It is the best of times and the worst of times for skiers and snowboarders.

The snow can be wonderful, but everyone knows it will not last, that the end is in sight.

Each season has its own characteristics. January and February are the powder months. Veteran skiers and snowboarders know that in the waning days of each winter, it is important to watch out for variable surface conditions, and for rocks and bare ground exposed by thinning cover.

They also know to wear sunblock to protect against stronger sunlight that beats down from above, and reflects up from below.

Goggles or sunglasses are important pieces of equipment.

Clothing shifts from the ultra-warm garments of mid-winter to lighter garb of spring.

Skiers and riders dress in layers still, but more lightly, so various items of apparel can be taken off and stowed away as the days warm from 20s to 40s.

They know to ski early, enjoy the mid-day sun and warmth, and go home happy.

There is a certain magic to spring skiing. Skiers and riders may arrive a bit later at the slopes, as surfaces tend to be firm early and soften through the morning.

There always is a magic time each day when conditions are perfect, every turn a joy when edges set perfectly, leading from one to the next in linked arcs down the mountain.

Timberline will shift from winter activities over the next weeks.

Many are planned, among them a musical events celebrating the heritage of the Allegheny Mountains.

The resort also is a center of mountain biking in the region.