Most of Montana’s ski resorts plan to shut down lifts for the season in early April. And they don’t go quietly. In a state where the backcountry ski season can continue for another couple months, ski resorts tie on smash-bang endings for the 2011-12 season.

Lost Trail Powder Mountain leads the way with the first end-of-season bash. The annual Skiesta fires up crowds with pond skimming, big air, retro costumes, live music, a pig roast, and prizes on March 26. Pond skimming, where skiers or snowboarders attempt to skim across a pool of water without getting soaked, draws crowds to watch big water splats.

Several other Montana resorts also throw pond skimming or slush cup events to mark the end of the season. If you want to make the circuit, you can find them at Whitefish Mountain Resort and Lookout Pass on April 7, Great Divide on April 14 or 15, and Big Sky Resort on April 14.

Showdown waits until closing day on April 7 to throw the big end-of-season event. The day includes a rail jam, but the mannequin jump is the big draw. Mannequins on skis fly off a jump with some exploding on impact.

Get a taste of last year’s mannequin jump here:



Bridger Bowl finishes off its season with a freeskiing competition off the Bridger Ridge. The Bridger Gully Free Ride Ski Competition on April 7 brings out the best of the Bozeman area skiers for fluid, aggressive attacks on the rugged terrain.