There’s only one thing that skiers love more than a powder day and that’s a spring ski day. The days are longer and brighter. The clothing becomes lighter as we begin to ditch the multitude of layers necessary to stay warm during the mid-winter months. The snow is softer and bumpier, ready and waiting for you to get sendy. And, when you call it quits for the day you can easily find one of the many parties that resorts throw to honor the transition to spring. Yes, spring skiing is great and the execs at the mountains sure know how to capitalize on a good time. That’s exactly why, come March, there are a multitude of mountain festivals for you to take in.
Centered around anything and everything from major snow sports competitions, to musical acts, to costume clad pond skims, ski resorts nationwide are hosting spring festivals that are a must for anyone who loves long days, soft bumps and good times. With so many out there, it can be hard to decipher which ones are the best. If you can, I encourage you to quit your job and attend them all. However, if living the ski bum life is currently not an option, here is a list of North America’s best.
The Vermont Open, March 8-10 at Stratton Mountain, Vermont
Hosted by Stratton Mountain, the resort where snowboarding originated, The Vermont Open is more than just a competition, it is a weekend long celebration of the sport. Now in its 7th season it has cemented itself as one of the top spring festivals on the east coast. This is truly an open event as riders of all abilities will compete for prizes of up to $20,000, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. The Vermont Open also hosts a wide variety of après-ski parties and concerts taking place right in their famous base village. This includes this year’s headlining concert featuring, the widely popular bluegrass band, Ghost of Paul Revere.
WinterWonderGrass, March 29-31 in Squaw Valley, California
WinterWonderGrass was developed with the intention of supporting community and charity through good times with good people. With two successful festivals under their belt this winter at Stratton Mountain Resort and Steamboat Resort, they now head to the Squaw Valley for this winter’s swansong. Squaw, which once again received a record dumping of snow this season, will serve as the perfect final venue for WWG to bring people together for three fun filled days of music and brews. This year’s show will feature nationally recognized bluegrass and roots acts such as Greensky Bluegrass, Trampled by Turtles and Leftover Salmon. Take all of this in while tasting copious amounts of craft beers from regional breweries paired with delicious locally sourced food. Says Scotty Stoughton, founder of WWG, “If you have never been to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, it’s hard to capture the majesty that is Tahoe, especially during the late winter. Expect sunny skies, colorful locals, authentic California culture and breathtaking sunsets. You have to experience it!”
Jackson Hole Rendezvous, March 15-17 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Six years and running, Jackson Hole Rendezvous continues to develop into one of the most popular lifestyle and music festivals in the entire country. This should really come as no surprise though. The iconic Jackson Hole is the perfect backdrop for such an event and with stages set up throughout the Teton Village and their famous town square, there are plenty of opportunities to take in all of the great music and activities that they have lined up. Over the course of three days Jackson Hole will play host to their wildly popular headliner, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats who will be joined by Greensky Bluegrass and the super talented Grace Potter. Talk about setting the bar as high as their legendary peaks.
Spring Gruv, March 23-April 7 in Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
Spring Gruv is the ultimate in spring ski festivals and with an incredibly snowy February it is bound to be even more exciting than ever. Park City Ski Resort’s 16 day music festival includes free daily activities, après-ski parties and concerts this year headlined by Anderson East and Dragondeer. It also culminates with one of the main attractions, their annual pond skimming competition. This traditional rite of spring, and one of the longest running pond skims in the country, attracts an abundance of costume clad skiers and riders determined to cross their 100 foot pond. Combine that with great music and deep snow, and Spring Gruv is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.
Aspen Bud Light Spring Jam, March 15-31, Aspen Snowmass, Colorado
19 years in and Aspen’s Bud Light Spring Jam only continues to get bigger and better. For two weeks, Aspen’s four mountains will feature a variety of events, competitions, parties and concerts. Signature staples like Freestyle Friday, the Banked
Slalom, KickAspen, CORE Party, free Bud Light Hi-Fi concerts are back and better than ever. This year, in an effort to continuously evolve, they’ve also added the Helly Hansen 4 Mtn Mission to the fold. Here, teams will compete in an incredible scavenger hunt adventure race across all four of their mountains that is sure to only add to the fun of a festival with this pedigree.
World Ski and Snowboard Festival, April 10-14, Whistler, BC, Canada
North America’s largest festival includes a combination of arts, snow sports, music and mountain culture, making the World Ski and Snowboard Festival is the ultimate après-ski-season party. From the famous Saudan Couloir Race to the Monster Energy Boarderstyle World Championships and Ski and Snowboard Big Air you will see the world’s best throw down in an effort to emerge on top. Then, take in all facets of mountain culture at a variety of events featuring art, film, photography and more. Finally, après-everything with the WSSF sick party scene, featuring their Outdoor Concert series, and late night festivities that are sure to provide a satiating end to another amazing ski season.