March Cold Spell Yields Easter Skiing
Posted by Howard on March 29, 2013
March has been a cold month with frequent snows. The best skiing has been in the western third of the state but nearly everyone had an opportunity to get out in ski in their local area. The Laurel Mountains, lake effect snow belt off Lake Erie, and Central Mountains have been greatest beneficiaries of some late season snows. However, nearly everyone statewide had skiable snow for a day or so in March. The snow has not lasted as long in the valleys and lower elevations but high elevations have held the snow and some ski centers actually have as good of conditions now as they had in January and February. Wilderness Lodge and Laurel ridge have done exceptionally well grooming March snows this year. After three seasons of early winter departures it is hard to blame the groundhog for a poor forecast. This year has been different.
Spring skiing has it challenges though. Timing is everything because a few hours of warming can make a great cross-country ski morning turn into a mushy ski experience in the afternoon. Waxing is a challenge too but I find that universal klister is a go to wax. It seems to work really well when the snow surface gets soft and it can also handle a bit of icy snow too. Skating has come into play for those who cannot get to a ski touring center. Those icy hard pack mornings with a little powder on top make it a skate skier's paradise. Last Saturday I experienced this near Kylertown, PA. Whole fields were skatable until the sun softened the snow surface. I then switched to classic skis and used klister, it was a great day of skiing. The brighter days and warmer temps of early spring can be appreciated.
Skiing into early April will be possible this year. How long it will last is up to this weather pattern. At some point the pattern will change and it will signal the bitter end. The photos in this blog post are from late season ski trips at Black Moshannon State Park. I have the opportunity to take students and teachers on ski trips and we have a blast as we ski and do some environmental science activities. I firmly believe that taking youth out to experience winter on skis is one of the best ways to grow the sport in Pennsylvania. I would encourage all skiers in PA to make a point of inviting young people to go skiing. Have a great Easter weekend of skiing an I hope you get some time on the skis in April as well. In a future blog I will be reviewing a book by Walter Rhein "Beyond Birkie Fever". Until then keep skiing.