Days are longer, snowpack is deeper, temps are warmer, skies are sunnier, bumps are more forgiving, skills are at their peak.

Throw in barbecues and pond skimming, soft moguls and end-of-season sales.

All that combines into excellent spring skiing in New England.

Some important considerations: Bring sunblock, because stronger sun can really fry skiers and riders, especially with rays bombarding down from above and reflecting back up from the snow surface.

Wear goggles or sunglasses to protect eyes from strong sunlight.

Dress in layers that can be shed or put back on, as temperatures vary throughout the day.

Be ready for variable conditions. Trail surface can be frozen solid first thing in the morning, soften to perfect butter by mid-morning, and turn into piles of mashed potatoes by mid-afternoon. Clouds can return soft snow cover to a frozen state in a matter of minutes, and forest shade can mean one side of a trail is frozen while the other side is soft.

Have a strategy for skiing the mountain that takes into account which trails will have morning sun, and therefore soften first. Move around the mountain as the day goes on, to keep ahead of crowds and to make the most of sunshine.

Quit when you're tired. Heavy spring snow can really take it out of leg muscles, and the warm afternoon sun makes decks attractive places to finish the day.