Well, February went screaming by like an Olympic downhiller, and we’re somehow already one week deep into March. While the fabled El Nino of 2015-2016 mostly sat last month out in Colorado, it appears our patience will be rewarded with more generous, snowy weather as April approaches.
But who knows? With a chaotic system like this, if the right butterfly flaps its wings we end up with more snow than we deserve in the Rockies. Or the wrong butterfly flaps its wings and we go hurtling into the sun. Either way, I’d rather be skiing than not.
Even after that dry February, our snowpack in the high country is deep and abiding, so quality conditions ought to be plentiful. To help make the most of your turns, here are seven outstanding spring skis, as recommended by Powder7 Ski Shop in Golden–everybody’s favorite local, family-owned, internet ski and ride superstore:
Late season skiing brings variable conditions as surfaces that warmed during the previous day re-freeze overnight. Before the sun hits that snow in the morning, things may be teeth-rattling firm. Which makes a ski with some backbone a good companion. The Supershape series from Head is among the best in the business at holding an edge at reckless speeds, and the Titan is the widest of the bunch (80mm underfoot), for when things get soft and sloppy later on.
The popularity of the Black Pearl among Colorado’s lady rippers cannot be denied. Fortunately, neither can its quality. At 88mm wide, and with a stout wood core that, somehow, is both burly and playful, this thing is an ideal option for the kitchen sink nature of spring snow. Crunchy tree lines, heavy powder, icy corduroy–doesn’t matter. The Pearl is ready for anything. Just like me after one and half glasses of white wine.
I promised myself I wouldn’t write about the Soul 7 again. Every fifth ski at Vail is the Soul 7, and everybody knows it’s great. But I also promised myself I’d start every morning this winter by rising with the sun and writing in my dream journal–and that didn’t even happen once. My point: the fat, light Soul 7 has finally received a face-lift from Rossignol, and is reborn for 2017 as the Soul 7 HD. It’s now reinforced with carbon to crank up its crud-busting ability (an essential for spring skiing), and no longer looks like a yellow highlighter. It’s also available right now, for those of us ready to embrace the distant, terrifying future of 2017.
At 83mm underfoot with a forgiving flex and excellent edge-to-edge quickness, the women’s Yumi is as good a ski as I can think of for carving spring corn or cranking down soggy mogul fields. After all, ripping bumps in a t-shirt beneath blindingly sunny skies is about as quintessential a spring-skiing scene as you’ll find. Well, that or mud wrestling in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is A-Basin’s parking lot in May.
The 100mm-wide Nordica Enforcer was re-introduced this winter to universal acclaim and ticker tape parades. The Enforcer 93 is its skinnier, saucier sibling. With a 93mm waist, it’s more suited to those spring bumps and unpredictable frontside conditions. This is another 2017 release that happens to be available now. It’ll be a whole new world in 2017, no doubt: a time of miracles and wonder, full of strange skis I’ve never heard of before that will both frighten and intrigue me.
The women’s version of the Soul 7 (god, I can’t escape that ski) is, appropriately enough, just as versatile, just as popular, and a little better looking. It’s light, floaty, and nimble enough to dance through tight tree lines–but stable enough for carving trenches on corduroy. Is it true that the Savory 7 was built using alien technology stolen from the government? Maybe. You can’t make a ski like this out of spare lawn mower parts, you know.
The engineers in Volkl’s German ski laboratory ritualistically killed off the legendary Gotama last summer. Why? Because they had already dreamed up this big mountain freeride monster to take its place. It has similar dimensions to the 108mm-wide Gotama, but was given a lighter, futuristic 3-D shape, a tapered tip for lightning-quick entry into turns, and a confusing name. How versatile is the 100Eight? So versatile it’s doing my taxes this year.
There you go, people: a bunch of mountain-slaying planks to help you enjoy the closing months of the Colorado ski season. I wish I could guarantee an epic, snowy spring for us all. Then again, I also wish I had world-weary eyes and a mysterious accent that hinted at danger…and romance. So, I guess we’re all walking away a little disappointed, here. Happy spring.
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