The intense adrenaline-packed days of winter give way to carefree bluebird skies in the Spring. Sunglasses replace goggles and bulky layers are swapped out for light shells and t-shirts. It’s spring ski season, a time most Utah locals cherish. Learn why and you’ll want to join them.
My favorite aspect of spring ski season is the vibe. With warmer temps and sunny skies, skiers don lighter clothes, including shorts or an occasional bikini, and adopt a chilled laid-back demeanor. Local resorts host outdoor concerts and BBQs, and offer deals on lodging and tickets.
Outside resorts, the skiing is spectacular as well. Last May, a friend and I headed into the backcountry just outside of Brighton Resort for a relaxing day among the aspen. After skinning up the mountain, we lounged in makeshift snow-chairs, taking in the view before skiing down. It was an epic day; I only wish we’d thought to pack a picnic. (If you do ski backcountry, make sure to check avalanche conditions on the Utah Avalanche Center’s website.)
A common misconception about late-season skiing is that the snow isn’t as good. Utah receives an average 500” of snow each year, with 100” of that dumping in March. This means that the base is deep moving into spring. Some resorts, such as Snowbird, remain open as late as Memorial Day, while others close late April.
As I hinted earlier, dressing for spring skiing is different than during the heart of winter. The temperatures vary widely throughout the day making layers critical. In the morning, you’ll need a warm jacket over a lighter layer. Plan to drop the jacket by mid-morning. I often find myself in a light long-sleeved technical shirt such as Columbia Sportswear’s Freeze Degree, which keeps me comfortable in the sun or shade—I pretty much live in this shirt during the spring. I just wear shell pants on the bottom, leaving my insulated ski pants at home.
Expect the unexpected on warm spring days. Wild and wonderful traditions abound as the season draws to an end. Pond skimming contests at Canyons, the Dummy Downhill at Brighton, and wild costumes on closing day, are a few examples of the wacky revelry that Spring brings out in skiers.
While the vibe and extra activities are cool, discounts are another BIG reason to plan a trip during spring. Resorts slash prices on both passes and lodging as the season winds down. If you plan to buy a season pass next year, some resorts add this year’s spring season on free. Spring packages, lodging, passes and even lessons are also available.
Embrace your inner child and pack some light layers for Utah’s spring skiing season (To help you make the most of your Spring skiing, consider these few tips). Who knows, you might even get to ride down the mountain on a Barcalounger sled!