Though they may have their differences, skiers and snowboarders can at least agree on one thing – there is never enough time in the day for shredding some pow and tearing up slopes. However, many ski resorts are now opening up their runs after dark, allowing you to take advantage of a few extra hours on the slopes under the velvet night sky.
Floodlights have been erected at resorts across the world, including in Europe and throughout America, to give their skiers an interesting new experience and extend their powder play well into the nocturnal hours.
It’s generally agreed that night skiing started as a way to allow the ski resorts’ instructors and staff to enjoy skiing down the slopes after runs had been shut and holiday-makers had made their way to the bars, restaurants and nightclubs for après-ski entertainment.
The popularity of night skiing encouraged certain resorts to offer it as a permanent fixture, as well as other out-of-hours activities like sunrise hikes. If you haven’t tried night skiing before, here is our Expert Advice Guide to why it is such a phenomenal way to spend some of your trip.
What to Wear Night Skiing
You will have to dress for much colder weather when you venture out onto the slopes come the evening. Once the sun goes down, temperatures can plummet fast, by as much as 15°C, and that’s not even taking into consideration the wind chill that accompanies this bitter drop.
Dress in multiple layers as you would in the daytime, plus a few extras for good measure. Then add a beanie hat, padded ski gloves and thermal ski socks to your usual ensemble. Ski jackets with insulated padding will provide more warmth than a shell jacket, which means they’re perfect for skiing at night.
You should also throw some Merino wool base layers into the mix, as these are ideal for trapping in body heat and for boosting warmth and insulation. If you start to feel cold even with all these layers and after you’ve worked up a sweat, head indoors to warm yourself up before you continue, and stay on the safe side.
Carry an extra fleece jacket which you can easily slip into if the temperatures dip beyond your comfort zone, and it’s probably wise to have a balaclava or face mask on hand to put on if the air gets extremely cold. A warm ski scarf or neck warmer will also help offset the cold at night.
Since there is no sunlight to shield your eyes from, ski goggles with clear lenses are the best option for post-sunset skiing. But if you can’t get your hands on a pair of these, try to go for goggles with a lighter tint so your eyes are still protected from slope debris without interfering with your vision and the overall visibility.
Fewer People, No Crowds
We all know how crowded it can get on the slopes in resorts, especially on the more popular runs and during peak times of the year. The majority of people prefer to ski in daylight, so why not beat the crowds and get the pistes to yourselves at night?
Families and people who want to take advantage of après-ski activities won’t usually partake in night skiing, so you will have the clearer runs and at a push, a few other like-minded night-time adventurers to share them with!
Beautiful Views, Starlight Magic
If you think the views from the mountain resorts are beautiful in the daytime, wait until you can soak them up at night.
There is usually very little light pollution atop ski resorts and mountains, and with only floodlights showing your way down the run, the areas surrounding you will be bathed in bright moonlight if the skies are crisp and clear.
There is something quite magical about spending time out underneath the stars in a secluded and quiet environment. Skiing under a starry sky will be a memorable experience and can even be a romantic way for couples to connect on holiday.
Now that we’ve hopefully given you the bug and you’re super keen to get out on the slopes in the moonlight, what else do you need to know? Read on for Expert Advice on how to make the most of night skiing, including what to bring and how to be safe.
Other Stuff to Bring
You’ll be needing some additional objects to ensure a successful night-time skiing experience. These include a torch for finding your way around in the darkness and as a multi-purpose tool should you need to locate something in low light conditions.
Stock up on a few goodies and pack a decent supply of water to see you through the evening hours, as catering on the mountain will diminish as the sun goes down.
Despite there being fewer skiers on the slopes at night, you should still take extra caution to avoid hurting yourself and others. Remember that visibility and familiarity are greatly reduced in the pitch-black mountainous nights, and you should double the distance you would usually leave between yourself and skiers in front, in order to prevent collisions.
Keep in mind that if the day was significantly warmer, the snow will have slightly melted and frozen back after the temperature falls. Collisions might, therefore, be more likely, as the run will be icier than during the day, and thus more slippery.
Crowded runs coupled with the difficulty of getting up early after a bit too much après-ski fun can mean that you don’t get as much action on the slopes as you might have liked. Night skiing is the perfect solution for folk like this, if you count yourself amongst them.