Skiing Weather Tips
When it comes to the skiing preparation, one of the things you must not forget to do is check the weather forecast. If there’s gonna be heavy snowfalls on the slopes, you better stay at home. Apart from the obvious, you also need to take a look at snow reports for some other reasons. For instance, a weather report may be able to help you figure out what to wear, what type of skiing gear to carry with you, and so on.
In order to get the most of snow reports and snow forecasts, here are a couple of tips for you. Follow them and you will be able to collect enough info to plan an unforgettable skiing adventure.
1. Get Both Long and Short-Term Forecasts from Different Sources
It’s called forecast because it’s not always 100% correct. That is why you shouldn’t trust it completely. Instead, try to read forecasts from several different sources and compare them to see if there are any major differences. If the forecasts match, the chances are that their predictions will come true.
Another good way to ensure that what the forecast says is what’s gonna happen is to compare the short-term forecast with the long-term. Short-term forecasts should be more specific, but if they differ quite a lot from what long-term forecasts are suggesting, there might be something wrong. In that case, you need to do an even more thorough research.
Speaking of research, these days it’s not that hard to find weather forecasts. Actually, the internet is full of weather forecasts and reports from a number of different sources. What this means is that you won’t have to spend too much time or energy in order to gather all the info you need.
2. Learn Which Type of Snow Is Good For Skiing
What’s the point of reading a snow report if you have no idea what it means? Learning more about the weather is essential if you’re planning to hit the slopes. And one of the most important things you need to learn about is the snow.
You may think that any kind of snow would be good for skiing, but that’s just not true. And that could get you in a lot of trouble on the slopes. Some types of snow are just not good enough for skiing and can bring you a lot of hazards.
For example, wet snow that has slush instead of crust can be very difficult to handle, particularly if you’re new to the world of skiing. On the other hand, if you’re an expert skier, skiing on dry sand might be boring for you, as you won’t be able to achieve high speeds.
But, regardless of whether you’re a newbie or an experienced skier, the type of snow you should look for is fresh powder. This is basically the snow that’s just fallen from the sky. It’s soft and fluffy, giving you the feeling that you’re floating downhill. In turn, this makes controlling your movements easy and if you crash, god forbid, you probably won’t get injured, as the soft snow will provide cushioning.
3. Pay Attention to the Temperature
The snowfalls aren’t the only thing you should watch out for when checking out the weather reports. You also need to take a look at the temperature. According to skiing experts, the quality of snow goes up as the temperatures go down. The rule of thumb is that if the temperature is below 30 Fahrenheit, you’re good to go. Otherwise, if it’s too hot outside, the snow will turn into slush, which will make your movements much harder.
You also need to check whether the day is cloudy or whether there’s gonna be sunshine. If the sun is gonna shine over the slopes, it may cause the snow to melt, creating slush on top of it, which isn’t a great surface to slide across. On the other hand, if the sun goes behind the clouds, the slush can turn into an ice patch, which is a serious safety hazard.
4. The Importance of Good Visibility
At certain periods of the year, the so-called upslope fog can cause serious problems to the skiers and snowboarders. How it occurs is that winds blow moist air uphill. And when that happens, you can’t see anything before you. In turn, this means that if it’s a foggy day, you won’t be able to see the track in front of you, increasing the chances of a serious crash. That’s why you need to check the weather report and make sure no fog will be that day.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you ought to hit the slopes only when it’s a sunny day. Even if the visibility isn’t perfect, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do well on the slopes, under the condition that you have a proper gear. The part of skiing equipment that’s essential for good visibility is the ski goggles and ski sunglasses.
If the visibility isn’t perfect, our advice is to wear goggles with gold, red, or yellow tint. But, if there’s too much light that might make it hard for you to see what’s going on down the slope, the solution is to wear gray-tint goggles.
5. Weather Forecast Decides Your Dressing Code
You need to decide your wardrobe combo according to the weather conditions on the slopes. As best skiing conditions are when the temperature is below 30 Fahrenheit, it means that it’s gonna be pretty cold out there.
In order to prevent heat loss, you need to wear multiple layers of clothing. So, if you can choose between a heavy ski jacket and a multi-layer clothing combination, go with the later one. But, simply putting several different pieces of clothes on you won’t be good enough if it’s really freezing out there.
Your multi-layered outfit should have layers of different materials. For instance, the base layer should be underwear that’s made of cotton or some similar material that has the power to give you warmth but also to soak up the sweat. Polar fleece or wool seem like very good choices for the second layer, which you should finish it with a hard-shell jacket with a water-resistant coating. Of course, you mustn’t forget to wear a good set of ski pants with basically the same properties.
6. Mittens vs. Gloves
Now, this may sound strange but our advice is to choose mittens over ski gloves. Why? Because mittens will do a better job at keeping your fingers warm! This is especially important if you’re planning to stay on the slopes for a long time in a cold weather.
On the other hand, if your goal is not to have hours of fun on the slopes with your friends, but to make some fantastic downhill movements, then gloves are what you need to wear. The reason is pretty simple – they give your fingers more dexterity. Thermal skiing gloves are what you should be looking for. Sure, they’re more expensive than regular ones, but they’re definitely worth buying.
The thing about these types of gloves is that they’re made of a material that doesn’t let the warmth generated by your body, in this case, your hands, escape. But, not only that, the inner layer is made of fabric that soaks up the sweat, meaning that you won’t feel like your hands are inside two tiny saunas. Finally, while wearing them, you will have a good grip on the ski poles, which will enable you to have a better control of your movements and be safe on the slope.
7. Hand Warmers
Watch weather forecast to see whether you will need to carry hand warmers with you on the slopes. Sure, you may argue that these packets are tiny, so they won’t cause you any discomfort if you take them with you. The problem is that you can’t know how many of them you will need. The only way to find that out is by checking out the weather forecast.
If the weather forecast suggests that the temperature will go below the water freezing point, you definitely need to carry at least one hand warmer with you. But, if the forecast also predicts that there’s gonna be a lot of wind, our advice is to carry a bunch of them.
The reason is that despite their name, the hand warmers can be used for warming up other parts of your body as well, which makes them a great piece of gear for the extreme cold weather. For instance, you can slip them inside your inner pockets to give your belly some warmth. And if the snow is wet, some moisture might get in your shoes, so in order to dry your feet, you can use the warmers.
8. Snow Forecast and Your Diet
The colder the weather, the more energy your body will need to burn in order to keep you warm. This is why it’s essential to have a proper meal before hitting the slopes on a freezing day. But what does a proper meal entail? Well, it doesn’t mean that you should stuff yourself with food, that’s for sure.
You need to have a calorie-rich meal, but which won’t make your stomach feel extremely full. What this means is that you need to stay away from simple carbs and go with complex carbs like whole grains. You also need to supply your body with enough protein and fat, as well as all the vitamins and minerals necessary for proper metabolism.
Coffee is another thing you need to have before hitting the slopes but don’t take too much of it, as this drink is a mild diuretic, so it may make you want to go to the toilet too often. What you mustn’t eat before skinning is simple sugar. If you fill yourself with sweets, it’s going to cause a sudden energy increase, followed by an extreme decrease, which is gonna make you feel drowsy. And when you’re low on energy, you can’t perform well on the slopes.
Another thing to avoid before a skiing adventure is alcohol. Booze and skiing just don’t mix. It’s not only because alcohol will slow down your reflexes, but also because it will give you only a temporary feeling of warmth, which will vanish in minutes, after which you’re gonna feel even colder.
9. Weather Forecast Decides How You Should Get Up the Slope
Should you up the slope using a hooded gondola or a chairlift if there’s such choice in your resort? Well, our advice is to see what the weather forecast has to say. If it’s gonna be a cold day with a lot of wind, you better stay away from open-air lifts.
The reason is pretty simple – it’s gonna be super-cold up there. There’s also the issue of your safety. Although it’s almost impossible that the wind could make you fall over, you probably won’t feel very nice on a swinging chairlift.
10. Use Snow Forecast Data to Decide When to Go on a Skiing Holiday
Using long-term forecasts and general weather data can help you a lot with planning your ideal winter holiday. Once again, the internet is your best source of information. Sites like Wikipedia have weather data of almost any major ski resort on the planet.
But, if you don’t want to spend too much time doing a research, here are a couple of useful tips for you. If you live on the northern hemisphere, the general rule is that the best time for skiing is the first quarter of the year. This means that you can pick any time between the New Year’s Day and the end of March for your skiing holiday. In the meantime, you can try to learn some summer on-snow skills.
The main reason why this is the case is that during winter, it’s powder time on the slopes! What this means is that you will be able to have plenty of fun skiing, without wasting too much energy or risking falls and crashes.
Another reason is that the peak holiday season starts around Christmas, but usually ends a few weeks after the New Year’s Day. This means that there’s gonna be less crowd on the slopes, therefore, less chance that you would crash into someone while sliding downhill.