BETWEEN WATER AND ICE

If you like variety, you’ll love skiing in the spring, when the snow changes from stone-hard to as soft as butter. You need a good level of fitness, a bit of expertise and the right equipment.

If you manage to get out onto the slopes early in the morning in spring, you’ll know it’s worth it every single time: the snow is grippy, ideal for long swings. Sometimes it’s as hard as a board after the overnight frost, sometimes as hard as stone and sometimes even properly icy. The sun and the higher temperatures ensure that it changes bit by bit throughout the day. First the snow becomes crumbly, like corn snow, and then wetter and wetter, making it slushier. Where it was still hard and smooth in the morning, it’s soft and hilly in the afternoon.

Flexible skiing techniques
Experienced skiers know how to cope: in the mornings, they make sure they ski heavily on the edge of their skis. The edge of each outside ski is employed in the curve to give good grip – and good swing, too. As soon as the snow covering becomes softer, however, it’s better to shift the weight onto both legs. On eastern and southern slopes, by the way, the snow turns to corn snow earlier in the day. The softer and slushier the snow is, the closer together you bring your skis – at the latest, when a little hill forces your legs wide apart. You turn on the hill, incidentally, with the upper body and knees helping to maintain balance.

The right equipment
The ever-changing snow conditions don’t just make extra demands on skiers, but on their equipment, too. Experts recommend filing the edges of your skis at least every two days and waxing the surface. The first is important to ensure a grip even in particularly hard snow. And the waxing helps you to avoid getting get stuck in soft snow just because the surface is under so much pressure. Your own lack of skill is often enough for that!