Deer Valley's ski beach
Sure, days begin to warm and one’s attention heads in other directions, but March is actually one of the best months to visit the slopes and carve turns. Why? March and April are traditionally two of the snowiest months of the year.
The average monthly snowfall at Alta, November through February of last year, was 98 inches. Totals for March of 2011 were 129 inches and April 158 inches. The total through April was 723.5 inches.
All this snow in March, of course, covers the existing snowpack so snow conditions are at their very best. And, as noted, weather in March is better. Snowy days are typically surrounded by days of sunshine and higher temperatures, which requires less bulky clothing and more sunscreen.
As the month moves on, there are those “corn’’ days to look forward to. Corn snow refers to an overnight melting/freezing cycle that creates rounded crystals on the surface that allow skis and snowboards to glide as if on a base liquid soap. Some put corn on the same high level as a foot of fresh powder.
This is also a good time to introduce children to the slopes, especially the very young. How young? Most kids are ready for an introduction to sliding on snow at age three. The secret is to make skiing fun and warm weather can make it a whole lot more fun. It’s important to remember that unless the person doing the teaching has experience in giving ski and/or snowboard instruction, teaching is better left to professions.
Advantages to putting kids in ski lessons:
1. Kids are more likely to listen to instructions from a teacher than, say, mom and/or dad.
2. Mom and/or dad may not know proper teaching techniques.
3. Kids are more motivated to perform when involved with others their own age.
4. Professional teaches know how to make skiing and snowboarding fun.
March is also less expensive, as resorts and ski/snowboard shops start to offer deals.
Example: For the first time, notes Emily Summers, communications manager at Deer Valley, “We’re offering some new ski/lodging packages, something we’ve never done before in March.’’
Craig McCarthy with the Park City Chamber of Commerce notes that as the month of March goes along, “the deals get better. What we’re seeing is various properties and resorts are starting to copy what airlines and hotels are doing, offering discounts when reservations might be slow.’’
Park City Mountain Resort is offering a Spring Break Family Package where skiers and boarders can book three nights and get the fourth free and receive discounted three-day lift tickets. “Hot Deal’’ programs on Ski Utah Web site shows lodging properties offering reduced rates of 15 to 40 percent during March.
Here are a few examples: On select days in March, save 30 percent on a three-day pass at Park City Mountain Resort; save 23 percent for a three-day pass at Snowbird; save 44 percent on a three-or-five-day pass at Snowbasin; save 11 percent on a single-day pass at Alta; save 29 percent on a single-day pass at Sundance; and buy two consecutive day passes at Solitude and get a $100 credit on lodging. Lift ticket discounts can be found on individual resort Web sites and on liftopia.com.