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Best Late Season Skiing

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to get out to Utah this year around Christmas, but there is a good chance that a Christmas Utah ski trip will be impossible. My next real chance for a ski trip is Easter week (Mid April). I don't really enjoy "spring" skiing, with 50 degree temperatures and slushy snow. Are there any resorts that will still have cold temperatures and good snow conditions in April?
post #2 of 25
I'm guessing Whistler may...

Best,
Chris
post #3 of 25
This is really variable. I skied Snowbird in May and it was great, 1.5 days of available powder, 19F in the morning 35F in the afternoon. Snowbird stayed open until July. But, it was an unusual year.

Most resorts close on calendar regardless of conditions. Places like Jackson Hole and many others are required to close by agreement with authorities. Also, the economics are difficult during the late season, another reason resorts cease operations.

Snowbird, Arapahoe basin, Mt Hood and others regularly have late seasons. But you need to track the conditions and weather to improve your "luck" in finding late season skiing that feels like March.

Michael
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohemian
I'm guessing Whistler may...

Best,
Chris
Whistler is a good recommendation (hopefully, they have a better season this year). Arapahoe Basin would also be good -- its advantage is high altitude. But any of these resorts/areas will still probably have some slushy snow by mid-day if you ski them in April. It’s best to make sure that you arrive when the lifts first open to take advantage of the conditions before they get sloppy. I skied at Arapahoe in mid-May and found relatively good spring conditions on the upper half of the mountain – it is pretty cool to be able to ski that late in the season.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by wingnutter
[color=black...Arapahoe Basin would also be good -- its advantage is high altitude. But any of these resorts/areas will still probably have some slushy snow by mid-day if you ski them in April. It’s best to make sure that you arrive when the lifts first open to take advantage of the conditions before they get sloppy. I skied at Arapahoe in mid-May and found relatively good spring conditions on the upper half of the mountain – it is pretty cool to be able to ski that late in the season.[/color]
Some of us actually found powder on the East Wall in that same time period.
post #6 of 25
The traditional European wisdom for late season is "go high" or find a glacier or both. I have had good mid April skiing in Whistler, which is not especially high (both mountains usually stay open until the end of April) and last year we had good conditions (a bit earlier in April) at Mammoth, which is higher than Whistler, broadly Whistlers summit is pretty much Mammoths base height (I think). That said last year was a v good season at Mammoth and a pretty useless one at Whistler (albeit it did I was told pick up in April), so maybe we were just lucky. From other threads of a similar query in the past Banff/Lake Louise will be put forward..............the benefit will be it is late season and probably quietish so you may be able to hold off booking until late on to see what is looking good
post #7 of 25
In North America the late season champ for consistent powder conditions is generally Sunshine Village AB. The highest lift-served terrain in Canada, plus a position on the continent that often finds itself still inside the northerly jet stream well into April; often adds up to conditions that remain winter-like. Anything can happen, but the slopes at Sunshine Village are renowned for their snow preservation characteristics(particularly Lookout Mountain), and your chances for powder snow are rather good a couple of weeks into April.

...The added bonus is: fast moving fronts that time of year are known to drop a very light grade of powder snow when conditions are right.




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post #8 of 25
Alta/Bird. Even around Easter they have the best chance of powder & good conditions anywhere on the planet. Heck I've skied Alta (post lift closing) in May and had face shots on 100+" snowpack. Last few years, actually.

Powdr
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Alta/Bird. Even around Easter they have the best chance of powder & good conditions anywhere on the planet. Heck I've skied Alta (post lift closing) in May and had face shots on 100+" snowpack. Last few years, actually.

Powdr
That's what I was thinking, although Sunshine Village looks pretty good too. I might leave the powder for you and try a new resort. Besides, I've never skied the Canadian Rockies.

How are Brighton and Solitude in April generally?
post #10 of 25
I've had at least three Easter vacations to Copper and been caught in blizzards every time. The base area was slushy occasionally, but who skis there except to get home?
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MtBrighton247
That's what I was thinking, although Sunshine Village looks pretty good too. I might leave the powder for you and try a new resort. Besides, I've never skied the Canadian Rockies. How are Brighton and Solitude in April generally?
Everything in Utah was closed by May 1, except Snowbird. I reduced my list by March 1 by confirming closing dates. I also checked last minute airfare & lift/lodging packages. Snowbird was cheap and easy to get to.

Barrettscv
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Alta/Bird. Even around Easter they have the best chance of powder & good conditions anywhere on the planet. Heck I've skied Alta (post lift closing) in May and had face shots on 100+" snowpack. Last few years, actually.

Powdr

Now that is some bold statement!

Actually ALL of Utah has seen some influence from global warming during the waning weeks of the season. Freeze-thaw cycles should be anticipated anytime after the second week of March. ....But there are still really good chances for powder days!

Utah suffers late in the season from altitudes that put its skiing in alpine zones subject to warming cycles. The high Colorado resorts, as well Canada's highest lift served areas, have an edge for a few remaining weeks as the spring cycles creep up in altitude and latitude.

The skiing at many resorts around the county are still 'good' by mid April, but winter style conditions you can count on will be becoming more and more scarce.



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post #13 of 25
l live for bold statements. In this case, the x factor for UT is that in Mar. & April we are still getting storm cycles that dump 3' of low density snow on our already deep snowpack. Recall how so many of us Utards gloat doing the spring months. Its not just hot air:

http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/vi...sc&start =930
post #14 of 25
Lcc/bcc
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv
Everything in Utah was closed by May 1, except Snowbird. I reduced my list by March 1 by confirming closing dates. I also checked last minute airfare & lift/lodging packages. Snowbird was cheap and easy to get to.

Barrettscv
The only reason that Alta is not open in May is because of the terms of the lease under which Alta operates. It does not have a choice but to close after the 2d week in April. Powdr is 100% correct in what he says. Utah rules in the spring. I always seem to make some good turns in LCC in May.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv
I skied Snowbird in May and it was great, 1.5 days of available powder, 19F in the morning 35F in the afternoon. Snowbird stayed open until July. But, it was an unusual year.

Most resorts close on calendar regardless of conditions. Places like Jackson Hole and many others are required to close by agreement with authorities. Also, the economics are difficult during the late season, another reason resorts cease operations.

Snowbird, Arapahoe basin, Mt Hood and others regularly have late seasons. But you need to track the conditions and weather to improve your "luck" in finding late season skiing that feels like March.

Michael
Hey, I had great spring skiing this year at Snowbird! Late Spring skiers need to watch everything including required closure dates, existing base levels, weather predictions and also see who is offering the best packages.

I selected Snowbird last year, and it was flawless.

Barrettscv
post #17 of 25
I would also advise checking out Mammoth, which typically has great late season snow. The reason is its high elevation, deep snow pack and predominantly North facing slopes.

Check out these links for some videos of April and May skiing in Mammoth last year.

http://www.adventurefilmworks.com/Videos/May7.mov

www.mammothsnowman.com

Check out Tony Crocker's snow data at:

http://bestsnow.net

For April skiing, seek out areas with high elevation, north-facing slopes, historically deep snowpack depth and a track record of late season snowfall. Tony's site has all of that information.

I am in the same situation that you are in and booked a trip to Mammoth from April 8-15. Our second choice would have been the Cottonwood Canyons in Utah. I've had great skiing in Snowbird in late-April (3.5 ft of powder), but the weather is indeed variable at that time of year. Nevertheless, you should be able to find good snow conditions at either of the above locations in April (could be powder...could be corn...but there will be lots of snow).

In terms of Sunshine AB, I noticed that they already have snow! The snow preservation is very good there (altutude, North facing slopes) and they historically have good snow through April, but they only get about 235" of snow per annum on average compared to 500" in the Cottonwoods and 365" at Mammoth, so you're taking a bit more of a chance on conditions there.

A-Basin has good April snow, but no slope-side accomodations (you need to stay at Keystone and bus in) and it is a fairly small resort.

I don't have an opportunity to ski every weekend like I used to, so I like to stack the odds way in my favor. I'd avoid Sunshine in April unless you can wait until the last minute to book your vacation. If you need to book well in advance, I'd go with Mammoth or Utah.
post #18 of 25

Sunshine Village / Canadian Rockies

Not only does Sunshine have the best views of any North American ski resort (Lake Louise inclided), it enjoys a long "winter" season. I spent a week at Sunshine the 2nd week of April a few years back and enjoyed mid-winter snow conditions and great weather in the 20's and 30's.

Snowbird wouldbe my 2nd choice. You may get a week from heaven at the bird, but you might also run into 70 and sunny, which makes the light powder turn to stew pretty quickly.
post #19 of 25
Unfortunately, my mid-winter experiences at Sunshine have been characterized by low snow cover, although what snow they have lasts long and is spread out pretty well by the ski area (well placed snow fences, etc.). I agree that the weather will be more reliable at Sunshine. I spent one week at Snowbird during the third week in April and it was very warm (upper 50s at the base for 3 days) followed by 3.5 feet of fresh powder. Even during the warm spell, however, the snow was decent at the top of the mountain.
post #20 of 25
I did Easter trips to Sunshine Village three years in a row a few years back and was VERY satisfied with the conditions encountered vs what I have encountered late March back in the states.(But I must admit I lean more towards snow quality rather than quantity!)

..All this talk of 500 inch years isn't particularly meaningful in April if you encounter winter conditions in an area with excellent snow preservation characteristics.
post #21 of 25
Another vote for Sunshine this late.

Almost always excellent, and not too many people.

My second choise for late season is Alpine. Temp can ruin it, but always lots of snow.
post #22 of 25

Sunshine

We had pretty good snow last season and it held up pretty well throughout April. As I recall Delerium Dive was hopping all through that month. In comparison with the crappy conditions elsewhere, it was almost a banner year for Sunshine. I usually look at April as a good month--the crowds are gone, the temperature is comfortable, and the snow is good--and I hate soft spring snow!
post #23 of 25
Sounds like Sunshine has some fans! It certainly seemed to be one of the best areas to ski in Canada last Spring and the new terrain they've opened up is awesome. Just to keep things in balance, I wouldn't agree that conditions were crappy elsewhere. The Sierras and the Cottonwoods had incredible Spring conditions last year.

The good news is that April skiing is one of the best kept secrets in skiing. The places mentioned in this thread frequently have the deepest snowpacks of the year, most pleasant temperatures, fewest crowds and cheapest prices in late Spring.

To add one other area to the mix....we lived in Europe for a few years and had outstanding skiing at Tignes and Les Trois Vallees in April every year. Given the currency rates, however, it is not as econimical to travel there from the U.S. as it used to be.
post #24 of 25
Bachelor used to stay open until July 4, but now they close June 1, due to lack of interest, not lack of snow. The last time I was at Sunshine in late April, it was spring mush. Came back to cold powder on Bachelor. I'm sure different weather could yield the oposite experience, but definitely Bachelor was a lot of spring powder, even into May, and is much colder than Hood.
post #25 of 25
I have written 3 articles on this subject (March 1998, April 1999 and March 2001), all referenced at http://members.aol.com/crockeraf/insdtrak.htm .

For consistent spring conditions Mammoth and Mt. Bachelor are the best. Bachelor will usually have pristine backcountry corn off its summit in mid-April. Mammoth rates a bit higher for consistency and slope maintenance now because Bachelor's new management since 2003 has been cutting back grooming and lift operations.

Alta/Bird still has highest probability of fresh, but if you don't get it conditions will be more variable than Mammoth/Bachelor.

There are several Colorado areas with outstanding snow preservation. A-Basin and Copper are best of those close to Denver. The ones farther out are usually closed by mid-April, but with Easter being April 16 I would bet Aspen and Snowmass will still be open and worth consideration.

Whistler is good and well-covered in alpine, likely sloppy (but you can avoid and download at the end of the day) at low elevation.

Sunshine's Lookout Mt. is indeed well-preserved. Unfortunately the more advanced terrain on Goat's Eye faces southwest and will be springlike and often rocky by mid-April. I would only go there if they have had a big year, in which case Lake Louise's extensive back bowls should also be in good shape.

IMHO spring skiing is considerably underrated. When you factor in cost, crowds and open steep terrain, you'll probably have a better trip at any of the places mentioned above in mid-April than at most resorts during the Christmas-to-New-Year's "zoo" week.
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