Daylight savings time has landed on us. Outside of pushing the clocks around, it isn't clear what good it does us. Since we've jumped ahead an hour, though, there is an impact on outdoor recreation.
Nothing actually happens in any scientific manner. It isn't really any lighter at 6 p.m. It's just that instead of looking at a clock and seeing 5 p.m., that same clock now says 6 p.m.
The end result is that if you are trekking about in the great outdoors, you have more time to stay out there before it gets dark.
The clock switch comes just a few days before the real switch. Spring officially arrives on March 20th this year. It's called the Vernal Equinox. On this day, daytime and nighttime hours are almost equal. From the 20th on through till the Autumnal Equinox, the days will slowly get longer and the nights shorter.
When autumn arrives, the days will slowly get shorter, and the nights longer.
For now, planning an outdoor excursion now gives you the option of going a bit farther afield before you have to turn around and head back. The really long days just slowly work their way up the calendar.
For now, backcountry skiers will be able to start a bit later and still get in a good day of kicking and gliding out there. Yes, there is still enough snow to do that. Yes, you do still have to head a bit higher in the mountains to get to that snow.
The last storm that came in did add to the pack. The rain that came with the storm took some of the gain away. The warmer days, followed by colder nights is keeping quite a lot of the snow in place though.
While there isn't a huge amount, around 7,000 feet and above is where you'll be able to put the xc skis on and get a decent day in. Below that though it's a little sparse.
The snow that is there has a very good kick and glide composition to it. While we all hope for a lot more snow, waiting for that to happen before you head out could be a mistake.
For the downhill crowd, a couple of pretty nice events are coming up. Both are related to the Olympics and the locals who participated and did so well.
Sierra-at-Tahoe will do a couple of things on March 15th. First, they will honor Olympians Jamie Anderson, Maddie Bowman, and Hannah Teter at the Equinox Spring Festival. This part of the celebration starts out at South Tahoe High School, and winds its way over Echo Summit to Sierra where the welcome home will kick into high gear.
In conjunction with that, they are opening their new Solstice Plaza, a definite plus to the already great amenities at the resort. It's likely to be crowded, so go early, enjoy the festivities and have a great day skiing to boot.
Up at Squaw Valley, the Nature Valley Alpine Championships will take place from March 19th to the 23d. Squaw and Alpine Meadows will be welcoming their Olympians home as well. Julia Mancuso, Marco Sullivan, and Travis Ganong are Squaw Valley skiers and will honored on Friday, March 21st.
Other Olympians are also expected at the resort. Ted Ligety, Bode Miller, Andrew Weibrecht and Mikaela Shiffrin will be competing in the Alpine Championships.
This is another big event and if you are going to make the trek up there, go early. Book a room and really enjoy yourself.
Ski the day away and grab the opportunity to hear these Olympians share their experiences with you. Find a good spot and watch them as they work their way through the gates. It's fast, so pay attention.
Whatever you do, take advantage of the season and get as much skiing in as you can.