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The Wild Old Bunch
Spring SkiingSpring skiing can be very enjoyable - the sun is warm, the days are long, the slopes are less crowded and the snow is soft. And, hey, you might just catch a brave soul or two sporting a bikini.

But there are issues you will encounter while soaring down the slopes during this warmer time of year.

The biggest thing to remember is to wear sunscreen! While the sun can burn in the winter, too, we tend to have less clothing on in the spring so more flesh is available for those burning rays to make contact and do damage. Apply it liberally and often. High altitude sun is stronger than it is at lower elevations and when you add the reflections from all that white snow, the intensity is multiplied.

Wear a hat, especially one with a brim (like a baseball cap). Keep the sun out of your eyes as well as off the top of your head. Kids should still wear helmets. In the spring time the snow level is dwindling and more obstacles are peeking their bone-breaking heads out of their winter cover. Itís best to keep those little brains protected from possible hazards.

Dress the rest of you accordingly as well. Layers are your best bet. The temperatures are going to be warmer than they are in the midst of winterís biting winds. But the top of the mountain is still going to be pretty nippy. And, the temperatures drop rapidly when the sun goes down at the end of the day. Don't forget to have extra layers of clothing available to add as needed.

On the next-to-skin level, instead of a cotton T-shirt which will hold moisture next to your skin, making you feel clammy and cold, try a synthetic such as capilene that will wick moisture away, making you feel dryer. The next layer should be a sweatshirt or light sweater. Top it off with a waterproof and wind-breaking shell. Remember that in the afternoons when the air has warmed up, the snow will also be warming up and can get slushy in places. If your ensemble is not waterproof, you will get wet.

Resist the temptation to ski in shorts or even short sleeves. While the warm sun might feel good, the snow at this time of year is often hard enough to do a bad number on your skin if you fall. What, you never fall? Then consider it insurance for when that beater runs into you and knocks you over.

Keep hydrated. Proper hydration helps to prevent altitude sickness. This is especially important for those not used to living and playing hard at these elevations.

Finally, think about putting the kids in ski or snowboard school. With the temperatures more agreeable to the wee ones and the crowds much slimmer, they may enjoy the class more as well as get more personal attention.

Backroads of Utah
by Theresa A. Husarik

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