Spring skiing means different things to different people and different destinations. For some, spring skiing is only in March, while in other destinations, the spring ski season can go into May and beyond. If you’re lucky and time it just right, you may even have a spring powder day. Just remember to layer up, and sunscreen up, as the spring skiing sunburn can be vicious. And, arrive as early as possible so you can get as much of the good snow as possible.
While it’s easy to make a list of the best spring skiing destinations in North America full of the major ski resorts, we’re taking a slightly different approach. We’re leading off with some of the bigger, more renowned ski resorts for spring skiing, while also including a few ski resorts that may not be on your spring skiing radar.
A couple other things we’ll mention, including those pesky “snow snakes” that can trip you up when the snow softens, and corn snow. Corn snow refers to the little balls of corn-looking snow formed on the surface during the spring months that’s the result of the freeze-melt cycle. Spring conditions like this can sometimes be tricky to navigate, but otherwise a spring ski day is about as good as it gets. Our recommendation: Ski in the morning and then play a round of golf or go for a bike ride in the afternoon.
Ski resorts where spring skiing is legendary
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Arapahoe Basin, or A-Basin as it’s often called, features some of the best spring skiing and riding in North America virtually every season. A-Basin’s ski terrain offers what is essentially two back-to-back bowls oriented north and south. That means lots of terrain with 145 trails. Spring snow comes in all sorts of quality packages and you’ll likely find it all here. A-Basin is Rocky Mountain High, with its top lifts reaching more than 13,000 feet. Additionally, you can hike up to some of the higher points before pointing downhill, as we discussed in our round-up of Colorado ski resorts with hike-to skiing terrain. Don’t miss spending some time on the Beach. It’s a section of the Early Riser parking lot in an ideal location to take a break, relax and grab some rays between runs.
» Check out spring lodging options at Arapahoe.
Alta, located in Utah’s iconic Little Cottonwood Canyon, is about as good as it gets in winter. Spring, too, is nice as long as it lasts. Since it doesn’t stay open as late as some other Western resorts, you’ll have to get your sunny days in early. Alta typically closes daily ski operations in mid-April, but when conditions are good, there’s often a closing weekend shortly after daily ski operations cease. Check out Alta’s spring discounted lift tickets online as well as discounted season passes good for that sun-splashed spring ski season.
» Check out spring lodging options at Alta Ski.
The Beast of the East can often offer skiing up to around Memorial Day Weekend in May. Don’t expect a full mountain adventure, but there will be some limited terrain toward the end of its season. However, that typically means that there isn’t much beginner-friendly terrain. When there’s a freeze at night (this is Vermont after all) and sunshine in the morning, there’s some corn snow fun. Killington regularly offers a spring pass good from mid-March until the end of the season, which is also good at neighboring Pico, conditions permitting.
» Check out spring lodging options at Killington.
Spring skiing in Whistler is a must-do, say their pros, for anyone looking for smooth runs, bluebird days and sun-soaked après-ski. This season you can expect to be skiing and riding on Whistler Mountain until April 18, and on Blackcomb up until May 23. According to Whistler Blackcomb, “Runs like Whistler Bowl, Spanky’s Ladder or Glacier Bowl are great in the morning, whereas you can save Sun Bowl and the front side of 7th Heaven for the afternoon to get the prime conditions – the snow will be much softer from a full day of sun exposure.” Watch to see if Horstmann Glacier will offer skiing this summer.
» Check out spring lodging options at Whistler/Blackcomb.
Spring ski season in Telluride kicks in with the arrival of March, while Telluride Ski Resort normally closes in early April. Although that’s just about a month of spring skiing, it’s so worth it. Plus, spring is prime après-ski season in Telluride. Head to Gorrono Ranch, conveniently located by the Misty Maiden ski run, for live music and a brew, cocktail or mocktail on the deck. Alternatively, lounge on the sunny patio at Tomboy Tavern, at the bottom of Lift 4, with a local brew and nibbles.
» Check out spring lodging options at Telluride.
Mammoth Mountain, California
Mammoth is often open long after many ski resorts have closed, with a ski season typically extending through May, and sometimes even into the summer. Mammoth Mountain has the benefit of the highest lift-served terrain in California, with a summit at 11,053 feet, and a ski season that typically sees at least 300 inches of snow. If you time it right, you may be treated to an April or even May powder day. After skiing in the morning, hit any one of the nearby hot springs. Then head to The Village at Mammoth for patio drinks and dinner.
» Check out spring lodging options at Mammoth.
Ski resorts you may not be thinking of for spring skiing
Whiteface at Lake Placid, New York
While spring plants and flowers are pushing up through the dirt in much of the Northeast by the time mid-March arrives, Lake Placid makes for a great few weeks of spring skiing until Whiteface closes, typically in mid-April. Spring can often combine for the snowiest and sunniest time of the season here, thanks to Whiteface’s elevation at almost 5,000 feet. Think of spring skiing here as skiing on mashed potatoes, both heavy and soft. You will have worked for that post-ski hot tub session.
Spring corn snow is generally found higher up on steeper terrain, where the snow’s surface begins to break up into little kernels. You can go fast but still hold an edge for some cool carving. Take a break in the mid-day sunshine at Whiteface’s Midstation Lodge, where you can make some new friends on the deck while enjoying a mid-day snack and drinks. On the way to or from Whiteface, drop in at Gore Mountain, Whiteface’s sister resort, for some spring turns.
The Highlands, Michigan
Why yes, you can find some spring skiing in the midwest. The Highlands (formerly known as the Boyne Highlands) in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is often a good bet into April. However, the waning weeks of March are a bit safer on your calendar. The Highlands will host a “Ring In Spring” weekend March 17-19 with its popular Slush Cup, and featuring wine tasting and plenty of live music. Additionally, the resort will often extend lift hours during the spring ski season and keep the lifts running until 6 p.m. While you’re at it, early spring skiing is available at nearby Nubs Nob and Boyne Mt.
Wolf Creek, Colorado
Wolf Creek, near Pagosa Springs, often boasts of getting the most snow in Colorado. Skiing and riding on that blanket of snow in spring brings the added fun of a bunch of events like Local Appreciation Days (in which everyone is a “local”), College Days, Fun Races and a Costume Contest. Per tradition, the Easter Bunny will visit and host an egg hunt at Wolf Pup Hollow on Easter Sunday. Grab a tasty lunch or beverage during the extended season from either the Wolf Creek Lodge or Continental Espresso Bar. Wolf Creek expects to close in mid-April, but keep an eye out on their website and social media channels for updates.
» Check out spring lodging options at Wolf Creek.
Sugar Bowl, California
Spring skiing at Sugar Bowl, a venerable resort 10 miles west of Northstar on Donner Pass, can easily be bypassed for the bigger Lake Tahoe names. But don’t sleep on the great spring skiing that’s found here. Spring skiing at Sugar Bowl goes until about mid-April, and means finding corn snow skiing in that warm California sun. Softer, more forgiving snow, also can mean it’s a great time to make progress on your skills. You can expect spirited après-ski on the patios outside of both lodges. Events usually include the Mini-Pipe Meltdown and Tiki Pond Skim.
» Check out spring lodging options at Northstar.
Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
While Oregon doesn’t come with the warm spring sun of California, it comes with a long ski season at many ski resorts, including Mt. Bachelor. One of Oregon’s higher peaks, Mt. Bachelor has a long ski season that can go into late May. And as one of the largest ski resorts in North America, it has a lot of terrain. After a morning of skiing, head to the Clearing Rock Bar, at the West Village Lodge, and soak up the sun with unbeatable views of Mt. Bachelor. Once your day is wrapped up on the slopes, head into Bend, which is chock-full of craft breweries, alley bars, and waterfront patios. For an even longer ski season, check out Timberline Lodge, which is open for skiing through the summer.
» Check out spring lodging options at Mt. Bachelor or at Timberline Lodge.
Fernie, British Columbia
Fernie Alpine Resort in British Columbia, Canada is about a 3-hour drive from Calgary, featuring a friendly mountain and ski town in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The resort, typically open until mid-April, has an abundance of powder stashes, bluebird days, and après-ski fun on patios overlooking the ski runs. When you’re done skiing for the day, historic Downtown Fernie is dotted with shops, cafes, restaurants, brewpubs, and spas that makes it one of the best ski towns in North America.
» Check out spring lodging options at Fernie.
More Spring Skiing Reading
- Where to go spring skiing in the Rockies
- Where to go spring skiing in the West
- Where to go spring skiing in the Midwest
- Where to go spring skiing in the East
- Where to go spring skiing in Canada