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April Skiing Locations

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I live on the East Coast (mid-Atlantic) and am planning our 2017 ski trip.  My Son's school is on break from 4/10 to 4/14, which is significantly later than it has been in previous years.  We would like to go to Breckendridge, but we're open to other ideas.  What can we expect that time of year?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by fbl100 View Post
 

I live on the East Coast (mid-Atlantic) and am planning our 2017 ski trip.  My Son's school is on break from 4/10 to 4/14, which is significantly later than it has been in previous years.  We would like to go to Breckendridge, but we're open to other ideas.  What can we expect that time of year?

 

Thanks!


Where do you normally ski?  My home mountain is Massanutten in northern VA.  Have you skied much in Colorado?

 

Impossible to predict weather but I've been meeting up with friends at Alta Lodge in April for spring break trips since 2008.  Clearly spring conditions, but usually includes one or two powder storms of 4+ inches.  In 2015, the big late season storm dumped 30+ inches on April 15.  Kids 12 and under are free at Alta Lodge if that applies.  Other lodges at Alta have similar late season deals.

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Liberty / Whitetail are our normal day trips.  Spring snow isn't that big of a deal... we'll likely ski in the AM and then explore town.  Is Alta higher up than Breck?

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by fbl100 View Post

Liberty / Whitetail are our normal day trips.  Spring snow isn't that big of a deal... we'll likely ski in the AM and then explore town.  Is Alta higher up than Breck?


No alta is not as high as breck. The top at alta is just under 11,000 feet snow bird is 11,000 feet. The parking lot at abasin which is close to breck is 11,000 feet the top that you have to climb to get to is over 13,000 feet.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

I guess the big question is should I consider CO for 4/10-4/14 (2017), or should I look at someplace like Whistler?  At a minimum, we want the snow to be nice in the AM.

post #6 of 22

http://bestsnow.net/fam_ski.htm  I rate various destinations for spring break.

 

Summit County is one of the top choices for the altitude.   Breck has the most terrain over 11,500 of anywhere and that terrain is great in April though primarily advanced/expert. Primary exposure is east so the easier terrain lower down will melt/freeze.  Nearby Copper is heavily north facing and excellent in April. A-Basin is even better though it's smaller and advanced/expert weighted.

 

Whistler and Alta/Snowbird are excellent choices though they are also advanced/expert weighted.  At Whistler it's a more extreme version of Breck: the snow up high preserves very well, but most of it is steep and not groomed.  Lower down it can be much sloppier.

 

For intermediates Mammoth and Mt. Bachelor are the top spring choices along with Summit County.  This year Summit County is about average while Mammoth is well above average and Bachelor is having a huge season.  So I recommend Mammoth or Mt. Bachelor for spring 2016. 

 

Sorry, just noticed question is for 2017.  Nonetheless my recommendation for Mammoth/Bachelor applies anyway.  You will usually have good snow all day at Mammoth/Bachelor in April, not just in the AM.

post #7 of 22

Easter 2017 is the 16th April.  Most all Colorado Ski Resorts will be open until then.

 

Higher resorts will have better conditions.  Most will be closing terrain starting April 2.  Even with 'limited' terrain you can count on Breckenridge, Copper, A-Basin, Winter Park for good conditions.  Lower resorts, Vail, Beaver Creek, Steamboat will offer much softer/spring conditions.

 

It's not unusual to have fresh snow in April.

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by fbl100 View Post
 

Liberty / Whitetail are our normal day trips.  Spring snow isn't that big of a deal... we'll likely ski in the AM and then explore town.  Is Alta higher up than Breck?


The base of Alta is around 8000 ft, significantly lower than the base of Breck.  Some families spend the first night in SLC, which is about 4500.  Then they stay at Snowbird or Alta.  Sometimes also spend the final night at a motel near the airport.  Cuts the lodging expense and simplifies the day flying home.

 

But if you want to go exploring instead of skiing all day, then LCC is not the best destination for a late season ski vacation.

 

As for the comment about Alta being biased towards advanced/expert, while that is true is some ways, it's not in others.  I first skied Alta as an intermediate, both as a kid and an adult.  My daughter started skiing Alta when she was 7 and could ski all the blacks in the Southeast, including at Snowshoe.  She loved Alta Ski School and the spring powder.  I meet up with several friends who are intermediates who enjoy spending a week at Alta Lodge in April.

 

Snowbird is another story.  Although a family who can ski blacks in the Mid-Atlantic would enjoy many parts of Snowbird.

post #9 of 22

Snowbird is typically open all of April and sometimes most of May too.  Alta closes in mid-April, and usually closes down on the weekdays even earlier and only opens on Friday-Sunday.

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Great breakdown, thanks!

 

We're probably looking at Colorado (Epic Pass), but we'll see how next year shakes out.  Crested Butte is also an option since they have a deal w/ Liberty/Whitetail/Roundtop Season Pass holders.

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by fbl100 View Post
  Crested Butte is also an option since they have a deal w/ Liberty/Whitetail/Roundtop Season Pass holders.

No it's not.  Crested Butte always closes first weekend of April.  And it's extremely expert-weighted, a very small area by Colorado standards for intermediates. 

 

There are quite a few places in remote locations that close first weekend in April.  Telluride, which would be much better for you than Crested Butte, is unfortunately another example.

post #12 of 22

Just anecdotal, but I did a quick dirtbag trip to Copper a few years ago...2 days of good spring conditions, 1 (or 3/4s)  day of storm skiing with refills each lap, and the 4th day of bluebird with a foot of fresh snow. Yeah, the back bowls were mostly closed, but it was awesome.

 

Hope to repeat that trip this year.

post #13 of 22

The nice thing about a mid April trip is that there is no need to plan far in advance. I would suggest revisiting the question about 13.5 months from now. At that point there may be a good reason to plan, or avoid, certain areas.

 

 

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by aimeebd View Post
 

The nice thing about a mid April trip is that there is no need to plan far in advance. I would suggest revisiting the question about 13.5 months from now. At that point there may be a good reason to plan, or avoid, certain areas.


+1 to this.   In any case the number of fully open areas declines fast, particularly after second weekend in April.  You need to research this aspect (both full and partial shutdowns of terrain) for your specific week in advance.  But actual lodging reservations can be made last minute, and will probably be heavily discounted that late in the season.

post #15 of 22

Consider Chamonix--lifts are cheaper, there are more affordable hotel options, airfare and flight times from the East coast are often not much more than to the rockies--you may be able to get a nonstop to Geneva, the scenery is incomparable, april can be wintery--it's one of the highest resorts in the Alps, and the food is so much better. While it is the extreme skiing capital of the world there is plenty of beginner, intermediate, and advanced terrain. Even if you don't ski it the tram to the top of the Aiguille du Midi is spectacular.  The only downside is that you will usually be taking a free bus or a long walk to the days skiing from your hotel in town.

post #16 of 22

If the Canadian dollar still sucks next year the Canadian Rockies will let your US dollar go pretty far.

post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by fbl100 View Post
 

Liberty / Whitetail are our normal day trips.  Spring snow isn't that big of a deal... we'll likely ski in the AM and then explore town.  Is Alta higher up than Breck?


Been my experience in warm spring weather the first 2 hours of the day are usually icy from yesteday afternoons slush freezing over night ....Theres usually a short window when that hard stuff warms enough to provide some good skiing conditions before that sun warms things too much and things get a little wet again .............Rinse and repeat...........angle of the slopes in relation to the sun are a huge part of the game of when a particular run is good compared to others.

post #18 of 22

Yeah, at that time of the year you probably don't need to start getting serious about planning a mid-April 2017 trip until about late Feb 2017.

Lots of time and its not busy that time of season for airfare or lodging for ski season.  Demand at resorts falls of a cliff after the end of March.

post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by afski722 View Post
 

Yeah, at that time of the year you probably don't need to start getting serious about planning a mid-April 2017 trip until about late Feb 2017.

Lots of time and its not busy that time of season for airfare or lodging for ski season.  Demand at resorts falls of a cliff after the end of March.


That may be true for some adults, but for a trip involving kids it's harder to do any trip planning only a month or two before.

post #20 of 22

I only have one kid, and certainly the flexibility of when to go is gone once they start school, but I don't find that the other details take any more advance planning. Last year's Easter weekend April ski trip including flights was planned 3 weeks in advance. We went to a different place (Snowmass) than we would have if we had planned far in advance (Mammoth), and that was a very good thing! The dates were set well before that.

post #21 of 22

I too have to arrange skiing around school holidays and the last few years we've had our main ski holiday at Easter. Myself, my wife, ten year old daughter and eight year old son are all intermediate skiers. 2013 was Mammoth. We're from Australia so flying into LA and the relatively quick drive up 395 was easy. The conditions were fantastic and we loved the whole experience - so much so we went back in 2014. We were lucky enough to get a big dump the night we arrived and had great conditions that year too. 2015 we did a road trip from Banff to Vancouver and hit Sunshine, Lake Louise and Whistler. Again we were lucky to get snow just prior or the day we arrived at each location. For a reportedly terrible year the conditions were great. One of my fondest memories is skiing powder at Lake Louise. Even Whistler was great from mid mountain up. This year (in a few weeks - can't wait) we're skiing Alta/Snowbird for a few days then heading to Whistler again before finishing at Lake Louise.

We'll see how this years trip goes but we'll likely do another Canada road trip in 2017 as the Aussie dollar sucks against the US dollar. I expect we'll try some of the higher elevation hills that stay open well into April like Revelstoke, Kicking Horse etc. Then again if Colorado has a great year next year we might bite the bullet and ski there as it will be a first for our family. 

I'm sure we're missing out skiing in spring conditions but when you're used to Australia and New Zealand it's a massive luxury!

Good luck with your trip.

post #22 of 22
Quote = marznc:
That may be true for some adults, but for a trip involving kids it's harder to do any trip planning only a month or two before.

aimeebd has it right.  The only time advance limiting factor is if you're flying and when you can get the best air deals.  That tends to be 1-2 months in advance unless it's a big holiday week for lots of people.   Lodging in April can nearly always be scored last minute at a good price.  Including kids doesn't make any of this tougher aside from reserving for more people in total.

 

sbooker has done well with the Easter trips and is a heavy favorite to do so again with Alta/Snowbird.  As far as western Canada is concerned, he chose the right places in 2015 in Whistler and Banff.  A lot of interior B.C. places have low altitude and/or bad exposure and are not great bets at Easter. And the remote places (Red, Whitewater) close first weekend in April anyway.  So yes, I'd tell him to go to Colorado next time if he wants something new and is constrained to late season.

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