Spring skiing means different things in different places, and out west, many ski resorts enjoy a long spring ski season. West ski resorts – which for our purposes here means Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington – normally see spring conditions roll in by early March, and try to stay open at least through Easter. However, some ski resorts may stay open to Memorial Day and even beyond. It makes for a great long spring skiing season full of sunny turns, après-ski patio hangs, fun festivals and more.
Recently, we published an article highlighting our picks of the best resorts for spring skiing across North America, which featured some ski resorts out west like Mammoth and Sugar Bowl. Below, read on for even more ski resorts out west that are great for spring skiing.
11 ski resorts that celebrate spring skiing in the West
A springtime visit north to Flagstaff means fun with good conditions at Arizona Snowbowl, which is conveniently located just 30 minutes from Flagstaff. Arizona Snowbowl is high in the San Francisco Peaks with a base elevation of 9,200 feet, and boasting lift service that rolls up to 11,500 feet (higher if you are in a hike-to mood). Spring skiing and boarding at Arizona Snowbowl means planning on sugary conditions on the lower mountain and more wintry surfaces the higher you go. After a morning of skiing, soak up the sunshine and people watching on the deck of the Agassiz Restaurant in the base lodge. Arizona Snowbowl typically closes in late April, although a good season will see it stay open for a few days in May.
If you’ve skied in Southern California, then you may have driven right past Snow Valley Ski Area in Running Springs on your way to Big Bear. But don’t sleep on this fun ski area, which is particularly great in the spring and worth a day trip from L.A. Snow Valley typically has a closing date of early- to mid-April, which makes for plenty of spring skiing opportunities. It has terrain for all levels, but Snow Valley’s beginner slopes are ideal in spring to set you up for next season. Do your sun-soaking on the Chalet Deck or on the Mountain Top Terrace. Look for big things here in the future as Alterra Mountain Resorts has brought in Snow Valley to its Southern California collection including Big Bear Resort and Snow Summit. Make it a long weekend and ski all three.
Mountain High is another Southern California ski resort to add to your spring skiing to-do list. While Mountain High typically closes around the first or second weekend of April, there should be skiing here until at least mid-April this season. Mountain High attracts a youthful crowd, especially at the West Resort, with many of the on-hill events honoring the freestyle culture of skiing and snowboarding. It takes less than four minutes on the Blue Ridge Express to reach the West Resort, which is well worth it for those who like more technical trails and a fun terrain park.
Dodge Ridge is located on the western side of the Sierra Nevada range and is the closest serious skiing for many San Francisco Bay Area residents. Bonus, a drive to Dodge Ridge from the Bay Area doesn’t come with the traffic that skiers traveling to Lake Tahoe often experience. Spring here almost always lasts until mid-April. In fact Dodge Ridge CEO Karl Kapuscinski noted in January, “If it doesn’t snow another inch, we’re fine until well into April.” Dodge Ridge is well known as a family resort with plenty of good beginner and intermediate terrain.
Head to Lake Tahoe’s south shore in spring and enjoy one of the kingpins of Vail Resorts’ ever-expanding portfolio. You’ll be able to ski until mid-April on one of the nation’s biggest mountains overlooking magnificent blue Lake Tahoe. Surfaces can be variable on all the mountains surrounding the lake, but they’re always fun to ski on. And, yes, some days can bring so-called “Sierra Cement,” which is a heavy wet powder that is still good to ski on but can be hard to move through. Catch some rays and brews at the Lakeview Lodge or Stein’s Beer & Brats, and your spring day is made.
Palisades Tahoe boasts one of the longest ski seasons in California, which can extend through May during a good snow year. With the opening this season of the Base to Base Gondola, connecting Palisades to Alpine, there’s never been a better spring to visit. As the largest ski area around Lake Tahoe, Palisades Tahoe has no shortage of terrain for all skill levels. After a day of skiing, head to Le Chamois, located at The Village at Palisades Tahoe, which we named one of the best après-ski bars in North America.
Corn snow is in plentiful supply at Mt. Shasta Ski Park, located way up north in California. Skiing and riding typically goes until mid-April, making for plenty of opportunities to find that perfect groomer. The ski area is about 6 miles south of Mount Shasta, California’s 14,162-foot stratovolcano in the Cascade Mountain Range, and makes for a great destination for adventurous travelers. Lodging is available at good rates during spring in the town of Mt. Shasta, which is just 11 miles away.
Look no further than Mt. Bachelor, located 22 miles from Bend, for a long spring skiing season. This popular Pacific Northwest resort often stays open through May, conditions allowing. Mt. Bachelor boasts plenty of sunshine and corn snow, and as one of North America’s largest ski resorts, it has lots of terrain. If you visit Mt. Bachelor in April, then plan to end your day using the Northwest or Outback chairs. The Pine Marten runs don’t get direct sunlight until mid-day. After you get your fill of spring conditions, head to the aptly-named Sun Bar, a full-service indoor/outdoor bar on the upper patio at Sunrise Lodge. Afterward, head to Bend, one of the most fun mountain towns on the west coast, which enjoys nice, warm days as it gets further into spring.
Timberline, located 63 miles from Portland, is the only ski area in the U.S. open at least 10 months of the year. The ski area sits near the top of an 11,245-foot volcano, Mt. Hood, which is the tallest mountain in Oregon. Timberline’s winter season typically begins by around Thanksgiving, and continues through the end of May. The Palmer Express high-speed quad operates in the spring and summer seasons only, and typically begins by June 1 and continues through the summer, depending on conditions. Step back in time and spend a night or two at the historic Timberline Lodge, which you may recognize as the exterior of the hotel from The Shining.
Mount Hood Meadows
Mt. Hood Meadows, which is the largest ski resort on Mt. Hood, often stays open through the end of April. Skiers typically have access during the spring to the Buttercup and beginner-friendly Buttercup Fun Zone, as well as Vista Express, Mt. Hood Express and Cascade Express at an elevation of 7,300 feet. The Vista Park banked slalom course and halfpipes are typically groomed for spring riding, too. The Sno-Kona Pond Skim closes out the spring ski season. For après-ski, make the patio at Pine Marten Lodge your basecamp for food and drinks.
Mt. Baker, located in Eastern Washington, is a little bit of a trek from Seattle (2.5 hours), but if you are looking for monumental snowfalls each season, then look no further. Annually, Mt. Baker registers 486 inches of snow, which makes for a great spring base. Once spring arrives, you can often count on snow dumps of various amounts at night and awake to beautiful blue sky days on forgiving snow. End your day with a microbrew on the sundeck. The ski resort closes by late April.
More Spring Skiing Reading
- The best of spring skiing in North America
- Where to go spring skiing in the Midwest
- Where to go spring skiing in the Rockies
- Where to go spring skiing in the East
- Where to go spring skiing in Canada