Making the Most of the End of the Year
Saving the best days for last?
Well folks, it has been a phenomenal ski year out West (sorry East coast skiers, maybe next year!), and with that comes the most heart-wrenching time of year, when we must say goodbye to our beloved mountains and let the beauty of summer take over. Yet, there is still skiing to be had!
While some mountains like Jackson Hole and Sundance have had to close with 100+ inch bases, there are still plenty of options midway into April. Plus, there are all the end-of-year festivities that come with it! Your author still remembers watching a concert on Steamboat’s closing day featuring Donovan Frankenreiter and who else but John Oates of Hall ‘n’ Oates. While the music wasn’t particularly memorable, the day sure was, and it was a great way to unwind from the season. That, coupled with the peanut butter and bacon paninis being served at the T-Bar, and it was a party.
As far as mountains that you can expect to remain open, the usual suspects make the list: Mammoth in California, which is celebrating a record year in terms of snow – 885” at the summit!! – will be open well into the spring, and with that amount of snowfall, July might even be a possibility. Perhaps it was Ullr blessing them, but pretty much everywhere in California had above-average years.
The same could be said for Utah, which had week after week of blower pow. If there were ever a season to take a spur-of-the-moment trip, this would have been the one. But given all that snow has fallen, it leaves a legacy of excellent coverage for the remaining season. Park City, Deer Valley and Snowbasin have all extended their original closing dates because of the snow. Snowbird, recipient of perhaps the most consistent pow, has yet to announce a closing date, with Memorial Day being the earliest it could possibly close.
In Colorado, A-bay leads the way as usual, though their snowfall wasn’t anything out of the ordinary this year. Given that high-elevation advantage, the lifts will stop spinning on June 4th, preceded by Winter Park on May 21st, and Breckenridge on May 28th. Even with it being the second week of April, that should be more than enough to keep contentment high!
How to make the most of it
Aside from some of the better ticket deals that pop up towards the end of the year (which you can check out right here!), there are a couple considerations for spring skiing that can make it much more fun. First, make sure you know what the weather is going to be like that day, and plan your timing accordingly. If it’s supposed to be overcast, it’s probably a good idea to wait a little bit and let the slope soften up, unless you prefer to get down some scratchy, frozen and re-frozen mush.
If it’s sunny, it’s prudent to get out there as early as you can, before the yellow globe starts nuking the snow surfaces, turning them effectively into carpet. Sometimes, it’s inevitable that you’ll get stuck on the flats, but if you get out early, it’s the best way to ensure you’re skiing the prime snow surface. When the groomed runs start to get a bit sticky, there are always slush bumps to fall back on. Unlike regular moguls, which at some mountains can get to be the size of dune buggies, slushy bumps are nice and soft, and crucially, it doesn’t hurt very much to fall!
If all else fails or you’re just over skiing for the day, what could be better than having a nice little cookout in the parking lot? Provided you’ve got sunshine and good company, there could be no higher pleasure in the world, save for skiing!
Regardless of how you plan to spend the rest of the ski season, be sure to check with us first for the best deals on tickets, lodging and gear!