Warm weather skiing at Snowbird. Photo by Chris Pearson.
There is, at this time of year, a rather unique opportunity to do two very different, very seasonal activities all in one day. Those being skiing and golfing. Tee and ski, it’s been called.
There are other opportunities to mix and blend activities, like cross country skiing, biking, hiking, walking, fly fishing, bowling and, while snow lasts, tubing. But skiing and golfing are the most recognized seasonal activities. Skiing and/or snowboarding is winter. Golfing is summer. These two are synonymous with the seasons.
Winter is for skiing. Summer is for golf. But spring offers a narrow window to slide, say in the morning, and swing a club in the afternoon. Mornings are cooler so snow is easier to slide on; afternoons are warmer so golf can be more comfortable.
With today’s high-speed lifts, it’s not difficult to make a reasonable number of runs in half a day.
Another opportunity of spring is a surface condition called “corn snow.’’
It happens in the spring when temperatures begin to rise. After a week or two of freezing snow at night and thawing in the afternoon, snow turns into tiny granules of ice.
These can create a surface that offers a couple of inches of yielding snow over a solid base. Some say it’s the next best thing to powder snow. On good corn, skis and boards experience near perfect consistency, turn after turn after turn.
Some resorts also offer half-day ski passes, which helps with the budget.
Around noon or so it’s time to change from boots to cleats, parkas for golf shirts and ski poles for golf clubs.
First, of course, comes a good lunch. And, with daylight savings, there’s time enough for a sit-down snack and a brew, be it lemonade or beer.
One of the more convenient courses is located near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon—The Old Mill. The pro there, in fact, says it’s not uncommon to see afternoon golfers with raccoon lines around the eyes. Of course, there’s time enough to tee up at dozens of area courses.
While reservations are not required at ski areas, it’s probably a good idea to make a tee time at one of the valley golf courses. They can be pretty busy in the spring when golfers are anxious to get back in the game.
Again, with daylight savings, tee times can be somewhat flexible. Figure four hours for 18 and two for 9. So, with sunset around 7:30 p.m., any tee time around 2 p.m. is time enough for a round.
Opportunities, however, may be somewhat limited depending on snow conditions. If snow fails to fall in the next few weeks, resorts will begin to close in early April. Even with snow most will likely begin closing around mid-April. Snowbird tries to remain open on a limited basis until Memorial Day. In snowier years the resort has run its lifts on July 4.
And as much fun as a tee and ski day can be, it’s nice, too, to be able to say, “I’ve done it.’’
Skiing—Ski Utah at skiutah.com offers details on Utah’s 14 resorts’ closing dates and lift prices.
Golf—Utah Golf Association at uga.org offers a list of Utah’s courses and phone numbers.