You call in sick, wake up at the crack of dawn, book it up to the resort for first chair only to find that the freezing level is 1,000 feet too high and that 10 inches of fresh snow is now a leg burning monstrosity of Cascade Concrete.
Sound familiar? You probably grew up skiing in the Pacific Northwest.
With our maritime snowpack and more days of rain than sunshine, the northwest has a reputation for variable snow conditions. When it’s good, it’s really good. Surfing through powder is hard to beat, and the northwest has some all-time terrain. But when it rises just above 32°F– You suck it up, put on a trash bag and remember that there’s no such thing as a bad day with skis on your feet.
*Here are a few of our best tips on how to battle the infamous northwest weather. After all, the best defense is a good offense.
Gore-Tex, Gore-Tex, Gore-Tex
Need we state the obvious? You won’t see many northwest skiers (even the jibbers) ripping around the hill without this choice material on their back. Use a touch of Nikwax to bring your Gore-Tex back to life when it stops beading moisture. Also, each time you clean Gore-Tex it get’s more water-repellent– MIND BLOWN.
*Don’t want to shell out the dough for an expensive jacket?
PNW Pro Tip: A large multipurpose trash bag will do the trick. (Plus, you’ll look like the raddest skier on the mountain)
Fat Skis + Gradual Rocker/Reverse Camber
Whether it’s a deep day or just stupid slushy, powder sticks are the daily driver in the PNW. A gradual rocker/reverse camber profile goes a long way towards surfing on top of that deep, dense snow or sticky stuff.
Unofficial PNW Powder Pick: Volkl 100 Eight
Light On The Heels
Sticky, wet snow will toss you around if you don’t stay engaged. Keep a strong stance and enough speed to maintain your balance. While you don’t want to ski in the backseat, weight your heels slightly more than usual to avoid catching your tips on that low elevation, shag carpet snow.
Underwear Is Everything
Good outerwear is useless without proper base layers. Synthetics work the best for wet, humid days, wicking moisture to keep you dry. Merino Wool is another good option, but better for slightly cooler weather.
Unofficial Pick: Mons Royale Long Underwear
Always Bring Reinforcements
It’s never a bad idea to carry a small pack with a few pieces of dry gear. A spare pair of gloves and an extra balaclava will give you a few extra hours at the end of the day when everyone else is soaking wet and ready to call it quits.
Always Have These Backups:
Also Read: 5 Must Have Items For ANY Powder Day [PT. 2]