While most skiers may with the opposite was true, skiing in warm weather can be incredibly difficult, if at all possible. Aside from warmer temperatures, there are several factors that can affect slope conditions and make your skiing trip challenging. Wind speeds, how much or how little it snowed the night before, and other examples of inclement weather should always be noted before hitting the slopes.
If it hasn’t snowed in quite some time and the temperatures have been dipping, hills all around the resort will most likely be very icy. The more often skiers and snowboarders traverse down these hills without fresh snow covering their tracks, the more compacted it will become, making it almost as solid as concrete. This can prove troublesome, as skis and snowboards will have a much harder time controlling their turns and movements. For those that enjoy a challenge however, these conditions can be quite fun.
Having snowed very recently, slopes will oftentimes be soft and plush with deeper snow even after being combed by piste bashers. This translates to runs consisting of easily moveable snow, and thus moguls being formed. It also means much more control for skiers and snowboarders, in addition to a softer landing upon falling.
Warmer temperatures result in slopes consisting of slushy or wet snow even after freezing overnight. This consistent rate of change begins to deteriorate the snow’s structure, creating lumps of ice throughout, and a wet, sharp snow. This snow is much heavier, making it much harder to control skis. After having melted a little bit, the water levels within the snow begin to create a suction between the skins and snow, making it even more difficult for the skis to slide freely.
The rate at which snow may begin to melt plays a role in its consistency. Sticky snow is formed when newly fallen snow melts very rapidly, increasing in wetness. This causes it to bind to the bottom of skis and snowboards, trapping out air from underneath, again creating a vacuum that prevents easy movement. This can decrease your speed regardless of how steep a given slope may be.
The severity of these conditions can alter depending on many different factors, and combinations of them are not rare. It’s best to understand these conditions to adequately prepare for them, and ski or snowboard as safely as possible.