The calendar has ticked over into daylight savings, and somehow the end of March has arrived in what seems like no time at all! Maybe it’s got something to do with the unusually long, cold stretches through the winter, or the great coverage around the mountain, or maybe the continued regular snowfall, but it seems that Spring, whilst teasing once or twice, has arrived like the guest you forgot you’d invited – ding-dong! It’s here now folks, and we had best entertain it!
The patios around the village are seeing lots of action during the long, sunny afternoons, as the warmer weather allows for some casual outdoor lingering and loitering. During the height of winter, I’d rarely have the ski boots on much past 4:30PM, and now in the current spring paradigm, I’m finding the afternoons drawing out, and my boots are making the seamless transition into evening footwear! Speaking of things fashion, the goggle tanners are really beginning to see some tan lines emerge – something only skiers people acknowledge as desirable!
As for the snow, we have plenty, so the good coverage gives no visual indication that we will be shutting ‘er down after Easter! Have you seen the size of the snowbanks in the village that remain? Last year at this time the grounds maintenance team had already traded in their shovels for rakes around the Central Check In building in the lower village. Here we are into the last stretch, and I’ve still been getting powder turns off of the summit in the last week! The upper half of the mountain has been pretty good fun lately, with temperatures staying below zero most days, keeping snow in good condition.
Right now you can experience some winter style turns in the outback, in spring style comfort! Dropping into Taynton from the ridge for good powder turns and tracked, soft packed through the top 1000 feet or so before starting to find the melt / freeze levels. Pushing through the light crust has not been difficult, just a noticeable change. Testing shaded or sunnier aspects on the lower slopes as the clock ticks each day, will find you the best route hour by hour. The only spot out there that has been really hard work over recent weeks has been Landing Strip, and even there, the grooming crew have performed some maintenance to improve it greatly. Pro-tip: After skiing any of B1st, Donny B’s, Devils Drop, Ktunaxa or C-Spine you can traverse over to Stinger and come out the tail end of Never Never Land which is less moguled than Funnel. A way better option for an egress from Taynton.
EXTREME DREAM ZONE
For me, Trigger has been one of the most consistently good runs on the mountain this season. The new glading to open the pitch up a little had me excited early season, and has meant the charge lines are on. The generally shaded aspects through the Zone have meant that the upper two thirds have had little solar effect placed upon them in the treed areas. The open mid-section is more susceptible to sun, and all depends on fall lines taken. The lower Zone is within the mobile freezing level, so conditions through there are very much temperature dependant on any given day. Pro-tip: The coverage is still good but best wait for things to soften up in the afternoon than get into tricky conditions in lower Fat Chance, Dunes or Toadstool.
SUMMIT: FRONTSIDE RUNS
Sidewinder Glades is one of my favourites, and with the halfway cut out back to View of 1000 Peaks being widened this season, the top has become far more accessible. Snow condition through here continues to impress, with good protection from wind and sun. It has been a good performer all season, and should round third nicely in the run home. Pro-Tip: Top of the world groomed this week and reviewed well. A trail that rarely gets groomed but when it does it’s a real treat to start there and do a top to bottom run right down the entire length of the mountain’s frontside.
SCHOBER’S DREAM / SUN BOWL
Semi-regular grooms through different paths have kept many options available here that might have been melted out in previous seasons. It is called the Sun Bowl for a reason, and this time of year becomes very temperature and sun dependant day in and out. That said, it’s been on most days lately, and if you know the undulating terrain and spread out feel, it plays strong for spring slushy fun on the open cut and groomed, while little deviations into trees can find some nice kickers and rollers to lighten your feet. The Schober’s pitch from Summit Quad load to the gate has been getting regular attention from our grooming crew, and has been the better for it as the season has moved forward. Pro-Tip: Sun Bowl gets the most early morning sun. If you are waiting on another part of the mountain to soften slide over to the Sun Bowl first thing and get in a nice long warm up lap.
This is the time of year that Founders can be some of the most fun terrain on the mountain! Semi regular and staggered grooming through the main runs of Ostrander, Zehnder and Strobl have given differing options on any given day. Being at melt / freeze elevation, it is often a special as a PM playground as things start to soften. Being so broad an area, there are myriads of options, and the differing fall lines, little pops and creek beds crisscrossing through, mean there are any number of lines that have you returning to find a new combination each time. Pro-Tip: Skip the top of MacIntosh and Stobl but not the bottom. Look at the trail map and where Madson’s Mile and Ostrander first intersect start skiing here (note massive boulder in the middle of the trail) and then cut right onto Madson’s after about one pitch to connect you with skiing lower Stobl or McIntosh for the win.
MID MOUNTAIN AND LOWER MOUNTAIN
Great coverage persists on the on the mid and lower groom and conditions seem to slightly change daily as the freezing level dances around the mountain. The classic Spring skiing pattern seems to be emerging where chilly mornings result in firmer conditions right down to the base, with the snow softening hour-by-hour as the sun peeks out. Low-angled pitches like Stringer and Outrider catch rays early on in the day and are a great place to lay down some soft turns but most of the groomers are in great condition by early afternoon. Soft landings make Spring the perfect time to rip through our Rockstar Terrain Parks. All 3 parks have seen regular maintenance throughout the season and are receiving tonnes of visitors who are appear to be loving the soft landings to nail the newest trick in the park. Pro-Tip: Head over to Sunbird chair to get in some long, wide-open laps which typically see fewer visits per day. When spring corn snow starts stacking up on the Mile 1 Express trails zip over for what is usually soft flat snow on Little Dipper.
The beauty of Spring skiing at Panorama is that there is truly something for everyone on the mountain. Whether you’re hunting for the last Spring powder stash in Taynton or tracking the sun to get after the afternoon hero snow on groomers, you can find it all on the hill top to bottom in April. Check out our snow report and the weather forecast each morning so you can make the most of your day on the slopes and be strategic about which sections to ski and when. With an expected 98% of the trails open until closing day April 16 there is more than enough to choose from!
If you’re feeling a little adventurous, go ahead and give the ‘Springtime Switch-Up’ a try. Swap skis/board with a friend and see the world through the eyes of the other half. Conditions are the best of the season for learning, and it can be a fun way to challenge yourself – who knows, you might like it more than you think!
Only 17 days remain in the season with awesome events lined up for every weekend. Get out there and soak up the rest of another incredible season.
March 31 - Reel Paddling Film Festival
April 1 & 2 - 30th Annual Easy Rider Snowboard Cup
April 8 - Peak to Valley Challenge
April 15 & 16 - Super Hero Sun Fest