The Upside of Skiing in the Rain

Sometimes winter throws us a curve ball. This season we’ve seen crazy warm temperatures in December, cold snaps, rain and even rainbows. Varying weather can stifle a family’s ski season if they let it. My advice – don’t let it!

My family visited Okemo Mountain Resort for a weekend ski getaway in January and experienced skiing in the rain firsthand. It wasn’t a day of light drizzle either, there were some real downpours. Full disclosure, we knew before heading out to Vermont that we were in for some serious rain during our weekend stay but we didn’t letting it deter us. Day one (of two) included flurries and fog but overall conditions were great. The next morning we woke up to the patter of rain against our condo windows and a flow of cars below checking out early.

We, however, were determined to stay and ski that day. We had a half day lesson booked with Okemo’s Snow Stars program for our 5 year old Rowan, so this was going to be a rare opportunity for some one on one ski time with our older daughter. Okemo staff were handing out very stylish ponchos (picture Disney World in the rain but surrounded by snow) so we all donned a cover-up and headed out to the lifts. I was more worried how Rowan would handle his lesson but wanted him to give it a try.

Overall we experienced a damp but fun day on the mountain. Everything was soaked by the time we wrapped up, but I was so glad we stayed because it toughened our kids’ skins a bit and was an adventure for all of us.

Okemo Mountain

Looking svelte in our ponchos, courtesy of Okemo Mountain Resort.

Don’t let a rainy ski day dampen your spirits because there are some true benefits to skiing in the rain. 

  • Lift lines are nearly non-existent. As our day progressed some lifts started to close due to conditions, but for those that remained open we could ski right onto the next chair without any wait.
  • Rain and warmer temperaturesmakes snow soft, which allows for easier turns and overall fun conditions on the mountain..
  • Group ski lessons often turn into semi-private or private ski lesson, without the extra cost.
  • That high tech wicking ski jacket you bought can be truly tested.
  • The sound of rain on your GoPro video is actually pretty soothing when you play it back by the warmth of a fire.

And if you decide that you’ve had enough rain for one day…

Try the indoor resort activities you never seem to have time to do because you’re too busy skiing. Whether it’s a family game room, arcade or waterpark, Vermont resorts offer an abundance of distractions off-slope.

Also, some Vermont mountains offer an “opt-out” option on certain days when the conditions are less than optimal. You can usually ski for about an hour and get a refund or credit for another day if you decide not to stay. Policies vary by mountain so call ahead.

Okemo Mountain

Soft snow and a trail all to ourselves.

After about a half dozen runs in the rain my family needed a dry, warm break. We had an early lunch at Okemo’s Roundhouse cafeteria where I could watch my son’s very small group lesson ride up and down the magic carpet. I really had no need to worry about my 5 year old in the rain. He did what most kids would do at the end of a wet lesson; took his heavy ski boots and started stomping in the puddles. Lesson? Skiing in the rain can be fun for all ages if you embrace it and just go along for the ride.

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