March, April, and May seem more like getting-ready-for-swimsuit-season time than snowboard season, but many riders argue that late-season snowboarding is some of the best of the year. Crowds are thinner, ticket prices are cheaper, the weather is warmer and at a number of resorts, the powder is still falling.
And there’s always something to be said for t-shirts, bikini tops, and barbeques on patios.
Some resorts cater to spring riding with special events like new spring terrain parks, puddle-jumping competitions, and live music. Here are a few of the top destinations for spring riding that will make you happy you haven’t hung up your snowboard just yet.
Squaw Valley was named the “Best Ski Resort for Spring Skiing” in 2014 by Outside Magazine and, with a single snowstorm in the spring of 2014 having dumped over 61-inches on Squaw Valley, it’s hard to disagree. As much as you may want to ride in shorts and a t-shirt at sunny Squaw Valley, you’ll need to be prepared for fresh snow too. And don’t forget about the buy-one-get-one-free lodging and lift tickets during the spring time. Squaw Valley’s low spring prices are the icing on the cake.
Snowbird makes a big deal out of spring riding. The resort normally has the longest season in Utah and one of the longest seasons in North America. The hill has even been known to stay open as late as the 4th of July. Creating an epic spring experience is just part of the business plan for them. To attract die-hards Snowbird has a ton of late-season lift ticket deals (including $42 lift tickets for season’s pass holders from any other hill in the world), on-mountain entertainment, and deals on equipment and accommodation.
Whistler-Blackcomb received 200 in. of snowfall in February and March of 2014 alone. Not only was March the snowiest month of the 2013-2014 snowboard season, it was one of the snowiest in the past 10 years. Heaps of snowfall isn’t anything new for Whistler-Blackcomb riders though — the mountain averages roughly 470 in. of snowfall each season. For riders, that means more time on the mountain and in the terrain parks, which stay open until the last week of May. Throw in the annual Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival, with DJ’s, competitions, and parties, and you’ve got an awesome spring snow fun experience.
Mt. Hood Meadows doesn’t just stay open for spring riding, they create an all-new terrain park just for spring riders. The Spring Park — a collaboration between Mt. Hood Meadows and Snow Park Technologies — offers new jumps, rails, kickers, boxes, and other features to riders who choose Mt. Hood Meadows as their go-to spring riding destination. The park is open exclusively during the spring, so even if you’ve ridden Mt. Hood’s park earlier in the season, March and April are great months to head back.
Utah’s largest (depending on how you measure them) snow-sports mountain is an ideal spring riding destination for all skill levels, and with annual snowfall averaging around 355 in. each year, you’re bound to enjoy quality snow well into spring. Head to Canyons during the first two weeks of April and enjoy family-friendly entertainment each afternoon, and if you’re there on closing day, you won’t want to miss the annual Closing Day Concert — the perfect way to end another snowboard season with a bang.
Colorado is known for its beer as much as its killer ski and snowboard resorts, and the folks at Breckenridge have combined the two at two annual events, the Breckenridge Spring Fever Beer Fest and the Bud Light Spring Concert Series, making their ski and snowboard resort one of the most exciting (read: inebriated) for spring riding. Since Breck gets roughly 300 days of sunshine per year, you’re almost guaranteed to go home with a goggle tan after a solid spring session in the slush.
When you’re more concerned about good spring snow than a good party, Mt. Baker Ski Resort is the place to be for spring riding. With powder falling well into April each year, riders enjoy that same waist-deep (or deeper) powder as other times of year at Mt. Baker, but the mild temperatures make it that much more enjoyable.
Spring riding isn’t limited to resorts in the west. Snowboarders can shred the slopes of Sugarloaf in northern Maine into May nearly every year. Known as the “King of Spring,” Sugarloaf holds a variety of slope-side events and parties to entice skiers and snowboarders to hit the slopes and enjoy the last few weeks of the season.
There’s no shortage of yearly snowfall at Alyeska Ski Resort in Alaska (the 2012-2013 season saw at least 726-inches of snow), and much of if hangs around through spring. Alaska’s unridden fresh powder and the always-exciting Spring Carnival bash are two simple reasons to plan a spring-skiing adventure at Alyeska Ski Resort.
When the snow just won’t stop falling, the Aspen Skiing Company extends the ski and snowboard season a little bit longer. In April of 2014, Aspen’s largest mountain, Snowmass, was boasting the deepest base depths of the season. And for Snowmass’s loyal spring riders, that means more time on the mountain as the ski and snowboard season extends through the first weekend of May.
What’s better than barbecuing on Memorial Day? Riding rails and boosting kickers on memorial day. At Mammoth Resort, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy the mountain through Memorial Day weekend. Spring riding at Mammoth Mountain also means tons of outlandish spring activities including the Mammoth Pond Skim and Bikini Run, so bring your board and your party hat, because spring riding at Mammoth is always unpredictable.