As we transition into the spring skiing month’s here in Tahoe (with a few intermittent powder dumps, we hope!), a few words of wisdom from a local legend and one of our favorite ski guides will surely enhance your day out touring!
Don’t know much about Glen? Learn a little about him in his bio on our Alpenglow Guides page! (I stress ‘little’- Glen is an elusive character with enough epic stories to last a lifetime of campfire sessions)
A few of Glen’s Tips for Properly Harvesting Spring Corn
Gear Requirements: First off, your gear requirements for backcountry skiing in the spring will be different… You will want to carry lighter layers, an appropriate sun hat, light spring gloves, lots of sunscreen, wrap sunglasses with good UV protection, maybe some skin wax and glide wax for transitioning snow, and probably a Camelback with electrolytes for hydration. Consider ski or snowboard crampons, boot crampons, and a whippet or ice axe if you are going to be skiing steeper terrain.
Perfect Corn: Give the snow a few days to transition to perfect corn, then check the temperature profile for the day. Ideally you want to plan to start your descent when there is about 5 cm of snow penetration. Skiing later when the snow gets sloppy will definitely compromise the quality of your ski experience and can ruin the slope for you and others until the next snowfall… an early start may mean skinning up in fairly firm conditions.
Skinning in Firm Snow: When skinning in firm snow, maintain good posture and keep your weight over your heels… It is counterintuitive, but can help to roll your ski so it’s flush with the snow to gain the best skin contact, rather than edge contact when skinning side hills. Weight your poles – they are critical tools to save you from a slip!
Put those Crampons on Early: When the slope gradient steepens, it is best to transition early to ski crampons or boot crampons if necessary. This will save you a lot of stress and your potential demise! Crampons that lock in place rather than pivot with forward movement will give you extra security.
With appropriate timing, gear and skills, corn skiing can rival any powder day – Get out there and harvest some great Sierra corn!