This season hasn’t always been cold, but when it was, it was the kind of dry, eastern cold that makes you hunch deep into your jacket and can only be dispelled by a long hot shower or a few beers, or both. March came in baring its teeth like a lion with last week’s storm, our regions largest this winter, but we’re already seeing the lamb. The birds have started singing. Suddenly, it feels good to take your mittens off on the lift and air it out. Soon the goggles will be replaced by sunglasses. Insulating mid-layers will get stashed in the lodge, or eventually left back at home.
The days have grown longer and the setting sun doesn’t usher skiers off the slopes as early. Before long, there won’t be any reason to huddle inside. Why wouldn’t you take another run? So you will. So will everyone. Then another, and another, and another.
When the air starts smelling sweet, that’s when snow softens. Icey surfaces soften and transform into corn snow. Your shoulders relax a little. People come out of the woodwork and the mountain fills up with happy, thawed-out skiers and snowboarders who are bored of taking themselves too seriously. Falling isn’t so bad anymore, albeit a bit wet, so everyone’s turns loosen up and before long they’re taking them all the way across the hill, sloppy and carefree.
This is the rite of spring skiing. Welcome.
Words by Clare Menzel, a New Hampshirite studying philosophy in her final semester at the University of Pennsylvania. As it always happens in this close and familiar northeastern ski world, Clare’s parents are family friends—way back from the old college days in New England. She is the Women’s Alpine Captain of the Penn ski team and has written for Powder Magazine and Powder’s blog.