Spring skiing is one of my favorite things in the world. Between epic powder days, sunny groomer laps, goggle tans. bikinis, bro tanks, and costume parties, there’s almost too much fun stuff going on to summarize in one post. In order to make the whole spring scene more approachable, I decided to break up the spring skiing season into three different periods and regions.
Early Spring Skiing: Hot laps and cold brews in the Northern Wasatch (March 15 - April 16)
Quintessential Spring Skiing: Powder days, sunshine and après in Park City (March 15 - April 16)
Late-Spring Skiing: Powder and parties in the Cottonwoods (March 15 - Memorial Day - July???)
We are in the midst of an extended period of high pressure in Utah. While we were skiing powder a week ago, temperatures have since spiked, and the sun has been out in full force. What better time to bust out the carving skis and rip some groomers in the sun. And what better place to rip some groomers than the resort that hosted the 2002 Olympic Downhill and Super G races. That’s right, I’m talking about Snowbasin.
The 45-minute drive to Snowbasin Resort is a great way to switch things up and explore some new areas. When you’re done ripping high speed groomers in the sun, Snowbasin has some great options for apres-skiing. CinnaBar is a classic destination after a long day in the sun. Also, don’t miss out on Brew Madness, a competition pitting local breweries against each other each weekend at Earl’s Lodge.
Good morning from @snowbasinresort! We are excited to be taking over #skiutah for the next 48 hours. We'll kick things off with #foodiefriday from John Paul Lodge. Enjoy delicious Belgian Waffles for a mid-morning snack with a view or stop by later in the day for lunch, a drink, or a break. John Paul Lodge is a must when visiting #snowbasinresort. With 360 degree views and great food, you can't go wrong! #lifeelevated
Only a few minutes down the road from Snowbasin is Powder Mountain. Pow Mow is a great place to spend a quiet spring day on the slopes. A scenic ride on the LIghtning Ridge snowcat and a nice little hike to the top of James Peak is the perfect way to earn a sweet goggle tan and a few guilt-free beers at the Powder Keg. With a scheduled closing date of April 9th, plan on being there, because Pow Mow knows how to send the season out with a bang.
You’ll definitely want to check out Snowbasin on the weekend of April 8-9th, when the good-times-stars align and we see the convenient combination of both Retro Weekend and the finals of the Brew Madness competition! Snowbasin is staying open until April 16th. I'll see you there!
The weather pattern looks to become a bit more active towards the end of the March and there’s no better place to be in the spring than Park City, Utah.
The two massive resorts in town offer every type of ski terrain for every condition. On powder days, head to Jupiter and 9990 at Park City, and Lady Morgan and Empire at Deer Valley. On sunny days, dust off your skinny skis and rip some laps on King Con and Motherlode. Or guide your own luxury home tour through the Colony at Canyons and Deer Crest at Deer Valley. You could even break out the park skis or board and spin some laps through the various terrain parks at Park City, where you’ll find parks suitable for all abilities.
Both Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain offer some of the best on-hill dining in the world. Deer Valley is consistently listed at the top of every ski magazine's on-hill dining rankings. But don’t sleep on Park City’s revamped on-mountain dining options. I recently had the opportunity to spend a day at Park City Mountain skiing from one side of the resort to the other, sampling the food options along the way. I was absolutely blown away – and painfully stuffed – by the quality and quantity of on-hill dining options. Some of my favorites included a refreshing salmon salad at Lookout Cabin, the smoked sausage sandwich at Tombstone Grill, the Wagyu Beef Burger at Cloud Dine, and the Portobello Sandwich at Miner’s Camp. Each stop offers plenty of outdoor seating to enjoy a meal and a drink in the sun on a warm spring day. Pro tip: Lookout Cabin has the only on-hill liquor license at Park City Mountain.
You also can’t go wrong with après-ski trifecta consisting of the Aprés Haus (formerly the Pig Pen), Corner Store and Legend’s Bar and Grill at the Park City Base. I love to spend the first hour of aprés-skiing, or a midday aprés, by working on the goggle tan on the Pig Pen sun deck. I’ll then make my way to the Corner Store to listen to some live music and enjoying $3 PBR tall boys in the sun. Once the sun disappears behind the Legacy Lodge, I move indoors at Legends Bar and Grill for some appetizers and cocktails. Legends is known for their homemade Bloody Mary’s but after a long day in the sun, I'd go with a refreshing Negroni or Espresso-tini.
Over at the Canyons base area, free concerts and activities have been taking place every weekend in March. When Spring Gruv kicks off March 25th, we’ll see live music and events for sixteen straight days at both base areas! Get out in the sun, make some soft turns, and dance the afternoon away in your ski boots.
Park City also knows how to throw a good party. April 1st is the annual celebration known locally as "Clown Day," our resort-wide Gaper Day. Put on your goofiest costume and spend the day acting a fool with your friends. Exactly one week later, is one of my favorite days of the season: Pond Skim Day at Canyons Base. One hundred costumed skiers and boarders take turns trying to ski across a giant pond at the Red Pine Lodge (thanks T Squared Sports for letting us use the amazing image of Mr. Ski Utah Yeti judging the Pond Skim contest from the top of this post). Sign up if you want to compete, or just grab your own costume and spend the day celebrating the madness with the what seems like the entire town of Park City.
The mountain closes the following weekend and the Closing Day party at Park City Mountain is a must for any die-hard skier or boarder.
Last, and certainly not least, are the Cottonwood Resorts of Ski City, USA. While the rest of Utah is preparing for their final month of operations, the Cottonwoods are still in midseason form.
Solitude Mountain Resort has a 120 inch base and has already been blessed with 451 inches of the Greatest Snow on Earth. Solitude is one of my favorite places to be on a spring day. Not only do they have some of the most underrated grooming in Utah, but Honeycomb Canyon and Evergreen Peak have incredible coverage for the next spring storm. Looking to get off the groomers and get rad in the sun? Fantasy Ridge is the place to be… if you dare. Deemed “the scariest inbounds hike ever” (by myself), what better way to get the adrenaline pumping while working on the perfect goggle tan. Looking for an adrenaline-free goggle tan? Check out the newly remodeled Roundhouse for the perfect on-slope sunny day lunch stop complete with lounge chairs and picnic tables. Solitude closes for the season on April 16th, so make plans to get over there soon.
Alta sits at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, where they've already seen 450 inches of snow and have a current snowpack depth of over ten feet. Spring skiing in Little Cottonwood is heaven-on-earth for die-hard skiers. The snowpack is deep, the storms are on their way, and the spring skiing vibe in unbeatable. Keep an eye out for the best party of the ski season, known simply as Frank. And don’t put away your powder boards just yet, I’ve had some of my deepest days at Alta in March and April. And this year should be no exception.
Alta closes a little earlier this season than usual, shooting for a closing day of April 16th. Last year’s closing day was all-time; powder skiing in the morning, followed by a quick costume change, a parking lot dance party, all before heading to High Boy to watch the sun set on the Alta season.
Brighton, with its 129 inch base, has seen 557 inches of snow this season. And that’s not going away anytime soon. Brighton is an awesome place to spend warm spring days in the park and should still see plenty of snow in the next month or so. Millicent is one of my favorite lifts to ride on a powder day. As the days are getting longer, max out your ski days by night skiing into April. Where else can you rip nearly-2000 vertical foot laps from 9am to 9pm?
Brighton maintains a flexible closing day depending on snowpack, occasionally staying open until late-April. Oh, and they know how to throw one hell of a closing day party. You don’t want to miss it.
Snowbird and spring skiing go together like a hand in a glove… burgers and fries… Corona and lime... or better yet, a shot and a beer at the Tram Club. The spring skiing mecca is open longer than any resort in Utah and the place absolutely goes off in the spring! Last spring’s tram cable replacement project limited terrain a little, but that won’t be the case this season. Sunny or powdery Cirque laps from the Tram should be a constant in your life for the next two or three months. Combine that with patriotic Memorial Day costume skiing, unofficial pond skims, bikinis and bro tanks, sunscreen and zinc, and even some random day that everyone decides to ski in jorts (aka jean shorts), the Bird is the word in the spring.
Snowbird has yet to announce a closing date and probably won’t for some time. Some of the best deals in skiing come in the form of a Snowbird Spring Passes. The first pass is available now, and for $579 you can ski Bird every day until early-May. Then on Friday, Saturday and Sundays until the last strip of snow melts away… whenever that may be. The second spring pass runs April 1st through closing day, the exact price is still "TBD," but this will be the season to get your money’s worth and then some. A few more spring storms and we could be riding until the Fourth of July, as we did in 2011.