For many, the start of spring brings to mind thoughts of great mornings on the slopes enjoying the spring corn snow, then long, lazy afternoons enjoying the sunshine with a cool beverage.
But for others it also means that annual nightmare – the end of the ski season – with most ski areas in North America shutting up shop in the first half of April.
But fear not, some ski areas will stay open later in to spring, indeed some will remain open through to summer, and with the deep bases built up this winter the 2019 spring skiing season is looking particularly good. Here are 10 of the best bets in A-Z order.
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Other than a few glacier ski areas in Europe which open year-round, and some years Timberline with its permanent snowfield (see below), A-Basin has one of the longest ski seasons in the world, usually opening in October (their current season started on October 19th last year) then staying open right through to June and sometimes in to July. They don’t give a closing date and pretty well stay open so long as conditions permit.
Alberta has three ski areas usually open in to May – Marmot Basin up near Jasper and the twin Banff ski areas of Lake Louise and Sunshine. The former two usually close around the first weekend of May but Sunshine stays open to the end of the month, staging its world-famous pond skimming event, the Slush Cup, the world’s oldest, back for its 91st staging this year on May 20th.
Beartooth Basin, Wyoming – Open in June and Early July, 2019
Located 23 miles southwest of Red Lodge Montana at the Twin Lakes Headwall on the Beartooth Pass, this summer-only basic ski area (formerly The Red Lodge International Ski and Snowboard Camp) is one of North America’s oldest alpine ski training area set up by some great names in the skiing world back in the 1960s. Opening dates are uncertain until nearer to the time due to snow conditions and their reliance on the Highway being cleared and opened.
Breckenridge, Colorado – Open to May 27th, 2019
A new entry in our list of late opening ski areas (or perhaps that should be a re-entry as back in the 1980s and 90s, Breckenridge used to stay open later in to Spring) owners Vail Resorts recently announced that Breckenridge would be staying open to the Memorial Day holiday weekend at the end of May this year. Better still they say it’s a long-term plan for the years to come too.
Killington is usually one of the first to open in the East each winter (it has been open since October 19th last year this season) and then endeavours to stay open to the very end of May and tries to make it in to June. Last year it was forced to call it a day on May 26th by rapidly warming temperatures but in 2017 it made it through to June 1st. Fingers crossed for 2019.
Mammoth Mountain, California – At Least July 4th, 2019
With more than 40 feet of snowfall this winter so far including its snowiest February in history, Mammoth currently has the deepest base in North America at around 19 feet and has confidently projected opening to at least July 4th this year. It has stayed open in to August in the recent past.
Mt Bachelor, Oregon – to May 26th, 2019
It’s looking like a good year for spring skiing in 2019 at Mt. Bachelor with the snow lying 8 feet deep at the bottom of the mountain and 10 feet at the top for the start of spring. The resort has already stated it expects to stay open for another three months, as normal to the end of May.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, California – to July 7th, 2019
There are good reasons for Squaw Valley to be marketed as the ‘Spring Skiing Capital of America’ – it stays open to the end of May most years, into June some years and as recently as 2017 stayed open to July 15th. A special high-value Spring skiing season pass is sold and the famous High Camp outdoor deck with giant hot tub opens up to add to the party mood. Closing day is July 7th, 2019.
Timberline, Oregon – September 2nd, 2019
Timberline’s summer ski slopes and terrain park are world famous and offer the longest ski season in North America, thanks to the permanent snowfield. Exactly how long one season lasts and when the next one begins depends on the weather conditions through the year. Currently the snow is lying deep from fresh falls this winter so it’s looking good for this spring and summer. If it’s any guide the resort’s regular season pass is valid up to Memorial Day weekend at the end of May but a summer ski pass is then good through to Labor Day weekend at the start of September. The area then usually closes for a few weeks before re-opening for the following season.
Whistler, Canada – to July 14th, 2019
Whistler Blackcomb’s glacier skiing and boarding gives it the longest ski season in Canada. The slopes will stay open right through to May 27th this year then re-open for glacier skiing and boarding on Blackcomb a little over a week later from June 8th to July 14th.