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Dependable April skiing?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Which Western resort has the most dependable April conditions? We want to take a family vacation when the kids have spring break-- which is the 2nd week in April.
post #2 of 26
For good late season bases and the chance for new snow, even midwinter conditions, consider; Mammoth, Bachelor, Whistler, Lake Louise, Snowbird, A-Basin, or, in the east, Killington or Sugarloaf. Just a few ideas off the top of my head. I know there are more. I'm most familiar with Bachelor which can be very wintry in early April, has a great lift system, no crowds, 3000acres and 3000 ft. vertical, 360 degree skiing off the summit, good intermediate to advanced terrain , nice glades abound, but most lodging is some 20 miles away in Sunriver or Bend. Good luck.
post #3 of 26
Go west as in far west. Mt. Bachelor and Whistler are your best bet. The light Rocky Mountain snow turns to a dangerous mush in the spring. The denser snow in Oregon, Washington and BC holds much better.
post #4 of 26
Sunshine Village, Alberta holds on to winter type snow conditions well into April, and will still have good skiing when other resorts throughout the continent are dealing with 'Spring' conditions and worse. ....They aren't totally immune to an occasional warm up in April, but the odds of finding good winter snow that is still holding its own; are much better than at any other major resort on the continent.
post #5 of 26
Nobody can predict the snowpack this far ahead for any resort but I can tell you from personal experience that over the past 20 years any of the Summit County Colorado Resorts will have decent skiable conditions, low Hotel and Condo rates, ski sales everywhere and discounted lift tickets.

This past Spring might have been the warmest weather we have encountered in the past 10, but stillfound excellent skiing at Copper, ABasin, Breck and Vail. More than likely you'll hit some powder days too.
post #6 of 26
no offense to lars, but 2nd week of april is iffy that some of the major colorado resorts are still open. keystone is the only one i know of that consistently stays open until mid-april or later.
i'd go for mammoth,squaw or the places in oregon and washington(no experience with them, so cant give an opinion; but they are still getting snow in april and staying open.
post #7 of 26
You'd be hard pressed to beat the Banff area for consistently good quality snow that time of year. Others may or may not be comparable but hard to imagine any would be significantly better.
post #8 of 26
I went up to Banff and Sunshine a couple of Aprils ago and found rain and mush. Panorama was grass. Bachelor had powder. We get often wet snow in December and the summit is usually closed for fog and wind. but spring brings sun or some Rockies style snow. Some of our best powder days are late in the year. Check on when they close the Northwest lift and aim for the last week. In May it is just the Pine Martin and Summit open. They use to close July4th but decided there weren't enough customers.
post #9 of 26
Originally Posted by skicougar
no offense to lars, but 2nd week of april is iffy that some of the major colorado resorts are still open. keystone is the only one i know of that consistently stays open until mid-april or later.
i'd go for mammoth,squaw or the places in oregon and washington(no experience with them, so cant give an opinion; but they are still getting snow in april and staying open.
I don't know what constitutes "major". I don't know of any one who lives here or works in the ski industry here that would disagree with Loveland or A-Basin being certain of great conditions in mid-april.

I would argue that from April 15 to May 1st is the most fun time to ski either of those locations.
post #10 of 26
Squaw or Snowbird, dep. on what their base totals ended up at. Shouldn't plan til about mid march.
post #11 of 26
Go West, young man (or woman)! Better yet, get thee to Whistler. I was there the last week of April last season, and it was just fine up top. Bottom 1/2 or 2/3 was cr*p, but no problems where you touch the sky. A bit foggy at times, but nothing that waiting for 5 minutes (for the weather to change) can't fix. And hanging out at Whistler's base village at the end of the day with spring temperatures was pretty sweet too.
post #12 of 26
Like I said, closed Steamboat last year,skied the last day they were open and the upper part of the mountain was still great.
Skied closing day at Vail last year, was still good conditions but slim on the front side. Blue Sky Basin was awesome.
Skied closing day at Copper and had icy conditions in the morning and awesome conditions in the afternoon.
Keystone was real crunchy but still had nice coverage other than a few bad spots.
ABasin was spectacular withall of the East Wall Chutes open and great snow conditions.
Breck was nice also.
This was last year and was perobably the worst April in the past 10. Still, there was great skiing.
I will be there in April again this year. I've been to Whistler inApril and to Washington in April, Crystal and Alpental, both good skiing although foggy at times.
It's all personal preference but you don't have to book till Feb or March. By then you should know who has thebest snowpack.
post #13 of 26

Dependable April Skiing

I've had very favorable conditions skiing in Colorado in early April. I like to plan a trip soon after our season ends here. I've probably made a dozen or so trips to Colorado in April and have found in almost all cases deep bases and even some powder. Very few liftlines as well.

I think its great that resorts like Vail discount lift and lodging rates in April to entice thrifty skiers like me to keep on skiing. Last year at Vail had to have been the worst lower mountain conditions I had ever witnessed. They were down over 100 inches of snow from the previous winter. But even at that,the top half and the bowls were very very good. I think all totaled the 6 days I was there , they received 20 some inches of new snow as well.

One compromise skiing that late in the year represents is reduced grooming. At Vail I believe they groom less in April. So with the freeze thaw that is part of skiing that time of year , some of the terrain isn't very skiable until it warms up later in the morning ,early afternoon depending on the exposure.

But its hard to complain about the amount and quality of the skiing you're getting with a 6 day $100 ticket that can be had that time of year. I'm very surprised more eastern skiers don't plan their trip out west for April.
post #14 of 26
I may have not made my comment clear.

While the one shot vacation reports are nice I was referring to the 'dependable' part of the question. My comment about consistency comes from 25 years of April skiing in the Banff area and guages the liklihood of good to fabulous snow from that. Yes it can become slushy - duhhhh - and very rarely might even rain but not as likely as many other places that are more coastal.

Again percentage chance of good winter snow in April in Banff is very high. As high or higher than any other area in North America I would say.
post #15 of 26

I think maybe the message from all these reports is that you can probably count on nearly any major western resort that's still open the week you're considering having good conditions.

Spring skiing is one of my favorite topics and I posted a thread about it awhile back: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=18431

The bottom line is that most resorts will still have lots of snow at that time. As a couple of earlier posts have noted, you can easily wait until March and see who's had the most snow and make your reservations then. You'll have almost no competition for reservations, AND you'll also have almost no competition on the hill once you get there . Deals abound that time of year and the skiing is relaxed and comfortable.

Elevation can be a little bit of a consideration that time of year, so other things being equal (which they never are), the higher the elevation ot the ski area you choose the less chance you might have of running into really sloppy, slushy spring conditions.

I know Alta (if they're still open that week) and Snowbird are safe bets. We've skied A-Basin, Keystone, Breck, Vail, and Aspen in April and had wonderful skiing. Grand Targhee is outstanding that time of year but probably a bit limited in terms of a family ski week destination. I'm sure the California, Oregon, and Washington resorts would probably be good bets. And maybe this would be a great time to go north to Canada and perhaps even take advantage of a somewhat better currency exchange rate.

Good luck,

post #16 of 26
Mammoth is at it's best in April. May is good too.
post #17 of 26
Loveland and A-Basin are both great that time of year. I've skied on more powder days in April at Loveland than in any other month.
post #18 of 26

Sunshine and Louise

The second week in April is still prime skiing at Sunshine and Lake Louise. The lower runs may start getting mushy by the last week in April, but your dates would be fine for a trip to those two hills. Most of the other hills in the immediate area(Norquay, Kicking Horse, Panorama) will be iffy, but the big two should be fine if you are so inclined. As other's have said, you can probably wait until late to book, since the main season rush is dying down, and that will give you a chance to evaluate the latest snow reports.
post #19 of 26

Sunshine and Louise in April--Photos

Sunshine April Gallery


and a slide show from Louise april 24-26 2004

post #20 of 26
Banff (Sunshile/Louise) is definetly your best bet...historically their season is later then everyone else, which means their spring skiing brings decent snow.

Whistler is doable, and with your timetable you'll probably hit the world ski and snowboard festival, (I've been in whistler the last few Aprils) - still good at the top, and if you want the nightlife, you can't beat Whistler during the festival (if you can get into any of the bars)..
post #21 of 26
Sunshine: April 24th, 2004

post #22 of 26
Tony Crocker maintains a website which is devoted to ski conditions. It has some statistical analysis and links to articles about the best time ski based upon the seasons.

post #23 of 26
Mammoth, Kirkwood and North shore of Tahoe (Squaw, Alpine, Sugar Bowl) are good bets.
post #24 of 26

Spring Skiing

I for one LOVE spring skiing but recomendations for a family probably should take into account ease of access (Summit County good, mammoth bad) and terrain, with neither Abasin nor Snowbird that much fun for beginners/intermediates.

Copper is ofen open till the second or third week in april with predictable conditions: hard in the morning, soft 10-2, then mashed potatoes. however,
prices are great, often 4 nights for the price of three, and lift tickets drop

i also found my spring trip dictated by airfare, as almost anything open at that
time will be disounted on lift tickets and lodging.
post #25 of 26
responding to rusty. rusty, charlottesville is looking for a "family" vacation late season. abasin+loveland have great snow late, but not great places to get up and walk over to the lifts.

tahoe, washington and canada seem best for that.
post #26 of 26
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