Our picks of the top spring (and summer!) ski destinations:
There’s a lot more to snow sports than cold, gnarly weather. In fact, there’s no shame in being a fair-weather skier. From April through August you can find some of the best turns of the year. First, there’s the hero snow—snow that resembles corn but remains forgiving and still holds an edge. And then there’s the lack of crowds. Most ski areas make the bulk of their single-ticket profit during holidays; Christmas to New Years, Spring Break, and Presidents Day are big ones, but even mini-holidays like Valentine’s Day can result in arduous lift lines. After mid-March visits sharply decline. So chances are very, very good you’ll have no lift lines, a chair to yourself, and private runs. Lift prices drop dramatically after March as well. Most resorts offer a spring pass—which ends up being a fraction of what it costs for mid-season rates.
And did we mention the weather? Spring and summer are the best times to hang out on resort patios with your favorite pair of sunglasses, a cold drink, and good friends. Warm temps means that you don’t need so many warm layers. Plus good snow and warm weather equal great conditions that are ideal for beginners.
Here’s our list of the top places to ski in the spring and summer months. And don’t forget to pack your Hawaiian shirt and Mardi Gras beads, as spring skiing generally equals live music, barbeques, and frosty beverages.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort closes for the season on April 6th, but the Aerial Tram re-opens for the summer season on Memorial Day. There is fantastic skiing off the tram, with Cody Peak being a local’s favorite. Winter season pass holders ride the tram for free, or you can buy a single-ride ticket. From the top, you can ski down, snowshoe, hike around and grab breakfast at Corberts Cabin (the waffles are divine). Click here for details. Also, don’t forget to check backcountry conditions at www.jhavalanche.org. There is no in-bounds skiing (or ski patrol), and Jackson Hole does not conduct avalanche reduction efforts!
The glacier on Blackcomb Mountain means that the ski season generally lasts through June. The area has some of the best grooming (and snow making machines) in North America—which helps to extend the season long after other resorts have shut down. This year, Whistler closes on April 21, 2014 (the Peak 2 Peak Gondola closes this day as well), but Blackcomb stays open until May 19th. Lift ticket prices drop after March 31 and then drop significantly on April 22 when Whistler closes. Spring skiing is terrific because Blackcomb has some amazing high-alpine terrain and glaciers where the snow lingers long after the first day of summer. It also doesn’t hurt that the area sports some great alpine and valley restaurants with perfect patios for a lunch break or a sunny après. The biggest spring event is the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF), which runs April 11-20. The Festival combines Canada’s largest free outdoor concert series with career-making showdowns of action sports, photography and film, the best spring snow conditions, and the best nightlife. This is the ultimate celebration of everything that’s core to mountain culture! More info can be found at www.wssf.com. Price details can be found here. The area also offers discounted unlimited spring skiing passes and discounts and spring offers for guests who pre-purchase their passes for next season. Details can be found at www.whistlerblackcomb.com.
Closing day at Mt. Bachelor is scheduled for Sunday, May 25th. Given the current base depth of 110”/141”, as long as there are seasonal temperatures through March and April, it’s looking like it’ll be a great spring, with the standard 360-access off the Summit. You can buy a Spring Season Pass that’s nearly as cheap as a weekend of skiing over the Christmas holiday—it’s valid starting March 31st through closing day. Details on the spring pass, events, and the ‘Springtacular Season’ at Mt. Bachelor can be found here. Locals are crossing their fingers for a snowy next few months, and if the snow and base depth cooperate, the mountain is planning on the ‘JulySki’ opening of the Summit for the July 4th weekend.
Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge has longest ski and snowboard season in North America. You can ski daily through Labor Day. Starting around June 1st (depending on snowpack and weather) the skiing and riding then moves from the lower mountain up to the lifts that access the glacier. The Magic Mile chair does what it promises—with a full mile of turns. The Palmer Chairlift drops you off at 8,540 feet on the side of Mt. Hood, a great place to start your ski to the bottom, or if you’re more vertically inclined, to climb to the summit. Usually by Memorial Day, only those two lifts remain open. Starting June 1, skiers and snowboarders can usually get access to two chairlifts every day. On most days, skiers can lap the Magic Mile and Palmer Chairlifts. Terrain park features are usually installed on Magic Mile. Summer lift tickets cost $60. Timberline also runs camps during the summer season. The three- to six-day camps target performance, masters, families, and freestyle. Most are scheduled mid-June through July, and some are designed to include kids.
Nothing feels better than carving your own lines down untouched terrain. Do you agree? #TryingStuff
With a new week ahead, how will you push your boundaries when it comes to #TryingStuff?
Our #SkiBum13 winners, @kurtttjohnson and @codyblue_ have arrived in Whistler! Follow them on Instagram and Twitter to see all their adventures in Canada!
Snow on the ground and sun on our faces. We’re having a hard time thinking of anything better. #TryingStuff
It’s Monday, again! Choose your path and stick with it! #TryingStuff