Written by: Anna Bernard
It’s not the best snow. Granted, it’s likely some of the worst snow out of the entire season, yet by spring, the slopes are somehow still packed. Whether people are shredding slush or lounging at the lodge, it’s more likely than not to see some dressed in beach wear – anywhere from Hawaiian tees to a bathing suit that probably should have never left the beach.
The atmosphere is undeniable. The sun is out, goggle tans are in full swing and somehow people are still squeezing out the last few days of the season despite the fact that it has already reached May. Perhaps it has to do with denial of the season’s end, or perhaps it is something else entirely.
Like the community itself, so much of the ski season goes far beyond the snow. Powder days are some of the holiest of days of the year, yet there’s something to be said for the days that are 60 degrees, lush with melted snow, skiers and boarders. With softer snow, lighter clothes and a playful environment, the ski and snowboard community knows to how make a farewell to the season just a little sweeter. In a way, this goodbye is a celebration. Parking lots are often the location of early afternoon tailgates, and several riders treat the slopes as though it’s a beach. Competition among the mountain seems to be put at bay, and nearly everyone is looking for a way to spread the good “beach day” vibes. This bittersweet farewell often feels more sweet than bitter.
Skiier Jillian Queri enjoying the spring conditions at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado. Photo: Anna Bernard, May 2016.
Despite the fleeting snow, friends are quickly made and festivity is palpable. At the base of the mountain, it is not rare to hear live music or feel as though you’re at the world’s friendliest party. Even at the top of the mountain, it’s not likely to see many skiers or snowboarders taking their turns too seriously. Though skill levels and styles vary, everyone seems to be simply enjoying themselves.
Entering the ski season in late fall or early winter, it is easy to get greedy, or even selfish, on powder days. Some of the best snow has yet to fall and the idea of sharing it with others isn’t always enticing. Months later, around spring, most of the snow has already fallen. A few inches may drop here or there, but expectations are low, the sun is high and waning snow is an accepted reality.
Enjoying the spring snow at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado while repping SheJumps. Photo: Anna Bernard, May 2016.
With this reality, however, comes some of the most blissful days. Skiers and snowboarders may not be quite ready to leave the mountain for a few months, but they welcome the warm seasons of spring and summer by emulating the carefree atmosphere these months are known for, while still enjoying what remains of the winter snow.
On these days nearing the closing day, no one comes expectating good snow. No one expects a powder day…or anything near it. Expectations are simple and clear: to enjoy oneself and to enjoy the simple, pure beauty Mother Nature has to offer on a daily basis, regardless of any snow condition.