It's April. The weather is starting to get warmer, snow is beginning to disappear at lower elevations, and the end of the ski season is within arm's reach. This shouldn't be a time of mourning for a season nearly gone, but instead a time of celebration--it's spring skiing season.
Far gone are the flocks of tourists and college students that descend on mountain towns over the holidays and spring break, and for the first time since November, it feels like a local's mountain. Parking lots that were once filled with rental cars and out of state license plates now play host to morning grill sessions before the lifts start spinning and the best damn après dance parties you've ever seen once the day is done.
Unlike during the storm cycles of mid-winter, you'll never hear "no friends on a slush day," because, well, everyone is your friend when spring is in the air. Whether it's the stranger you crack a beer with on the lift and follow for a few laps or the liftie who's been handing out high fives all season, there's just something about spring skiing that leaves you grinning ear to ear. If you look close enough, you might even see a Vail Resorts Yellow Jacket crack a smile when he’s not yelling at your 85-year-old grandma to slow down.
Warming temperatures and the number of shenanigans you'll see follow an exponential curve. Layers of puffy jackets and technical Gore-Tex shells are swapped for thrift store denim and t-shirts with the sleeves ripped off. There is more bare skin on the mountain that you’ve likely seen all winter. And you know what, even with that fresh helmet strap sunburn on your neck, you still look good, man. Skiers dig through their basements to pull out their old school 210s, leaving brand-new-this-season powder skis behind. If you don't hear at least one "I'm the best skier on the mountain!" you're skiing with the wrong people.
Heavy goggle tans run rampant, and the terrible mustache you've been working on all season finally fits right in. Hoots and hollers can be heard from far and wide as a 20-person shred train forms in the slush bumps underneath the chair. Every knoll, jump, and bump becomes a mandatory spread eagle or daffy no matter how much air you get, and spraying your friends with a face full of slush and the end of a run is just par for the course.
Live music blasts loud from the deck of the base lodge and cold beer provides solace to those arriving battered and bruised after hitting the pond skim carrying a little too much speed. No one is in a rush to get more laps in, and the success of a spring skiing day is measured in the number of times you laughed (or stopped for a safety meeting) not the number of vertical feet you ski.
As the end of the season grows near, rather than spend your final days on snow mourning another season come and gone, treat every spring skiing day as a celebration of every pow turn, face shot, and epic day you've had over the last four months. While summer might be right around the corner, there's still plenty of days left to ski your god damn heart out.