The winter doesn’t end until the snow melts. Across North America, there are skiing destinations that don’t close until well into the spring and sometimes the summer.
Spring skiing is an entirely different beast than its winter counterpart. This time of the year welcomes warmer temperatures, more bluebird days, fewer crowds, a popular après ski scene, surprise snow storms, and touring! It’s a favorite pastime for ski bums to send the winter off properly.
Spring Skiing Considerations
Where are the best spring skiing destinations in North America? Before you decide on a location, research these factors:
- Snowpack depth
- Annual snowfall average for the months of April and May
- Projected closing days
- Other outdoor activities and sports
Pro-tip: try to catch a few closing day celebrations at spring skiing destinations.
It’s important to research spring skiing destinations before you go because snowfall and resort closures are variable. Snowfall is dependent on climate change, la Nina or el Nino weather patterns, and moisture levels. Some ski areas close early regardless of snowfall because of Forest Service requirements. Telluride Ski Resort closes at the beginning of April every year for elk mating.
Here are the best spring skiing destinations in North America:
Average April Snowfall: 24 inches/61 centimeters
Upper Snowpack Depth: 21 inches/ 53 centimeters
Projected Closing Day: May 28
Killington Ski Resort in Vermont keeps its lifts running well past other ski areas on the east coast. Last year the mountain closed on June 4. How is this possible for a mountain that summits only 4,241 feet?
Killington blows snow all winter long on a select few trails, like Superstar. Killington celebrates making turns well into May with a jam-packed calendar for April and May. This year the resort is putting on the May Day Slalom, Dazed and Defrosted spring festival, and a pond skim.
It’s not called the Beast of the East for nothing.
- Hike in Green Mountain National Forest
- Fly fish Vermont’s creeks and streams
- Cross-country ski Catamount Trail Hiking
- Take a historical tour of the state on foot or bike
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Average April Snowfall: 40 inches/101 centimeters
Upper Snowpack Depth: 51 inches/130 centimeters
Projected Closing Day: June 1
A-Basin hosts the longest ski and snowboard season in Colorado. The ski area is mostly north facing and sits anywhere from 10,800 feet to 13,050 feet. Because of this, the snow lasts longer since 50% of A-Basin’s terrain doesn’t receive direct sunlight and is exposed to colder moisture higher up. Arapahoe Basin also experiences a few spring-powder days because it’s on the Continental Divide, where storms amass and get stuck.
Arapahoe Basin does not only have the conditions for spring skiing, but it also has local vibes. The mountain is home to the Beach, which is a glorified parking lot for partying and tailgating. The ski area also hosts rail jams, parties, a mogul event, and live music throughout the spring season.
- Spend time in Denver
- Kayak or paddleboard Lake Dillon
- Hike Sapphire Point Overlook
Average April Snowfall: 11 inches/28 centimeters
Upper Snowpack Depth: 120 inches/305 centimeters
Projected Closing Day: April 16
Why are we including Silverton when the mountain closes in mid-April and does not receive as much snow as the other ski areas listed? Silverton Mountain is one of the most unique areas to ski in North America.
It is the highest ski area in North America with the peak resting at 13,487 feet. One hundred percent of its terrain is advanced and expert classified. There are no runs suitable for beginners or intermediate riders. It only has one chair lift, and the rest of the terrain is hike-to or accessible via helicopter. Silverton Mountain also caps skier traffic through guided and unguided passes depending on the day of the week.
“Most days we have less than 80 skiers on the mountain,” according to Silverton Mountain.
The lack of crowds, high elevation, careful mitigation of select terrain by ski patrol, and off-the-beaten-track location ensures peak snow conditions even if it hasn’t snowed. Skiing Silverton in the San Juans is an extraordinary experience regardless of when you go.
Before you plan your trip, ensure that you have avalanche equipment and plan for guided or unguided passes.
- Tour Red Mountain
- Climb in Ouray
- Go rafting on the Gunnison River or visit Black Canyon National Park
- Spend a day in Telluride or Durango
Average Spring (April/May) Snowfall: 61 inches/154 centimeters
Upper Snowpack Depth: 116 inches/295 centimeters
Projected Closing Day: May 7
Like Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah has one of the longest seasons in the state. Alta, Brighton, and Snowbird, all ski mountains in Utah, are topping the list for snowiest ski areas in the United States, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. If snow depth keeps accumulating, expect a lengthy spring season at Snowbird.
Snowbird is the perfect locale for spring skiing. It’s only 30 minutes from Salt Lake City with access to other outdoor activities, like mountain biking, trail running, and hot spring hunting. Two-sport day, anyone?
- Hike to Diamond Fork Hot Springs
- Catch a show at Red Butte Garden
- Climb in the Cottonwood Canyons
Mammoth Mountain, California
Average Spring Snowfall: 68 inches
Upper Snowpack Depth: 232 inches/589 centimeters
Projected Closing Day: May 29
Mammoth Mountain boasts one of the longest continuous ski seasons in North America. It’s located in the Eastern Sierra near the Pacific Ocean and between Los Angeles and Reno, Nevada.
Springtime in the Mammoth ski area welcomes warm bluebird days and subfreezing nights. This creates a freeze-thaw cycle that keeps the snow around and soft for hot laps across more than 2,000 acres of terrain.
You can’t beat spring in Mammoth with cheaper lift tickets and the weekly Weekend Après Party. Plus, events like the Mammoth Marathon for cross-country skiers, Unbound Party in the Park, and the Mammoth Invitational. Don’t forget to hit up Mammoth’s five terrain parks!
- Mountain bike Lower Rock Creek Trail
- Fly Fish Hot Creek
- Snowshoe Lakes Basin
North Lake Tahoe, California
Average Spring (April/May) Snowfall: 46 inches/117 centimeters
Upper Snowpack Depth: 132 inches/335 centimeters
Projected Closing Day: May 29
When it comes to spring skiing, California has it figured out, especially at Palisades Tahoe.
If you visit Northern California in the spring, you can lap up the corn in the morning, paddleboard or kayak Lake Tahoe in the afternoon, and send it for a sunset cruise along the Truckee River at night. Other events to look forward to are Winter Wondergrass, a 3-day bluegrass festival, the Snow Golf Tournament that combines skiing, snowboarding, and golfing, and the ultimate Cushing Crossing pond skimming event to close out April.
No wonder North Lake Tahoe is known as the “Spring Skiing Capital.”
- Paddlewheel Emerald Bay
- Kayak on North Lake Tahoe
- Bike along the Truckee River
Mt. Hood, Oregon
Average Spring Snowfall: 37 inches/94 centimeters
Snowpack Depth: 108 inches/274 centimeters
Projected Closing Day: September
Did you know Timberline is the only ski area in the United States open ten months of the year? Timberline is one of the ski destinations located on and along Mt. Hood, the tallest mountain (and volcano) in Oregon. It’s also home to the steepest terrain with 4,540 vertical feet.
If you’re looking for more challenging terrain than the runs off of Timerbline’s Palmer Lift, nearby is Mt. Hood Meadows. This ski area stays open through April and offers more variable access.
If it’s the middle of the summer and you’re jonesing for some turns, make the trip to Mt. Hood!
- Check out the wildflowers along the Columbia River Gorge
- Hike in Mt. Hood National Forest
- Mountain Bike the Sandy Ridge Trail
Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
Average Spring Snowfall: 68 inches/172 centimeters
Snowpack Depth: 77 inches/196 centimeters
Projected Closing Day: May 29
Mt. Bachelor is one of the premier locations for spring skiing, even if it doesn’t stay open through the summer like Timberline to the north.
Mt. Bachelor’s annual average snowfall is 462 inches. The historically deep snow pack allows turns late into the spring every year. Another draw for the spring skier is the Summit chairlift that rides 1,700 vertical feet above the treeline. Unfortunately, due to gnarly storms in the winter, this chairlift is closed for at least 30% of the season. Fortunately, it is open more in the spring as the weather mellows. So when the skies clear, the terrain off of Summit chairlift is open, and less tracked than the rest of the mountain. Mt. Bachelor also boasts nearly 2,000 acres of available terrain throughout the spring.
Plus, the ski resort is near Bend, Oregon. Bend is a mecca for outdoor sports and beer. If you make the trip to Mt. Bachelor in April or May, be prepared to ski prime corn conditions, rip some single track on your mountain bike, golf, kayak, and apres brewery hop.
- Brewery hop in Bend
- Hike in Cove Palisades State Park
- Surf in Bend Whitewater Park
Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Average Spring Snowfall: 29 inches/74 centimeters
Snowpack Depth: 110 inches/279 centimeters
Projected Closing Day: May 7
Nestled in Banff National Park lies Lake Louise Ski Resort and neighboring ski areas, Sunshine Village, and Mt. Norquay. Lake Louise and Sunshine Village provide the longest non-glacial ski season in North America.
They both host seasons that last from November to May. Their location on the eastern edge of the Canadian Rockies provides consistent snowfall throughout the year, including March, April, and May.
Aside from the snowfall, Lake Louise also provides spring ski passes at a lower cost and hosts Bikinis for Breast Cancer, Mount Slushmore, and the Cardboard Box Downhill Derby.
If you love the Canadian spring skiing vibe, head to Sunshine Village from Lake Louise for its closing day on May 23, 2023.
- Go tubing at Mt. Norquay
- Hike Sundance Canyon
- Soak in the Upper Banff Hot Springs
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
Average Spring Snowfall: 36 inches/89 centimeters
Upper Snowpack Depth: 85 inches/215 centimeters
Projected Closing Day: May 22
Lately, the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort has received flack for its crowds and prices. So how can you experience the mountain’s epic conditions and terrain without the fuss? Two words: Spring skiing.
If it’s not the sneaky April powder day that is usually every year in Whistler, then it’s sleeping-in, soft snow and turns, and après vibes. Did you know Whistler’s Village is designed to maximize sunshine?
The Whistler Blackcomb ski area also throws down every April for the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF). It’s a week-long event that celebrates why we love spring skiing. There are snow sports, music series, and events to entertain the whole crew.
- Bungee jump over Cheakamus River
- Whitewater raft the Green River
- Golf any of Whistler’s three golf courses
March does not have to be the end of your ski season. At these ski destinations, March is just the beginning.
Spring Skiing Information
Before you book your flights and pack your gear, here is a guide to spring skiing anywhere in the world:
- Buy a ski or snowboard bag that has wheels – it makes the travel way easier.
- If there is no powder overnight, then sleep in and wait for the snow to soften under the sunshine.
- Work out which way the slope faces because conditions change depending on if the slope faces north, south, east, or west.
- Bring sunscreen! Seriously, you’ll get burnt. And it’s better for your skin even if you don’t burn.
- Find your gaper day/closing day fit at a local thrift shop.
- Check Epic, Ikon, and specific mountain passes for spring deals. They’re everywhere! For example, sometimes you can be a next year pass that will get you spring skiing this year.
- Consider wearing a backpack, so you can comfortably shed layers and stash chair beers (we can’t actually condone this activity though).
Madeleine is a freelance writer and social media manager in the outdoor, gear, and travel space. She loves being buried in the snow, running single-track, and eating gummies next to high alpine lakes. When she’s not writing or traveling, you can find Madeleine in Telluride, Colorado romping around in the San Juans.