Way too many people hang up their skis early when spring has sprung. Here is our top 10 reasons to ski late into the spring. After all many resorts push through all of April and some make Memorial Day weekend the last time to make turns. Spring is unlike hitting the slopes any other time of the season. It has its own vibe, its own appeal and even its own unique snow. Skiing in the spring has become an increasing favorite over the years as favorable weather and an endless list of fun activities and festivals have blessed ski resorts peppered across North America. From the Canadian Rockies to California, Lake Tahoe, Colorado and New England, spring skiing is something every skier or snowboarder should experience at least once. Here’s what we love about spring skiing!
Let’s jump right in with the obvious #1 reason in our top 10 reasons to ski late into the season: Spring skiing has awesome weather! First, the days are longer, and the sun rises earlier and sets later. The sun is gets higher in the sky as temperatures continue to rise during the months of March, April, May and early June. (Yes – some resorts at a higher elevation can stay open until mid-June if the snow keeps up!)
Following Spring Break in mid-March, crowds at most ski resorts begin to fade – meaning you can get more time on the slopes with less wait and more powder for you! During the high season, you might have to wait in the chairlift line or fight crowds on the trails. Spring skiing frees up the runs and gives you more room to play. It’s a great time for newbies to hone their skills without so many people around and advanced skiers love the undisturbed trails and untouched powder stashes.
Warmer temps mean you won’t have to wear so many layers, and you might be able to abandon the heavy outer layer altogether. Spring skiing is a time of year when you can dress warmer in the morning for an early outing, and then shed layers as the day progresses. If you plan on hitting the slopes mid-day, you might not need those layers at all. Late morning and early afternoon skiers and snowboarders can often be seen wearing hoodies, jeans or even shorts on the slopes. With less bulk on, you’ll feel freer and more limber on the slopes than ever before.
With the sun so high in the sky, it’s beautifully bright and sunny on the slopes. Skiers and snowboarders love the term “bluebird skies” to describe the perfect conditions for skiing when there’s a rich cobalt blue sky with nary a cloud in sight. Bluebird days are aplenty during the spring! But since the sun’s a little brighter during spring skiing, make sure to keep on those goggles or shades to reduce the glare, and pack a sunscreen with a strong SPF so you don’t get a sunburn. Play your cards right and you can return from your ski vacation with a sweet tan that would make even your beach-going friends jealous. Ignore this advice and you might return looking like a raccoon.
The increased temperatures do something pretty cool to all that snow on the mountain. As the sun creeps higher in the sky and temps increase, the powdery snow of deep winter begins to transform into large kernels of soft corn snow. Also known as “hero snow,” this phenomenon is favorable because it makes the snow ideal to navigate and a pleasure to rip. It’s the perfect blend of snow, ice and water! Skiers and snowboarders love the tight grip to the slopes that provides no slippage and total control.
Skiers love the “magic hour,” the special time each day when the warm sun loosens the frozen surface of the ski runs just enough to make it soft and perfect! During the day, the trails are used over and over, and the snow can melt and become watery. That watery snow then freezes overnight when temperatures dip and can be like a sheet of ice early in the morning. Once temperatures begin to increase, the ice melts and the snow become more manageable. They call it the “magic hour” but it can really last for a few hours or only a few minutes, depending on the conditions. Scope out your favorite spots on the hill and time your day correctly and you’ll be in for an unforgettable experience.
The longer days and great weather mean there’s a lot more going on outside other than skiing. Ski resorts that have base lodges and on-mountain gathering spaces begin to see crowds sitting outside for a quick bite, après-ski or people watching during the spring months. Generally, you’ll just see more people out and about, watching other skiers or riders coming down the slopes or meeting up with friends for the next adventure. Springtime is different because everyone’s out and about and not huddled up in the lodge next to the fireplace because it’s so cold!
One of the biggest differences between spring skiing and hitting the mountain any other time of the year is the overall vibe. Spring skiing has a festive feel – with lots of partying, festivals and events scheduled at major resorts throughout the warmer season. The calendar of spring events in the mountains is impressive and includes everything from brew fests and music concerts with major industry headliners to closing day parties with epic pond skimming that can get unbelievably wild and entertaining. During the spring, it’s not uncommon to see a group of cos-play skiers enjoying the trails dressed as their favorite superhero or wearing wigs or face paint. It’s a sight to behold – and even more fun to participate.
Springtime is the best time to ski the steeps, the areas of the resort where there’s an abundance of snow that takes time to collect and is skiable though the late season. In some cases, it can take all season for deep powder to accumulate in the steeps, so hitting them in the spring is the ideal time. If you’re looking for deep powder in the spring, head to the steeps – especially in regions like Utah and Lake Tahoe that get massive amounts of natural snow.
During the spring, many resorts feature deals and discounts to attract skiers during low-traffic times. Perhaps the #1 reason in our top 10 reasons to ski late are the deals that crop up! On our Ski Deals website, you can discover several wonderful specials for spring skiing that can save you money on lift tickets, lodging, ski equipment rentals and delivery, fine dining and family-friendly activities on and off the mountain. We have deals that can save you on a ski vacation with a little pre-planning, and we also have discounts for last-minute trips if you need to get away right now! The best part is that you can snag a deal for savings on every aspect of your vacation. We’re the one-stop-shop for ski trip savings.