The saving grace this time of year is a solid overnight freeze. Luckily, last night’s freeze was more solid than the previous night. The morning started with some firm groomers. You could hear the sound of ski edges scraping ice for the first few laps. This is a good thing in my book if we want to have decent skiing after lunchtime. It’s also great at Alpine specifically because you have all of the different aspects to play with while you follow the sun.
For those who don’t know, here is a primer on how to ski these mountains in the springtime: The sun rises in the east, so any east-facing slopes will get the first glimmers of sunlight and will be the first to soften. At Alpine, Sun Spot off of Summit chair is generally the first thing that will be soft. By 10am, Sun Spot was delivering smooth corn turns. Once that starts to get too chewed up, you start to work your way around to different areas to find snow that has had slightly less sun exposure. The last things that will get soft are the steep north and west-facing slopes (think D8).
My favorite run of the day was Wolverine Bowl to the Face. My first attempt down the Face was a bit too early (around 10:30 a.m.) as it was firm bumps, but by 11:30, they were soft corny-goodness right under the Summit Chair line. I finished my day with 3 straight runs of this exact line.
One thing I noticed today was a larger-than-normal showing of telemark skiers. This was great to see as Alpine has always had a strong tradition of telemark skiing. If you haven’t tried it, I would highly suggest giving it a try! Yes, it is more difficult than Alpine skiing, but the feeling of linking together some smooth telemark turns is unlike anything you’ll get from alpine skis or a snowboard. Free the heel and ski for real!