What Are the Best Resorts for Spring Skiing?

Published on 12/30/2023 · 10 min readWelcome the spring slopes! Find out the best resorts for spring skiing, offering sunny days, great snow, and unforgettable mountain experiences.
Jason R, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Jason R

Photo by yanik 88

Of course, there’s no replacing a wintery powder day at your favorite mountain. However, the soft snow and good vibes that a spring ski trip offers are extremely hard to beat. As the days get longer, the lift lines shorter, and the legs stronger, spring is one of my favorite times to spend up in the snow-covered mountains. The snow is still typically soft and forgiving, the weather warm and inviting. The options are plenty when considering your next spring ski destination, and we’ll cover some of the best places for those of you who just aren’t ready to hang up the skis or board come April, May, and beyond.

1. Mammoth: Best for Freestylers

Riding the ski lift towards the top of Mammoth. Photo by Keycaptures

Stats:

  • Location: Eastern Central California
  • Key info:
    • 25 Lifts and 175 Runs
    • Summit Elevation of 11,053 ft and Base Elevation of 7,953 ft
    • Annual Average Snowfall of 350 inches
    • Typical Season Length: November to June

Spot Overview:

Mammoth Mountain is a high-altitude ski and snowboard destination and offers one of the longest ski seasons in North America. Known for its natural beauty, the area's natural hot springs, as well as its top-notch spring skiing and world-class terrain parks. There are ski opportunities for all levels of riders and spring time amenities that range from primitive camping and cookouts up to five-star lodging and dining experiences. The Mammoth Yosemite Airport is just 10 minutes from the town of Mammoth Lakes, CA and offers year-round, nonstop flights from LAX.

My Expert Review of the Resort:

Mammoth is exactly that - mammoth! The place is absolutely huge. Mammoth’s Unbound Terrain Park features ten different terrain parks with over 1500 acres of park riding for the most discerning of freestylers. It is also one of the few locations nationwide that still offer public access to a 22-foot halfpipe. They’ve also got a mini pipe and hundreds of features to play and progress on. The lifts are known to spin until July 4th on big snow years, so while most ski areas are closing down for the year Mammoth is just hitting its stride. The biggest downside is the resort's popularity, as it tends to be very crowded at times.

2. Palisades Tahoe: Best for Racking up Gnar Points

Skiing at Palisades in Tahoe, California. Photo by Photos by Kerstin

Stats:

  • Location: Central California-Lake Tahoe Area
  • Key info:
    • 29 Lifts and over 170 Runs
    • Summit Elevation of 9,050ft and Base Elevation of 6,200ft
    • Annual Average Snowfall of 400 inches
    • Typical Season Length: November to May

Spot Overview:

Palisades Tahoe is one of California’s and the Lake Tahoe area’s premier ski and snowboard destinations. Spring in Tahoe is a special time of year with an abundance of great skiing and fun happenings. Located off Hwy 89, between I-80 and Lake Tahoe’s North Shore, Tahoe Palisades is just 42 miles from Reno, just under 100 miles from Sacramento, and under 200 miles from San Francisco.

Expert Review:

Palisades Tahoe is an extreme ski or snowboarder's dream come true, with a sizable majority of the mountain offering intermediate and advanced runs. Palisade Tahoe’s KT-22 is not just a ski run; it’s a lifestyle. Strictly for advanced skiers, it offers 2,000 vertical feet of cliff bands, chutes, and sends that are sure to melt your face even as the snow melts from the face.

3. Whistler Blackcomb: Best for Those Wanting More

Skiers on a hill at the top of Blackcomb, 7th Heaven, with a view looking toward Whistler on a sunny day. Photo by Adam Melnyk

Stats:

  • Location: Southwestern Canada
  • Key info:
    • 37 Lifts and over 200 Runs
    • Summit Elevation of 7,497ft and Base Elevation of 2,214ft
    • Annual Average Snowfall of 448 inches
    • Typical Season Length: November to May

Spot Overview:

Whistler and Blackcomb combine to bring you the ski area with the most skiable acres in all of Canada. In addition to its epic ski terrain and epic Caesars (Canada’s National Adult Beverage), it is also part of the Epic Pass network, which can help you save on lift tickets if you are an Epic pass holder. A notable feature is the expansive Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which provides truly iconic views of the nearby volcanic peaks, coastal rainforests, and ancient glaciers. All of this is just a 2-hour drive from British Columbia’s cultural and commerce hub of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Hwy 99.

Expert Review:

Whistler is a personal favorite for me, and completing a top-to-bottom run without stopping for a break is no small physical feat. The park is absolutely on point. From steep, wide-open bowls to tight trees and gullies down to the most family- or beginner-friendly slopes, Whistler Blackcomb provides more. No place in the US or Canada offers as much skiable terrain as late into the season as Whistler Blackcomb does.

4. Timberline, OR: Best for Summer Vacation

Mt Hood with timberline lodge in the foreground, Oregon, Mt Hood National Forest. Photo by Bob Pool

Stats:

  • Location: Northern Oregon
  • Key info:
    • 9 Lifts and 35 Runs
    • Summit Elevation of 8,540ft and Base Elevation of 4,000ft
    • Annual Average Snowfall of 375 inches
    • Typical Season Length: November to September

Spot Overview:

Just over an hour from Portland, Oregon, Timberline offers the most vertical and the longest ski season of any US ski resort. Timberline is world-renowned for its spring and summer skiing and riding. Timberline is known for its beginner-friendly runs and incredible corn snow. The historic Timberline Lodge is a worthy destination on its own and is the lodge featured in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." Mt. Hood is technically an active volcano and is the hottest place for summer skiing and snowboarding.

Expert Review:

I grew up visiting Mt. Hood's Timberline in the summer. The nostalgia of spending long summer days camping out in the forest, along lakes and streams, and lapping the Palmer glacier. From June through August, Mt. Hood becomes a sort of never-never land. As the summer progresses, the snow quality can deteriorate, and you may have to walk down or download the bottom chair at the end of the day.

5. Snowbird, UT: Best for Advanced Skiers and Boarders

Alpine skiing at Snowbird Resort. Photo by CSNafzger

Stats:

  • Location: Utah’s Wasatch Mountain Range
  • Key info:
    • 11 Lifts and 140+ Runs
    • Summit Elevation of 11,000ft and Base Elevation of 7,760ft
    • Annual Average Snowfall of 500 inches
    • Typical Season Length: Mid-November to May

Spot Overview:

Snowbird is just outside of Salt Lake City. It’s just a short drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon and only 29 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport. Known for its champagne powder in the winter time, this mountain offers a huge amount of skiable acreage and runs that’ll have the most seasoned all-mountain ripper’s legs burning. The tram can take 150 people from the base to the summit, covering 2,900 vertical feet in just 7 minutes.

Expert Review:

This resort most resembles a European ski area of all the places I've been in the US. The area is absolutely huge, and the mountain is quite challenging, with 66% of the ski area being advanced/expert terrain. When the snow gets too warm, it begins to get sticky and can lose much of its glide, yet there is always going to be something steep enough to keep your speed up here. The views are absolutely stunning as well.

6. Arapahoe Basin, CO: Best Chance for Sunny Skies

Spectacular late afternoon view in the winter of Arapahoe basin ski area above the Loveland pass summit, in the rocky mountains of Colorado. Photo by Nina B

Stats:

  • Location: Central Colorado
  • Key info:
    • 9 Lifts and 145 Runs
    • Summit Elevation of 13,050 ft and Base Elevation of 10,780 ft
    • Annual Average Snowfall of 350 inches
    • Typical Season Length: October to June

Spot Overview:

A-Basin is known to have the longest ski season in Colorado. It typically receives snow earlier and loses it later than other resorts, partly due to its extreme elevation of over 13,000 feet. The mountain intentionally limits the number of skiers or boarders on any given day in order to keep the slopes less crowded and lift lines shorter for their guests. It's located about 60 miles from Denver. Without traffic, it is just over an hour to get there. However, you should plan on there being traffic.

Expert Review:

It is not uncommon for A-Basin to be the first ski resort open in the entire country and is often the last resort to close nationwide. Plenty of resorts in Colorado are open late and cater to beginner or intermediate skiers, but this is not one of them. Most of the terrain is for advanced and expert skiers and boarders, and I appreciate having the ability to get away from the crowds when visiting Arapahoe Basin. Beginners would prefer visiting neighboring ski areas like Keystone or Breckinridge.

7. Big Sky, MT: Best for Fly Fishing after a day of Skiing

Photo by Heidi Besen

Stats:

  • Location: Southern Montana
  • Key info:
    • 38 Lifts and 320 Runs
    • Summit Elevation of 11,166 ft and Base Elevation of 7,500 ft
    • Annual Average Snowfall of 400 inches
    • Typical Season Length: End of November to End of April

Spot Overview:

The sky is not all that is big up there at Big Sky. There is significant average snowfall, and the ski area is vast, offering over 5,800 acres of ridable terrain. The tram is now bigger and better than before, with the ability to carry 75 people at a time to the upper reaches of the mountain. Big Sky is also big on amenities, and essentially anything you'd find in a small city is available on the slope side.

Expert Review:

The sky's the limit at Big Sky, and springtime is the most affordable time of the year to ski there. Mid-winter tickets average over $200 per day per person. However, come April, you can find mid-week tickets in the sub $100 range, which is rare these days at a resort of this caliber. My favorite thing about Big Sky in the spring was their incredible closing day pond skim events, which would take place just a short walk from the village. Unfortunately, the event was permanently canceled a few years ago, and you'll have to go find your own pond now.

8. Verbier, Switzerland: Best for Après-ski

Ski touring backcountry equipment on the top of snowy mountains on a sunny day, Verbier Switzerland. Photo by Gorilla Images

Stats:

  • Location: Switzerland’s Lemanic Region
  • Key info:
    • 82 Lifts and 144 Runs
    • Summit Elevation of 10,826 ft and Base Elevation of 4,921 ft
    • Annual Average Snowfall of 330 inches
    • Typical Season Length: Early November to Late April

Spot Overview:

Verbier, also known as Verbier 4Vallées, is at the center of four valleys and is one of the largest ski areas in all of Europe. Whether you enjoy carving clean corduroy groomers or exploring the vast off-piste possibilities, this iconic local has you covered. The most common way to visit Verbier is to fly into Geneva, and Verbier is about a two-hour drive or train ride from the Geneva Airport.

Expert Review:

Ski culture runs deep in the Swiss Alps, and Verbier is one of the most iconic ski areas in all of Europe. As seriously as they take their skiing, they are equally as passionate about their après activities. You will find world-class dining and nightlife just steps away from the slopes. The ski resort itself offers great beginner terrain and access to some of the most extreme runs imaginable, such as the Freeride World Tour's final stop, which takes place on a face called the Bec De Rosses.

Closing Day

Now that the holiday season and winter solstice are behind us, we are getting closer to spring every hour of every day. With a far below-normal snowpack across the US and Canada this winter so far, many of our holiday ski trips were a bit lackluster or canceled altogether. Spring break will be here before you know it, and it's never too soon to get planning for the longer days ahead.

Reach out to me if you want any help putting together an epic spring ski/snowboard trip, and don’t hesitate to contact a Curated Ski or Snowboard Expert for help getting you and your family the right gear for this spring.

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