Bluebird days are the skier's holy days. When snow stops, the clouds part, and the sun shines. Not contrived upon a calendar, bluebird days are bestowed by god's divine plan. For the casual skiier bluebird is a pleasantry, a lucky fringe benefit of a good year; vacations can not be planned around bluebird. For the veteran, bluebird is an elusive but desperately sought powder fix. It is a fickle beast that can only be tamed by a private jet and the national weather service.

Ideal Conditions

Bluebird conditions are fleeting. The powder experience usually happens during a massive storm. Once the sun comes out, two things happen:

  1. At a ski resort, the slavering hordes quickly track out the entire mountain.
  2. The snow begins to set, losing its fluff and becoming soggy, crusty or stiff. At high elevation the sun is powerful and this can happen even at low temperatures.

So, in general, bluebird is a term reserved for the actual day it stops snowing. In the backcountry this time period may be extended by a few days, but generally no more than that. Sometimes it remains cloudy until prime conditions have passed. Sometimes the snow will be windblown and choppy. But on the perfect bluebird day everything comes together: deep snow, bright sun, low wind, and an unspoiled panorama opening up beneath you.