WETGR - Wet Granular. Loose or frozen granular snow that becomes wet after rain or high temperatures.

ICE - Icy. An icy, hard, glazed surface caused by freezing rain, groundwater seeping into the snow, or the rapid freezing of saturated snow. The surface ice will chip. It won’t support a ski pole.

VC - Variable Conditions. This term is used when no primary surface condition can be determined. Trails may encompass a range of conditions - parts may be PP and LSGR, for example.

CORN - Com Snow. Common in the spring. Granules that are large and loose during the day freeze together at night, then loosen up again on a warm day.

WBLN - Wind-Blown powder or granular snow that forms a packed base.

SM - Snowmaking. The guns are roaring to cover the bare patches from the last thaw.

NS - Night Skiing. A romantic way to enjoy powder trails by moonlight - aided, of course, by field lights.

KM - Kilometers. Alpine runs are measured in miles; cross-country ski trails are measured in kilometers.

XC - Cross Country. This term indicates that a ski resort also has groomed, or marked and maintained cross-country trails.

CRUD - A word that never appears in snow reports. It’s plain lousy snow. Icy or muddy. Chunks of frozen granular and bare spots. Rocks and roots sticking up above the thin cover. Borrow an old pair of skis to ski crud.

SC - Spring Conditions. Usually corn snow. Icy in the morning, mushy in the afternoon. You take your chances in the spring, but then it’s also coming March and flowers, and in New England farmers have drawn the sap from the maple trees and are boiling it down over wood fires to make the most delicious syrup ever poured on steaming pancakes dripping with butter.

Spring days are why the gods gave us spring skiing.

Crazy things happen on the trails. Skiers doff their down-filled costumes. Some opt for shorts and T-shirts, and some go further.

It was a warm Easter Sunday at Killington. We were standing at the base of a lift and heard a curious clamor of voices far up the slope. The voices grew louder. And then we could see him, hurtling down the mountain, leaping from mogul to mogul, carving turns with the smooth skill of an expert.

Naked as a jaybird without feathers. Wearing only boots and gloves and ski goggles.

The roar followed this demidemon of snow down the mountain. In a final burst of speed he rocketed into a group of friends, a blanket spread wide to catch him and cloak his 15 minutes of glory.

Yes, crazy, wonderful things happen in the spring.

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