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The U.S. Ski Resorts for the Best Spring Season Action This Year

By Anna Fiorentino

Mar 19, 2022

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Arapahoe Basin in Colorado is hoping to keep its slopes open until June this year.

Courtesy of Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin in Colorado is hoping to keep its slopes open until June this year.

Not only will there be great late-season skiing and snowboarding, but these mountains are going all out this spring with music, food, festivals, and competitions.

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Get out your T-shirts and sunscreen because spring skiing is back. After the 2020 ski season was cut short by the start of the pandemic and 2021 remained muted by health and safety protocols, this ski season can finally close out with all the live music, pond skimming, grilling, and giveaways you can imagine. From the spring equinox (on March 20) through June in some cases, mountains from East to West across the USA are hosting some of the most epic parties under the sun.

The country’s ultimate spring skiing and snowboarding spots, from Mt. Bachelor to Killington, are each bringing back their own brand of stoked spring vibes. Whether soaking up the sun slopeside, tailgating, or camping in the parking lot—skiing in mashed potatoes, corn snow, or spring pow after a fluke April dump—get ready to shed a few layers, sport those goggle tans, and bomb down the hill like you’re in a 1990s ski movie.

Here are our top picks for spring skiing in 2022, both for the driest and deepest conditions and for the liveliest après happenings to keep you entertained all season long.

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Estimated closing day: June 1

Arapahoe Basin, the first post-WWII ski area opened in Colorado by a 10th Mountain Division soldier, became known as “The Legend” for terrain as steep as the Alps. Now owned by Dream Unlimited Corporation of Toronto, this renegade resort—which dared to divorce from Vail Resorts a few years ago—is still thriving with the longest ski season in Colorado, at one point even riding into July. At “A-Basin,” Continental Divide weather patterns amass immense April and May snowfall, particularly under the famed Palivaccini, or “Pali” chairlift, named for similarly shaped terrain on Austria’s highest peak. The parking lot transforms into “the beach” for tailgating all spring, and skiers and snowboarders won’t want to miss Swimwear Day on May 28, when everyone on the mountain is invited to ride in their best poolside duds and show off their front flips and rail tricks at a rail jam. This year, A-Basin found one more excuse to party: its 75th anniversary, for which it is hosting music, a mogul event, and a scavenger hunt, April 1–3.

Where to stay: It’s affordable chic at The Pad in Silverthorne, a hostel built last fall inside shipping containers dropped in front of the mountain.

Big Sky, Montana

Estimated closing day: April 24

With a 4,350-foot drop, Big Sky is big skiing well into spring.

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Big Sky is a thriller (and not just ABC’s hit show). In Montana, wind patterns dictate powder deposits for unbeatable backcountry lines. There’s plenty of tree skiing and a northerly exposure means the best snow shows up later in the season. Jaw-dropping views over some of the country’s biggest vertical give each skier or snowboarder about two acres to themselves. So, this spring at Big Sky you probably won’t have to wait long in line, but at the base, it’ll still be raging with après all day. Check out the 14th Annual Big Sky Big Grass fest March 31 to April 3, featuring acts like Sam Bush Band, The Travelin’ McCourys, and Keller Williams. There will also be the International Freeskiers Association invitational North American Junior Championships April 6–10. With plans for a multiyear expansion with a new base-to-summit lift network, more on-mountain eateries, and a new learning center, the party is just getting started.

Where to stay: Alpine chic meets convenience at the slopeside Summit Hotel.

Killington, Vermont

Estimated closing day: May 23

They don’t call it “the King of Spring” for nothing. With a 3,050-foot drop, Killington boasts the highest vertical in the East and unsurprisingly yields hands-down the finest spring skiing in New England. The resort typically stays open later than any ski resort around—answered by a spring pass with unlimited access to nearby Pico Mountain, too. This spring there will be local bands playing and Vermont-fresh local food and beer served at the Wobbly Barn and at the base of Bear Mountain Lodge. Revel in endless on-mountain entertainment, starting with the Vermont Brewers Festival on March 19. Even the demolition (before a rebuild) of the K-1 Base Lodge will be an excuse to party this year during the K-1 Teardown Party on March 20 with live music planned and a memory wall of sweet ski nostalgia on display. Other events this spring include the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge on April 2 and Dazed and Defrosted, with loads live music, demos, and revelry, on April 16.

Where to stay: Keep it personal and get warm and cozy at one of Vermont’s adorable inns, The Snowed Inn, a mile and a half down the road from Killington.

Mammoth Mountain, California

Estimated closing day: May 30

There is ample shredding to be had well into spring at Mammoth Mountain.

Simply put, Mammoth Mountain is sublime in spring. Wide-open corduroy stretches across some of the deepest snowpack in North America, making this a spring skiing magnet. Up at 11,053 feet, Mother Nature brings her nightly freeze that softens under the beating sun 300 days a year. Southwesterly wind bluffs roll across the Sierra Nevada like a natural groomer for bouncy, carvable snow until the last slush. Ride down to the all-ages spring dance-off, Woolly’s Dance Party held weekly at the base lodge. Take your pick of Canyon Lodge sundeck for après or a high-altitude ski climb up five ascents for the Mammoth Caldera Burn ski mountaineering (aka ski mo) event on April 16. Or you can watch racers and pros compete in an on-hill biathlon and other races at the Mammoth Invitational fundraiser on April 3.

Where to stay: Soak it up slopeside in the pool of the historic Mammoth Mountain Inn.

Mt. Bachelor, Oregon

Estimated closing day: June 1

Head to Oregon for late-season skiing with a side of great brews.

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Mt. Bachelor brings big views and brews. Who wouldn’t want to nurse a winter ale 1,700 feet above the treeline overlooking snow-covered layers of volcanic lava and tephra? Smack in the middle of Oregon, just a half-hour drive to the state’s brewery capital of Bend, the dormant volcano that is Mt. Bachelor rages all spring—with skiing that is. Backcountry dreams live on in this out-of-bounds ski resort, with bowls, snowfields, and a deep snowpack that melts into some of the best bead-shaped “corn” snow around. Chase the sun from the south around the cone of the mountain and down into après concert series, pro snowboard competitions, and brew events (even a hunt for a mini keg on the mountain). The Subaru Winterfest on April 15 to 17 will feature music by Trampled By Turtles and others. Board, Bike, Brew on May 28 and 29 will bring together skiers, snowboarders, and cyclists for the last bash of the season, with food, beer, music, and a pond skim. Mt. Bachelor will also be hosting the 2022 Woodward Peace Park Championships April 20–24, an invite-only professional snowboard competition, which coincides with a West Village Base Area festival called RendezVan that pays homage to camping and #vanlife.

Where to stay: Surround yourself with peaks, lakes, meadows, and a national forest at the rustic and relaxing Seventh Mountain Resort, just outside beer lovers’ Bend.

Palisades Tahoe, California

Estimated closing day: May 23

Enjoy the aerial tram views at Palisades Tahoe.

Few lake views rival the one from the summit of Palisades Tahoe on a cloudless bluebird day in May. Cold nights, sunny days, and April storms keep these 4,000 skiable acres soft and white—from 400 inches of annual snowfall—later than almost any resort in the country (get it while you can). Palisades Tahoe is known as the “spring-skiing capital of the U.S.” This popular Sierra Nevada spot has become a late-season draw for high-flying spring music festivals like the bluegrass and roots fest, Winter Wondergrass, April 1–3, headlined this year by Billy Strings, and also returning to Colorado and Vermont again next year. The mountain is feeling fresh with a new name and logo (previously Squaw Valley), but vintage gear will always be in. So, dig out your old-school duds for the return of the Pain McShlonkey Classic fundraiser on March 26, an annual tribute to legendary free-skier Shane McConkey. And don’t miss pond skimming and lap racing during the the Mothership Classic where contestants in skinny skis, retro snowboards, mono skis, and snow blades earn money for the most laps around the iconic KT-22 chair, ranked the best chairlift in North America for unbeatable access to cliffs, chutes, and steeps on famous free-riding trails.

Where to stay: Stay onsite at the Village at Palisades Tahoe Lodging, or head to nearby Resort at Squaw Creek or the Ritz-Carlton Tahoe, for some seriously posh digs.

>> Next: Retro Charm Lives on at These Independent U.S. Ski Resorts

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