Skiing In 50 Degree Weather (Complete Guide)

Skiing In 50 Degree Weather

Skiing in 50 degree weather may seem like a crazy idea, but it’s actually not as bad as you might think.

Even though it is generally considered that 20 to 30 degrees is the ideal temperature for skiing, a lot of skiers will love to ski at warmer temperatures. Plus, It’s great way to avoid the crowds and have the slopes all to yourself.

Skiing at 50 degrees or warmer temperatures at the beginning or towards the end of the ski season has its perks as well as some disadvantages and requires you to adjust your approach accordingly.

In this post, I’ll give you a rundown of the pros and cons of skiing at 50 degrees, what makes it different, what to wear and a few tips for enjoying your day. 

What Makes Skiing At 50 Degrees Different?

When you go skiing at 50 degrees which is usually in the Spring, the temperature is not the only difference. There are other aspects that make it a very different experience.

Snow Condition: Warmer temperatures change the texture and density of snow. The snow could be soft, slushy, or granular. It could be not as deep, or dense. Rain, which is a possibility, could form a thin layer of ice on top of the snow.

What Makes Skiing At 50 Degrees Different

Rainfall: Rain and sleet are to be expected when you ski in 50-degree weather.

Sunnier Skies: You would generally be skiing under brighter skies if you were in warmer weather conditions. 

Pros And Cons Of Skiing In 50 Degree Weather

While a 50 degree weather does present certain challenges, it can make skiing more enjoyable in certain ways too. Let’s take a look at some of the pros:

It Is Cheaper 

Being either at the beginning or the end of the ski season, it is not going to be crowded at the resorts. This makes things like ski passes and lodgings cheaper. Ski resorts might even be giving incentives to skiers.

Less Crowded

You wouldn’t find ski resorts swarming with people as it is off-peak season. You will be able to spend more time on less crowded runs.

More Comfortable 

You will not be shivering in the cold. You will probably be able to dress lightly instead of layering like crazy.

More Comfortable

More Fun

Warmer temperatures and sunnier skies create a more laid-back, cheerful atmosphere. You might see barbecues on mountain patios and folks having beers outside. 

Let’s take a look at the cons now

More Challenging To Ski 

Soft, slushy snow, and sometimes a thin layer of water on top of it, creates more traction. The ski might feel heavier, and harder to move and turn. Your legs are going to have a bigger workload. 

Melted snow caused by rainfall has the potential to refreeze during the night, making a thin layer of ice, resulting in more sliding and slipping during turns and downhill rides.

You are likely to get sprayed with water and snow crystals. Those snow crystals will melt on your clothes.

Other Cons

  • Expect to sweat more when you ski in warm weather like this. 
  • Many trails will have a thin base layer of snow with rocks jutting out, especially off-piste. 
  • Rain and sleet can reduce visibility, making skiing somewhat more dangerous.
  • There can be more bright sunlight reflecting off the snow, increasing the risk of snow blindness. 
  • You are more prone to get sunburned in these sunnier surroundings. 
  • You can get cuts and bruises on exposed parts of your body by granular snow, or corn snow as some call it if you fall off your ski on a downhill run. 

Tips For Skiing In 50 Degree Weather 

You can have a great time skiing in 50 degree weather if you are mindful of its potential challenges and risks, and prepare yourself to face them.

Tips For Skiing In 50 Degree Weather

Focus On Your Technique 

You will need to be more precise in your technique to ski in slushy snow. Take wider turns than you would in more dense and harder-packed snow. Taking sharp turns will be difficult and more exhausting for your legs with slushy snow.   

If you are skiing on a trail that is icy due to refreeze, a slightly wider stance and bigger turn radius will help with turns. Edging in this type of situation will be harder too. You will have to be more focused on your edge control, weight shifting, and balance. Try to slide through the turns without digging into the edges if you are a beginner. 

Look For Runs With Harder Snow

More shaded runs are likely to have firmer, denser, and deeper snow. Also, the higher the altitude of a ski resort is, the longer it takes for the temperature to rise, and trails with good snow will last longer towards the end of the season. 

Avoid Going In The Early Morning 

You will probably be able to avoid icy and slippery snow if you start by mid-morning. Early morning snow is more likely to have thin ice on top of the refreeze from the previous night.

Use Spring Wax On Your Skis

Use a wax designed to be used in warm weather skiing. Spring ski waxes have better hydrophobic quality, so they would keep the water from the melting snow away from your skis, allowing for easier gliding.

Watch Out For Rocks And Grass

Melting snow makes the base layers thin, exposing rocks, grit, and grass. Look out for dark or discolored spots to recognize. Stay off the trail edges. Lower down the hills and sunnier parts are more likely to have exposed rocks and grass. 

Take Breaks And Stay Hydrated

When you go skiing in 50 degree weather, you are in for a more exhausting workout with a lot of sweating. So, take frequent breaks to give your body, especially the legs, much-needed rest and maintain fluid intake.

Wear Proper Clothing 

You should dress to stay dry and cover your skin to avoid cuts from the granular snow, rather than to insulate yourself from the cold as when you go skiing in freezing temperatures.

Dress in layers so that you can remove them off as things get hotter. Your clothes must be made of breathable and waterproofing materials for wicking sweat effectively and avoiding getting soaked if it rains. Wear thin, spring ski gloves.

Wear Proper Clothing

Protect Your Eyes And Head

Sunnier conditions in 50 degrees weather skiing make it all the more important to wear proper ski goggles to protect your eyes from the glare of the snow. Wear a ski helmet, no matter the weather you are skiing in. 

Use Sunscreen 

Do not forget to put sunscreen on all the exposed bits of your skin to protect it from the scorching high-altitude sun.

Final Thoughts

Skiing in 50-degree weather, with brighter skies and occasional rain, is both fun and challenging at the same time. It will have a more chill and cheery vibe to it, but be more physically exhausting and demanding technical precision.

The difficulties and potential hazards can be easily overcome by being aware of their existence and knowing how to avoid and work around them. Overall, 50 degree skiing is just different, a unique experience you would probably love having.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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