The Best Spring Skiing
Spots in North America
BY RACHEL CAVANAUGH
To help you plan the perfect ski trip and find the best spring skiing spots, we’ve rounded up the best places in North America. Put your warm ski jackets away, grab some breathable snow pants, break out the lightweight baselayers, and get ready for some sunny spring fun.
Mammoth Mountain, California
Mammoth Mountain is by far one of the best places for spring skiing and snowboarding in North America. The resort has California’s longest ski season and usually doesn’t close until late May or June. It has fantastic outdoor dining and the weekend après parties continue on the Canyon Lodge Sundeck well into the spring months. The mountain boasts an average summit depth of 111 inches in April, along with 1.6 snowy days a week. Plus, the Mammoth Bike Park is usually open by mid-spring, so you can do some biking after you get your turns in.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Although it’s typically closed by May or June, folks seeking quality spring skiing in April should look no further than Sun Valley, Idaho. This western ski resort—home to the country’s first chairlift—enjoys more than 250 sunny days per year and is chock-full of fun spring events, including costume parties, live concerts, and tailgates. Off the slopes, Sun Valley offers fantastic hiking trails so you can start breaking in your hiking boots for spring.
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
A trip to Whistler Blackcomb is usually full of fun activities and off-piste entertainment no matter when you go, but springtime is an exceptionally good time. In addition to awesome deals that can be found on lift tickets, this mega-resort hosts the World Ski & Snowboard Festival in April. Big crowds turn up to watch live events, and ski or snowboard on the resort’s more than 8,000 acres of terrain. There are all kinds of competitions to enjoy, including the famous “Slush Cup,” along with plenty of music, food, and drinks.
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Celebrated in the Rocky Mountains for its spring skiing, Arapahoe Basin is definitely the place to be when the sun comes out. With a base area situated at 10,520 feet—and lots of skiable terrain located above the treeline—it’s a wonderful place for spring turns. The smaller, old-school ski resort often comes to life in the spring after Aspen and the other bigger Colorado resorts close. Arapahoe Basin receives an average of 32 inches of snowfall in April and has even been open for the Fourth of July on several occasions.
Timberline Lodge, Oregon
Boasting the longest ski season in North America, it’s a no-brainer that Timberline Lodge would appear on a list of North America’s best spring skiing destinations. The Mt. Hood ski resort stays open 10 months a year and is so spring- and summer-focused that it has a special chairlift—the Palmer Express—that doesn’t even open until late May or June. The lodge offers a discounted spring pass, and when the ski season ends, the terrain parks get moved to higher elevations to keep them rideable for the pros who come in to train during the summer as well as ski and snowboard camps hosted by the resort.
Killington Ski Resort, Vermont
In the eastern part of the country, Killington is the place to be for spring skiing and snowboarding. With the special discounted Nor’beaster Spring Pass, the ski hill fills up with locals, often wearing tutus and other costumes as they participate in pond skims, raffles, concerts, gear demos, and other end-of-season festivities. Spring highlights include April’s annual “Dazed and Defrosted” and the May Day Slalom. Killington offers soft, slushy snow with temps in the low 40s, and about half of the resort’s 155 trails typically remain open into the spring.
Alyeska Resort, Alaska
In addition to 15-hour days and spectacular panoramic views, Alaska’s Alyeska Ski Resort offers lots of springtime fun to be had around the base area, including live music, brew fests, bike races, and the annual spring carnival known as the “Slush Cup” (not to be confused with Whistler Blackcomb’s event of the same name). The excellent spring skiing conditions complement the fun, laid-back après vibe. Work on your goggle tan while watching tug-of-war events or listening to live music.
With sunny bluebird skies and temperatures around 40 degrees, Utah’s Snowbird is an ideal place to log your spring turns. It offers the longest season in Utah, with spring storms depositing big snow dumps as late as April and May. The season extends so long, in fact, that the resort has been able to open on the Fourth of July on five different occasions in the last 50 years—about once a decade. The average summit depth in April is an impressive 83 inches.
Palisades Tahoe, California
Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley) is another stellar place for spring skiing. The self-proclaimed “Spring Skiing Capital,” the California resort enjoys an average summit depth in April of 83 inches (like Snowbird). Spring tickets are often discounted and the resort is included on the Ikon Pass. There’s a cool après-ski scene with music, art, brewpubs, and gear demos. And with great hiking trails and the Truckee River nearby, you can ski or snowboard in the morning and then go hiking, trail running, fishing, or paddleboarding in the afternoon.