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What's my best bet for late April?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have April 20th-28th off (can't change dates!) and want to end my ski season on the west coast. The latest I've been in the Rockies was Lake Louise/Sunshine during the first week of April (great!)...What's my best bet for conditions/percentage of terrain open? I've never been to the Tahoe area or Whistler and might like to give either a try. How is late April in those places? I'm taking a trip to SLC in December, so I'd like to try another area if conditions can be counted on. Any recommendations/advice/tips would be appreciated. Thanks!
post #2 of 22
i was going to suggest alberta but since you have already been here...maybe mammoth?
post #3 of 22
1. Mammoth Mountain, CA
2. Alpine Meadows, CA
3. Mt. Bachelor, OR

For me, these places have always been very reliable for late season skiing well into May, & sometimes July. Although I've never skied W/B, I would think that they would still have good skiing higher on the mountain.

JF
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
1. Mammoth Mountain, CA
2. Alpine Meadows, CA
3. Mt. Bachelor, OR

For me, these places have always been very reliable for late season skiing well into May, & sometimes July. Although I've never skied W/B, I would think that they would still have good skiing higher on the mountain.

JF
Ditto. A.M. has great ticket prices that time of year.
post #5 of 22
Alpine and Squaw probably will both be running spring pass deals then. This past spring, it was $129, creditable to 2007-08 passes. Even this season, which was lousy, they were open into early May.

Last year, the end of April was awesome in Tahoe. My then-five-year-old boys:


That said, our last day of that season was July 4th at Mammoth.

In my experience, Mammoth is likely to have better coverage than Tahoe at that time of year. But they've all got a pretty good shot at being pretty good.

My recommendation is to hold off as long as you possibly can. That's a low-demand time of year, both for skiing and for pleasure traveling generally. Why not wait and see where the good stuff is?
post #6 of 22
Go to Mammoth.

The best time of the year to ski Mammoth is the last week, midweek, before Canyon Lodge aka warming hut 2 closes.

Powder days in late April are not unusual for Mammoth.

Imagine the most magnificent skier's mountain in the West, developed by an individual with a passion for the sport, and imagine that mountain almost all to yourself, if you time it right.

Mammoth rules spring skiing.
post #7 of 22
Good suggestions already, I'd only add that Arapaho Basin and nearby Loveland in Colorado will also be open then, and possibly parts of Breckenridge.

Good info here on North American ski possibilities late and early season:
http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/fam_ski.htm
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
Good info here on North American ski possibilities late and early season:
http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/fam_ski.htm
As usual, Tony's analysis seems pretty much spot-on. And his implicit distinction between good "spring" skiing (his 4s) and good winter-style skiing in the spring (his 5s) is pretty key too.
post #9 of 22
Whistler should be on your list as it was getting snowfall very late in the season . As well as Mt Bachelor .
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
Alpine and Squaw probably will both be running spring pass deals then. This past spring, it was $129, creditable to 2007-08 passes. Even this season, which was lousy, they were open into early May.

Last year, the end of April was awesome in Tahoe. My then-five-year-old boys:


That said, our last day of that season was July 4th at Mammoth.

In my experience, Mammoth is likely to have better coverage than Tahoe at that time of year. But they've all got a pretty good shot at being pretty good.

My recommendation is to hold off as long as you possibly can. That's a low-demand time of year, both for skiing and for pleasure traveling generally. Why not wait and see where the good stuff is?
Ditto. I skied Squaw on April 28, 2006 and May 1, 2005. Last year, was very llate season conditions, and was mashed potatoes by Noon. On May 1, 2005, it had snowed ~3" the night before, and the morning was great, but by ~1:15 p.m. it was also pretty sticky. 2005 had a lot more coverage/lifts running compared to 2006.
post #11 of 22
"Alpine and Squaw probably will both be running spring pass deals then."

I had a Spring pass at Alpine in 1982 for $90 & skied 60 days on it! It was a huge snow year & they were open till July. I remember skiing 7" of powder on June 7th, so you never know.

JF
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks

Thanks for all of the replies. I think I might wait and see how things are looking in April. Mammoth/Tahoe seem to be high on everyones list. I'm pretty flexible, so booking a week before won't be a problem...
post #13 of 22
While my http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/fam_ski.htm page analyzes the snow appropriately, the other issue is that most managements start closing facilities by mid-April. This year may be especially bad with Easter so early.

Currently Mammoth plans to close Canyon/Eagle April 21. That will also include chairs 9&22. Plan on about 60% of terrain available unless it's a big year like 2005 or 2006 and they delay the Canyon/Eagle close.

Bachelor is worse. Powdr Corp management is cheap and Sunrise and Northwest will almost certainly be closed by then. Furthermore Bachelor also closes the mountain at 1:30 when in spring operation. Mammoth will start trimming hours in May, but I've found it by experience highly dependent on snow conditions. With good snow Mammoth will run full hours, vitually a certainty through end of April.

Whistler will have one mountain open late April and May after WSSF is over. Let's hope it's Whistler with the greater north exposure.

I like Squaw/Alpine skiing, but with the much lower altitude than Mammoth, it is common for the snow not to freeze overnight in spring and thus be much stickier. If you go to Tahoe, I think Kirkwood will still be open; your week might be their last.

Louise and Sunshine are pretty good about staying open if they have the snow. In a below average year Goat's Eye and frontside Louise are going to have some rocks by late April.

A-Basin will run everything but it's a smaller area than those above. The new Montezuma will make it bigger (haven't seen it, don't know how much) and Loveland is also still open to first of May, though with more variable exposure/snow than A-Basin.

Snowbird is still running most facilities, might shut Gad II or Mineral, in late April. Make sure they have not gone to weekend only operation as in May.

Long winded, but on balance I would probably vote for Mammoth or Whistler. Before Powdr Corp I would have recommended Bachelor.
post #14 of 22
Your best bet is to wait to the last minute to see what is best at the time. You don't need to worry about reservations anywhere after mid-March. And look for high altitude, and more north.

BK
post #15 of 22
Lodging will definitely be easy to come by.

Assuming air travel is involved, you'll know by February who has a big stockpile of snow. It would then be worth calling up areas directly to see how many facilities they intend to run during your week.
post #16 of 22
i know you want a different spot than SLC for your April trip, but check out the April snowfall at Alta last year.

http://www.alta.com/pages/snowhistory.php
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post
i know you want a different spot than SLC for your April trip, but check out the April snowfall at Alta last year.

http://www.alta.com/pages/snowhistory.php
45". Without intending to be snide, is that a good figure from a notable year?

For comparison, the 33 year average (through 2003; hasn't been updated since) at Alpine for April is only about a half foot shy of that -- 38.5". Even in last year's lousy season, Squaw got 62" in April. But in April 2006, Squaw got 140" in April, on top of 200" in March. In my book, that's a good year.
post #18 of 22
I think the point of that chart is that Alta averages 72 inches in April, which is double the Sierra's average.

But that is not the only consideration. Alta will be closed during your week; only Snowbird will be open. Snowbird is my favorite single area, but in the Sierra you will have a minimum of Squaw, Alpine, Kirkwood and Mammoth available.

I have also observed that in Utah spring the off-piste snow tends to fluctuate between fresh powder and unconsolidated mashed potatoes. Sierra snow is more likely to settle into smooth corn.

So if you get lucky you may get a midwinter powder experience at the Bird, but you will probably have more consistent results in the Sierra.
post #19 of 22
Which brings us back to the idea that you don't want to make this decision seven months in advance. You want to make it, at the earliest, a few weeks in advance. You will have no problem finding a great deal on lodging at any ski area in late April, so your only considerations should really be snow and flights.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
As usual, Tony's analysis seems pretty much spot-on.
I'm like a lot of you. I don't even consider a North American ski trip without consulting Mr Crocker first.
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
I'm like a lot of you. I don't even consider a North American ski trip without consulting Mr Crocker first.
i'll pile on and say the guy knows what he is talking about!
post #22 of 22
Actually Breck usually sucks late season, I would say that the basin plus the lot is the best late season.
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