Spring might be the best time of year to head for the mountains. The midwinter ski-resort crowds have dissipated, there’s still a good chance of scoring late-season powder, and, if all else fails, there’s always corn snow and sunshine. Plus, ski areas ramp up their festivals and concert offerings and slash prices as a way to lure guests. So if you’re still looking for an epic spring-break escape, we say take the bait.
Whistler, British Columbia
For the biggest party this spring, look no further than Whistler’s World Ski and Snowboard Festival, which runs April 10 to 14. This annual rager includes ski and snowboard contests, photo and film events, DJs and outdoor concerts, and epic après-ski sessions on the deck of the Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar and Grill. Plus, with an average March snowfall of over eight feet, conditions should be good on Whistler’s steep, glaciated terrain well into April. To sweeten the deal, the resort has spring ski-and-stay packages that can save you up to 40 percent on lodging and lift tickets.
Park City Mountain Resort
Park City, Utah
Sometimes it pays to book at the last minute. If you reserve lodging through Stay Park City within 14 days of your trip, you can score 20 to 40 percent off standard room rates. Or book within seven days, and you can get up to 50 percent off select lodging around town. The resort hosts its annual Spring Grüv festival, with concerts and pond skimming, from March 23 to April 7. Spend a day at the neighboring Deer Valley Resort, whose infamous ski beach is just the place to perfect your goggle tan from a deck chair in front of the Silver Lake Lodge.
West Dover, Vermont
Mount Snow, located two and a half hours from Boston, is party central in spring. Come for Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, March 15 through 17, for live music and costume-clad skiing, and if you book in advance, you can score $17 lift tickets for that Friday. Or reserve a room at the waterfront Snow Lake Lodge, which offers shuttle service to the slopes, for at least three nights from March 10 through 15, and the kids can ski for free (from $513 for three nights). There are also package deals for Reggaefest, March 22 to 24, or the Winter Brewer’s Festival, March 30, during which time you can also score discounts on lodging and lift tickets.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort
At 2,900 acres, Idaho’s largest ski area is known for its crowd-free terrain and low-key vibe. But this spring, the resort is hosting a banked slalom, a women’s cat-skiing day, and regular live music. Come April 6 through 7 for its Schpring Finale, where season-ending festivities include beer tasting, pond skimming, corn skiing, and a cardboard-box derby. The slopeside Selkirk Lodge has discounted rooms (from $169), and Hotel Ruby Sandpoint, at the base of the ski area’s access road, has hot tubs, a ski-waxing room, and free breakfast (from $54).
Big Bear Lake, California
Just two hours from Los Angeles in the San Bernardino Mountains, you’ll find the town of Big Bear Lake and two family-friendly ski areas. Bear Mountain has an amazing halfpipe and terrain park, while Snow Summit has 240 acres of varied terrain. Lift tickets can cost as little as $79 midweek, but you can get free passes when you stay two nights at partner lodges, including a three-bedroom, midcentury cabin called the Treehaus Chalet ($175). In March and April, there’s night skiing under the lights at Snow Summit, outdoor movies, and a Saint Patrick’s Day party with live music. Oh, and if it’s your birthday, you ski for free.
Snowshoe, West Virginia
Snowshoe, five hours from Washington, D.C., takes spring break seriously. From March 15 through 17, the resort is hosting Ballhooter, a weekend festival with on-mountain competitions, drink specials, games, and a concert headlined by Maryland-based hard rockers Clutch. As part of the mountain’s 45th anniversary, it’s offering midweek ski-and-stay deals through the spring that are tough to beat. Book lodging at the Inn at Snowshoe ($90 for two people), six miles from the lifts, and get lift tickets for just $45 a day. Or reserve lift tickets in advance, and you can ride for less than $40 a day.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Until April 15, book three nights and three days of skiing at Steamboat, and you’ll get 20 percent off standard rates with the resort’s Sun and Snow Package. Show up between April 1 and 14 for the mountain’s Springalicious Festival, a season-ending party with pond skimming, concerts, and the Cardboard Classic race, or plan your trip before March 10, and you can ski free on Sundays at Howelsen Hill, Steamboat’s smaller, in-town ski area and North America’s oldest operating ski hill.