushy in the afternoon. Challenge 2, some great groomed runs and non groomed runs. Challenge 3, the snow itself is like bits of shaved ice or chunky ice like little bits of ice cubes, some call it corn snow and all of this is sometimes mixed together in masses of melted, refrozen, melted and again refrozen icy junk.
In a perfect world with endless amounts of time and money you would have a morning board and an afternoon board. Maybe you would hot wax for morning conditions and then hotwax again for afternoon conditions. Well, none of that is really practical. So what is the best approach for the average person?
First, make sure you have a good stone grind on your board or skis. If you are not sure you have a stone grind look for small little linear grooves in the base of your board or skis. We could talk for hours about types of stone grinds and that is another conversation but just be sure to have one. If you do not, head down to the shop and get a tune.
Wax is where you are going to make or break your spring riding. Having a good wax on your gear is number one. After that getting your base dialed for spring conditions is tough because the wax that is best for morning is not the same as the afternoon. What do we do? Well keeping things simple here I would recommend a standard universal hot wax for your gear. And then in the morning before your first run, at lunch and in the afternoon use a good quality rub on, paste or liquid wax on top of it which is designed for the colder, wetter or slushy snow that you are going to encounter on your next few runs. This is the best way really to maximize your hotwax and take advantage of the current conditions.
Later on in the spring you will hotwax with a warm weather wax or even a specific spring conditions wax. These can be two different things since depending on the morning and afternoon conditions snow may or will have more moisture in it from time to time and some snow is warm with low moisture and some is warm with high moisture. Lets make matters worse as we go from patches of snow in the sun to patches in the shade we speed up and slow down because of the variations in snow temperature. Yeah, see how complicated this can become real quick. I love talking about this but the variations are endless and again it is not practical to have everything at your disposal. But if you have the cash and want to absolutely maximize your glide characteristics we can help you do that.
With that said I will just reference what I said above and that will take care of 90% of us who just want to ride or ski and not feel like we are getting stuck. 1 - Have a good stone grind. 2 - Use a good quality universal wax and get a good hotwax. 3 - Finally use a good quality rub on, paste or liquid wax in between each condition range. You do this and while not perfect will likely make your day way more enjoyable and not overly complicated.
Last, go ride, have fun, smile and tell us how great it is not to be a work on days like these.