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TAKE THIS AS YOUR SIGN TO HEAD OUT ON AN EPIC SPRING SKIING ADVENTURE. LEARN WHY SPRING IS THE BEST TIME TO SKI AS WELL AS WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU.
While we are sure that most people would assume that the middle of winter would be the best time of year to ski (think December and January), in truth in most places - including many of the top ski resorts in North America - the most optimal time to hit the slopes is actually during the spring season (mid-February to mid-April). This is due to a number of things - from weather, to crowds to the actual snow on the mountains.
Below we outline why spring is the best time to be out on the mountain skiing or snowboarding, the top ski resorts to visit for the absolute best conditions and the most fun, and finally, what gear you will want to have with you on the mountain.
\\ Why Spring is the Best Time of Year to Ski
There are a few key reasons why we think springtime is the best time to hit the slopes for an epic ski adventure. Below we outline 4 of them:
1 | CHEAPER LIFT TICKETS AND LODGING
Overall, you can expect the price of a day pass to drop once the high season (December and January) passes. Likewise, some ski resorts - especially the smaller, independent ones - will even release a spring season pass at a pretty significant discount than the full season options.
💬INSIDER TIP: Monarch Ski Resort in central Colorado (near the town of Salida) puts out their "Wings Pass" every year in late February or early March. This season pass gives you access to the mountain for the rest of the season (the resort usually closes in mid-April) as well as the whole next season. In our view, this is definitely one of the best ski deals around. You can learn more about the Wings Pass here.
Similarly, you can usually find some pretty sweet lodging deals once spring rolls around - including at some of the more popular ski resorts like Vail, Steamboat and Crested Butte. While you may still see some expensive nights during the holidays (especially during Spring Break), if you are able to visit on a random week and especially on a random weeknight, you may be surprised at the very low prices.
2 | SHORTER LIFT LINES
Now this isn't always the case - especially during spring holidays like Spring Break - but we would say overall you can usually expect shorter lift lines during the spring.
This is mostly due to the fact that a lot of the people who come to ski like to visit during the middle of the winter and the holidays. So, once spring rolls around, the mountains are often a lot quieter. Definitely take advantage of this - especially if you have the chance to ski on a weekday.
3 | GREAT SNOWPACK
We are not snow scientists, but we will say that during the spring the snow just seems to be better. Especially if you are able to hit the slopes early in the morning when it is still untouched and the sun hasn't made it super slushy yet.
While it would be easy to think that the mountains get the most snow during the middle of winter (December and January) in fact, many resorts (especially the ones in Colorado) get most of their best snow during the spring. Watch the snow forecasts and try to plan your adventure to happen right after a big snowstorm.
4 | A HIGHER CHANCE OF BLUEBIRD DAYS
Now this might sound like the exact opposite of what we said above about snow storms, but bear with us. While a lot of snow does fall during the spring, you also have a great chance of skiing under some truly amazing blue skies. Honestly, a warm ski day under a sunny sky is one of the best feelings out there. If you can hit the mountain on a bluebird day, do it.
💬INSIDER TIP: we highly recommend checking the weather report before hitting the slopes just to make sure you are actually going to be able to ski under a sunny sky and so you also know what to pack in case the weather does turn bad (see our gear guide below).
EXPLORE MORE | THE BEST SKI RESORTS IN COLORADO FOR ALL ABILITIES AND STYLES
\\ The 5 Best Ski Resorts For Spring Skiing
We would say that for the most part, a lot of the ski resorts in the USA (and Canada) are overall better during the spring. But with that being said, there are a few real standouts when it comes to just being an epic destination for spring skiing. Find our list of the top 5 ski resorts in North America for spring skiing (in no particular order) below.
❔GOOD TO KNOW: the mentioned closing dates are based on previous year estimates. Note that some resorts may stay open longer or close earlier depending on the overall snow levels.
1 | PALISADES TAHOE
LOCATION: Lake Tahoe, California
CLOSING DAY: May 29th
Known as the Spring Skiing Capital, Palisades Tahoe Resort should definitely be high on everyone's skiing bucket list.
With over 40 lifts, 270 trails and 6,000 skiable acres across two mountains, there truly are endless adventures to be had at this California resort. Other important things to know about spring skiing at Palisade Tahoe is that the resort gets (on average) 400 inches of snow a year, it is also known to have endless sunshine and lots of soft powdery snow, and finally, it starts offering discounted lift tickets on April 1st.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PALISADES TAHOE SKI RESORT
⛷ PASS: Palisades Tahoe is on the IKON Pass.
2 | ARAPAHOE BASIN
LOCATION: Dillon, Colorado
CLOSING DAY: June 1st
In a state full of ski resorts (at last count there were 28), it can be hard to stand out. Luckily, Arapahoe Basin has some really unique offerings. Including, being home to some of Colorado's most legendary terrain (it is ranked 1st in Colorado for being the most challenging and 4th in the West). It is also known for its chill, laid-back vibe, fun community events, and great food.
When it comes to spring skiing, Arapahoe Basin (or A-Basin) really shines due to its cheaper lift tickets and for having the longest season in the state.
❔GOOD TO KNOW: A-Basin doesn't just talk the talk when it comes to having challenging terrain. It really walks the walk too. In fact, of the 1,428 acres that make up the resort, 73% of it is rated as black or double-black.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ARAPAHOE BASIN SKI RESORT
⛷ PASS: Arapahoe Basin is on the IKON Pass.
3 | MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN
LOCATION: Mammoth Lakes, California
CLOSING DAY: May 29th
While Palisades Tahoe might be known as the Spring Skiing Capital, its more southern brother isn't too far behind. Mammoth Mountain, located in the town of Mammoth Lakes, California, is often one of the snowiest resorts in North America (on average it receives over 400 inches of snow). But, what makes it really special is that it also usually sees 300 days of sunshine a year.
Other things that make Mammoth Mountain stand out include the fact that the resort's summit sits at 11,053 feet and it (unsurprisingly) has the highest lift-served skiable terrain in California. From the top, you will be rewarded with unparalleled Sierra Nevada views, access to incredible bowls and powder (the mountain is known for its legendary snowpack), and over 3,500 acres of amazing runs.