Are you planning that early fall or late spring ski trip? Either one of them can be a great time of year because you will often see smaller crowds and warmer weather which can make things much more comfortable. There’s nothing like getting out there without that thick heavy jacket and some of us may even be brave enough to try skiing in shorts.
Warm weather skiing is great and can be lots of fun, but along with warm weather often comes the rain. So, what if you do see showers during that warm weather trip you have planned? Will you still be able to ski?
The short answer is, yes. You can ski in the rain. Many people do and there are a number of things to consider when making this choice. So the real question should be, do you want to ski in the rain? The answer to this is a little more lengthy than just a yes or no, so let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks and advantages to this possible wet and wild adventure.
Drawbacks to Skiing in the Rain
If you are going to venture out into the rain, there are some definite drawbacks that you will need to deal with. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Obviously, if it is raining, you are going to get wet. You’re probably not going to carry an umbrella around with you. So, you are going to want to wear water-resistant clothing to keep you as dry as possible. Water-resistant hats may be hard to find, so there is a good chance your head is going to get wet.
Your other clothing such as jackets, pants, gloves, etc may be water-resistant but eventually, they are going to get soaked and moisture will begin to penetrate them. Once you begin to get wet, you are going to start getting cold even if you are skiing in 50 to 60-degree temperatures.
You may need to worry about other things such as your phone, wallet or anything else you carry with you getting wet. If it is raining for a good part of the day, plan on being completely soaked by the time you take your final run.
Ice can be a skier’s enemy and if it’s raining out on the mountain you can almost be certain that there will be frozen surfaces. This can make it very hard to stop and very hard to make turns and cuts. Almost every skier knows what it is like to hit a patch of ice and wipe out.
The warm, wet precipitation is also likely to turn some of the snow into slush. Running into slushy snow is not quite as dangerous as ice but it can slow you down quite abruptly if you hit a large area of it. It is more of a nuisance than a danger but still may be something that you will have to deal with on a wet day.
Your ability to see clearly can be affected in multiple ways. If it is a downpour, you definitely won’t be able to see too far in front of you. Even a light rain may cause mist and fog which will also make it difficult to see into the distance. Precipitation also tends to cause problems with your ski goggles. Water build-up, fogging, and water turning to ice on the outside of them are all possible issues that you may have to deal with.
Advantages to Skiing in the Rain
Are there really any advantages to skiing in the rain? They are kind of hard to come up with but there are a few. Let’s take a look and see what they are.
I think the main thing to think about is that you still get to go skiing. You may have planned a trip and possibly already spent money so you don’t want to sit at home or in your hotel room for the day. Even if the conditions are poor, you still get to do the thing you love, which is skiing. Even though it may be different than what you are used to, you will probably still have a great and memorable time.
You will most likely see far fewer people out on the slopes. If you don’t like crowds, this can be a great thing. The lines at the lifts will be shorter and you will be able to take many more runs than you usually would on a day with a heavy crowd. Most of the runs on the mountain will be wide open and you may have them all to yourself. All you have to do is find the best ones with the least ice and slush and you could have a great day out there.
Learn new skills
If you have never tried skiing in the rain, you will learn some new skills. You will learn how to deal with ice and slush. You will also learn how to deal with low visibility. These are skills that can come in handy for any skiing adventure and on a rainy day, you will get very good at them.
Tips for Skiing in Rain
If you do decide to venture out on a wet day, there are some things to keep in mind that may help you make the best of a day that others may just give up on. Below are a few tips to think about.
- Wax your skis with some softer grade warm weather wax before you start. This will help you to better glide through heavy snow and slush.
- Don’t freak out. The first time you hit a sheet of ice, try to stay calm and ride it out. If you panic you may move too quickly and find yourself on the ground.
- Be patient. This kind of goes with the tip above, but also plan out your moves ahead if you have enough visibility and don’t try to do too much at once. Take your time until you get comfortable with the conditions.
- Adjust your stance. Widen your stance a little to give you more stability. This will help to prepare you for hitting some of those ice patches and for abruptly slowing down in heavy snow or slush. Just don’t go too wide or you might find yourself doing the splits when you hit a sheet of ice.
- Take wider turns. Try to avoid making very sharp cuts. Go into your turns a little sooner and make them wider. This will help prevent sliding on the ice as much.
- Be more aware of your edge control. As you make cuts and turns, try to feel if your ski edges are biting and griping before you put your full weight into it.
- Wear appropriate gear. Try to use waterproof or water-resistant clothing but don’t overdress. Since temps will probably be warmer you may get overheated.
If you end up with showers instead of snow on you’re ski trip, you don’t have to give up or just go back home. You can still ski and make the best of your trip by being prepared for the conditions you will face and by following a few simple tips that we have outlined above.
What other tips do you have that help with wet weather adventures? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave your comments.