Ski Industry News

Where’s It’s Good to the Last Drop

by Dan Giesin | April 17, 2018

As the philosopher once said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”
Although Yogi Berra (and not Lenny Kravitz) was talking about a baseball game, his spot-on observation about the vagaries of sport — and life in general — can be used as a guiding principle in the seemingly endless pursuit of making the perfect ski or snowboard turn.
So as the calendar, now fully a month into spring, creeps ever slowly toward summer, our days of finding that personal nirvana are dwindling, too, as each day the sun rises higher in the sky and stays out longer, eating away at our precious snowpack.
Still, there are those places that are braving the onslaught of mud season and plan to spin their lifts to the bitter end. Of the more than 600 mountain resorts in North America, nearly 50 of them expect to last out at least through this weekend.

The first cut

But by next Monday, April 23, that number will be cut almost in half, with 18 U.S. resorts  (Mount Snow, Purgatory, Brighton, Okemo, Crystal, Alyeska and Breckinridge among them) and  two Canadian operations (adieu Mont Sainte Anne and Grouse) cutting the cord on the 2017-18 season.
And over the last weekend of the month, another eight resorts, including Sunday River, Mount Rose and Sugarbush, will put a fork in it.
And yet, with a series of ferocious March storms and a lingering effect in April refreshing the snowpack throughout the continent, there’s still plenty of snow to go around, and more than 20 Canadian and American resorts, including Sugarloaf, Alta, Jay Peak, Loveland, Lake Louise and Winter Park, will attempt to least make in through the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend. Mt. Hood Meadows, Sunshine Village and Whistler Blackcomb have penciled in mid-May as their last days.

Memorial Day and beyond

So, who’s gonna be staying open the longest, you ask.
Well, that all depends on where you are.
As expected, the Sierra Nevada range, which was slammed by more than 200 inches of snow in March alone, has the lion’s share of season hanger-onners, with three resorts — Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley and Mammoth Mountain — looking at the Memorial Day weekend for their respective denouements.
In the Rockies, Arapahoe Basin (June 3) and Snowbird (June 10) will keep the lifts spinning well into late spring, as will Vermont’s Killington (June 3).
And up in the Cascades of Oregon, Mt. Bachelor — and its closing date of May 27 — seems like a slacker compared with Timberline’s anticipated shutdown on August 31.
By that time it surely will be over.

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