Top 10 Resorts for Spring Skiing and Snowboarding
Here's one thing I don't get about ski culture: In November, everyone is thinking about skiing, and the skiing usually sucks. In April, everyone has their eye on the beach, and yet the skiing often rocks. Here's a secret, folks: Spring can actually be the best time to ski. Why? Well, the weather's warm, the days are long, the snow's soft, sometimes you can get lucky with a late-season storm, and everyone else has gone home for the season. Now, tell your honey that you're keeping those skis in the front hall a little longer and get on the horn for the the weather report. The Powder Feed's picks for the top ten resorts to ski in spring, in no particular order:
• Killington, Vermont
Believe it or not, the titan of East Coast skiing, Killington Resort, often stays open until early May, thanks in large part to its killer snowmaking—about 600 acres covered by 1,500 snow guns—and chilly location in Vermont.
• Alyeska, Alaska
Alyeska's regular season ends April 25, but the resort plans to stay open on weekends through the end of May, conditions permitting. Most of the time, they do permit, with bells. (Think 526 annual inches of snow mid-mountain.) And with plenty of daylight as the solstice nears, you can ski until 6 pm and hoard the views over glaciers, peaks, and the ocean all to yourself.
• Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Let's be honest, it wasn't a particularly awesome snow year for Summit County, but the good news is they've been getting some good late-season storms. Plus, at high altitudes, the snow should stick around. That means that the outlook is decent for A Basin, a famed spring-ski destination, staying open 'til June as planned. By then, the “Beach,” as the base area party spot is known, starts living up to its name.
• Silverton Mountain, Colorado
Expert-only Silverton Mountain only allows guided skiing during the bulk of the season, but come April 2, they open the mountain up to us ragtag unguided skiers again. Because they're located in a honey hole for snow in southwestern Colorado, it's not unusual to get some powder days as late as mid-April. Planned operation dates are April 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 17, and 18.
• Blackcomb, British Columbia
To date this season, Whistler Blackcomb received about 42 feet (yes, feet) of snow, their third snowiest year in history. If there were ever a time to hit up the Blackcomb Glacier in spring, this might be it. Regular spring operations end May 24.
• Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
Spring is actually one of the best times to ski Mt. Bachelor because the whole mountain is open through May. (In winter, the upper lifts can be closed due to high winds.) With a number of different aspects to ski, there's almost always some good soft stuff to be found.
• Snowbird, Utah
Snowbird boasts Utah's longest ski and snowboard season, from mid-November through mid-May. And with 500 inches of ultralight snow in Little Cottonwood Canyon, there should be plenty enough for the long days of spring.
• Wolf Creek, Colorado
Corn season, here we come! Wolf Creek is famed for getting the most snow of any ski area in Colorado, which is saying something. They'll stay open on weekends through April 18 so the corn huckers can get their fill.
• Mammoth Mountain, California
Mammoth virtually pioneered spring skiing. Thanks to a top elevation around 11,000 feet and about 400 inches of snow annually, the resort stays open 'til June every year for the shorts-n-shirtless California crowd.
• Val D'Isere, France
With 94 lifts, two glaciers, and nearly 200 miles (miles!) of ski pistes—that's what they call them over there—there's not much to dislike about Val D'Isere. The venerable ski area, which tops out at over 11,000 feet, plans to stay open until May 2, but hell, if there isn't snow, who cares? Go have a glass of champagne and enjoy the views! You're in the Alps!