I’m a big fan of night skiing and have been for a long time. When I was a kid, living north of Toronto, I was a member at a little ski hill called “Uplands” (which still exists). A couple of times a week, I would walk over to the hill after school and ski into the night. I remember that each run (there were only 4) had one big baseball field light on it near the top. It was primitive night skiing but it was the only way to ski during the week.
Fast forward a bunch of years. Instead of school, I’m at the office staring at my ultra-cool Rule#5 Snow Messenger Bag and thinking of skiing. The car is loaded and ready for a quick after work trip to the ski hill. I still can’t wait to go night skiing!
Thankfully, night skiing has evolved and expanded over the years. Not all resorts have night skiing and not all runs are open. But here’s some great reasons to go night skiing and a few tips:
1. Night skiing is usually less expensive.
At virtually every resort that offers night skiing, your night lift ticket costs less than your day lift ticket. And a weekday night season pass is usually a real bargain! Night prices are lower to get skiers to come out and resorts generally view evening business as a bonus.
2. The slopes are less crowded at night.
Lots of skiers and boarders only go out on the weekend and some just don’t like skiing at night (I really don’t know why). The result is that there are fewer people. That means shorter lift lines and maximum runs. You can ski as much in 2 hours (with no lift lines) as you can in 4 hours or more of day skiing. For the hard core skier, this is clearly heaven on earth.
3. Skiers and snowboarders can cruise under the stars.
Perfect conditions at night just can’t be beat! The ideal winter night is clear (with a full moon), quiet and with an evening temperature of 20F (-5C). Standing at the top of the resort looking down on the lights of a village or city in the distance is magical. It feels different at night because it is when you cruise the slopes under the stars.
Night Skiing Tips
1. Be prepared.
The evening may start out with perfect conditions (as above) but it will almost certainly change. The temperature will almost always drop and will continue to get colder. Be prepared with some form of face cover and an extra layer. Goggles and specific lenses need to be made for night skiing so that you can easily see the hill and all its contours.
2. Ski with a buddy.
As a ski patroller, I also suggest skiing in pairs. Trails tend to be icier than during the day, due to melting and refreezing. Falling temperatures and reduced visibility is not a good thing if you fall on your own (especially on a less used trail or run).
Night skiing is something every skier should try at least once. Be prepared for an exhilarating run-filled evening with smaller crowds, shorter lineups and great deals on lift tickets!