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How to Survive Mud Season

Tips on getting through that tricky period when the snow is melting but the trails aren’t quite clear yet.

If you live in or spend time in a mountain town, you’re familiar with Mud Season. It’s that in-between period when winter is on its way out, but spring hasn’t fully arrived yet. It’s when the ground is soaked with snowmelt, the rivers are gushing, and ski resorts may be shut for the season but the trails are still buried. So, what is an active, outdoors-loving human like yourself supposed to do? We have a few suggestions.

Go Spring Skiing

Maybe your local ski area is shutting down, but chances are, there’s a ski area still open somewhere within driving distance. This winter, thanks to record snowfalls from Mammoth to Alta, ski resorts are going to stay open later than usual. So, get pumped for an endless season of spring skiing that lasts into July. OpenSnow has a list of what ski areas are still turning lifts. Otherwise, the backcountry shines come spring, with corn snow and high-alpine objectives, so check your local avalanche forecast, hire a guide if you’re new to the backcountry, and go check off those zones you weren’t able to get to mid-winter.

Give Back to Your Community

You know all that time you spend skiing in the winter? Well, you could take some of this downtime in-between seasons and use it for good. Consider contributing to your local trail building organization, signing up as a search and rescue volunteer, or getting involved with an organization that helps get youth into the outdoors. There are endless ways to give back to your community, so figure out what works best for you and what’s needed where you live.

Go Climb a Volcano

This is the time of year when peaks like Mount Rainier, Lassen Peak, and Mount Shasta come into play as world-class backcountry ski destinations. We’ve got more details on our favorite volcanoes to climb and ski from California to Washington—including what layers to wear as you do it.

Ride a Road Bike

Maybe you’re a dedicated mountain biker like us. But we’re guessing you have a road bike collecting dust somewhere in your garage. While you wait for the trails to re-appear, get your biking legs in shape with some road rides. The roadways should be dry and clear and there’s less cars on the road during the shoulder seasons.

Take a Road Trip

Here’s a thought: If you don’t like mud season in a mountain town, get out of town! Load up the car and take a trip down in elevation, where the flowers are blooming and the grass is green. Visit the city for good food and urban trails or head to the desert, where spring temperatures are mild and trails are perfect after a long season of rain. We’ve got tips on campgrounds you can ride your bike from, why you should consider a trip to Baja, and the coolest trail system in Vermont.

Cook a New Recipe—and Stock Your Freezer

We have a new favorite cookbook called Beyond Skid: A Cookbook for Ski Bums. Written by Jackson Hole skiers Lily Krass and Max Ritter, the book has simple, easy-to-pull-off recipes like breakfast burritos you can freeze for later, energy balls you can eat on the skintrack, and guacamole you can make on your tailgate. While you’re waiting for the trails to melt out, prep some new meals and stash them away in your freezer, so you’re stocked and ready once you’re too busy to cook again.

Sign up for a Yoga Class

We know you’d rather be outside skiing or biking. But stretching is good for the body—and the soul. So, take this minute in between seasons to get your yogi on. Or go to the gym and do some much-overlooked strength training. Whatever your preference, the point is: It’s OK to take a break from the downhill or uphill pursuits and give your body a little cross-training or rest.

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