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Tips for skiing in spring snow

Georgina Cleave
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Georgina Cleave

Read our Snow Sports School's top tips for skiing in spring snow conditions!

Corn snow exists in the sweet spot between hard frozen snow & the soft slushy stuff you experience if you sleep in too long & don’t make it up the maunga (mountain) until later in the afternoon. As long as we’re making food analogies, corn is good & mashed potato (late afternoon slush) is more challenging for less experienced skiers.

Corn makes its appearance in kōanga (spring) once the overnight freeze starts to thaw & is the kind of snow that makes skiing super fun, but it can take a little getting used to. This spring snow condition puts up a bit more resistance than fresh groomers. With this in mind, we thought we’d give you the Cardrona Snow Sports School top tips for skiing spring corn.

Fill up first, or sleep in... But not for too long

Getting on snow a little later in spring is okay. In fact, because the snow tends to freeze overnight at this time of year & be very hard packed first thing in the morning, leaving your first run until a bit later can be a good idea. Why not start with a hearty breakfast at the Mezz, or treat yourself to a cheeky sleep in. Just don’t leave it too late or you might miss the best conditions… just quietly, it’s generally best between 10am & 2pm

Follow the sun

Since New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, the sun rises in the East, then moves North before setting in the West (lesson on Earth’s rotation over). So look for east-facing slopes to start your morning & then follow the sun to the northern slopes, finishing off with those west-side runs before heading in for lunch.

Afternoon shade

Southern slopes that are in the shade in the afternoon won’t yet have softened up too much & the since the ambient air temperature will likely have warmed post midday, you may just find some lovely corn to play in.

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Stronger, more deliberate movements are key to navigating the resistance put up by corn. Good carving techniques can help. Remember to keep your body’s momentum moving down the hill & steer your skis around the whole of your beautifully rounded turn shape. Kia kaha, be strong in your leg movements & let your skis assist you by rolling them on to their edges early in the turn. A bit of muscle recruitment in the core area & arms will help keep you nice & stable in any variable conditions –let your legs do the work


The sun’s on your face & the skiing’s great! What’s not to smile about?

Our Snow Sports School instructors know Cardrona like the back of their hand, so why not book a lesson & let them show you the best runs to score that sweet, sweet corn?!

About the Author

Georgina Cleave

Georgina Cleave is a freelance marketer & content creator based in Wanaka. She's had a long love affair with our maunga. Currently a ski instructor, you may have seen her working in many other departments over the last couple of decades.

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