The Best Resorts for Spring Multi-Sporting
Springtime is our favorite season. Not just because we love bluebird powder days followed by an outdoor après that’s actually warm enough to enjoy, but also because there’s so much other stuff to do, too.
However, due to elevation, spring runoff, or location, some resorts lend themselves to multi-sporting more than others. Here are our top picks.
Mt. Bachelor, Ore.
With a consistent annual snowfall of nearly 500 inches, Bachelor has one of the longest seasons in the country, with the lifts finally creaking to a stop at the end of May. So, while other ski resorts across the country melt into a sponge of brown mank, the best skiing at Mt. Bachelor, Ore., has just begun.
Mount Bachelor is home to the spring training grounds of the US Nordic Team. Photo: Lauren Jortberg
Sneaky nighttime storms routinely drop their bounty at the summit of this 360-degree stratovolcano, and there’s no one but you to plunder it. But there’s also world class Nordic skiing (56 kilometers of trails), mountain biking, and river rafting. That means in the afternoon, after getting your fill of corn, you can hit the mountain bike trails on Phils, Peterson Ridge, or Crater Rim; hire a river rafting guide to take you on the class III rapids of the Deschutes; or just head straight to the brew pubs in Bend and grab a deck chair in the sun. You could also just hang at the resort, too—because as far as we’re concerned, frisbee and dancing definitely count as sports.
This town needs no introduction. With the best shopping, dining, and culture of any ski town in the country, Aspen doesn’t even need springtime’s warm temperatures to draw nonskiers to its brick-lined streets. Colorado boasts 360 days of sun a year, which means come mid-April, when the resort closes, the deep snowpack is in a perfect melt-freeze cycle. Corn snow may not be quite as dreamy as powder, but when you can get it every day and without the stress of liftlines and other people’s tracks, well, it might just be the best. (Be sure to hit the deck at Bonnie’s on Ajax for a beer.)
Aspen/Snowmass hosts the Bud Light Mountain Challenge in 2023. Photo: aspensnowmass.com
If you’re a cyclist, April might also be the best time to visit Aspen because the road to the Maroon Bells or up Independence Pass is still closed to cars until Memorial Day—and they are two of the most stunning bike rides in the country. Speaking of the Pass, just because the resort is closed doesn’t mean ski season is over—there are huge peaks easily accessible to backcountry skiers from the Pass once it opens. Because of their elevation, these peaks are usually skiable well into June and sometimes even July. Kayak and river rafting season typically start in May, depending on the snowpack and weather.
Lake Tahoe, Calif.
There is nothing quiet about the snow in these parts—it comes in like a lion, dumping nearly 57 feet in 2023, and leaves like one, too, with rivers surging from the snowmelt and warm temps. Because it does get warm here quickly, the resorts usually close around mid-April, but some golf courses open as early as April 1—which means you can wrap up your corn harvest with a round on the back nine.
Palisades has been running a "Snow Golf" Tournament for 37 years! Image: palisadestahoe.com
The resorts in Tahoe also have the boon of the lake itself, which offers boating and paddling as soon as winter loosens its icy clutches. Hiking on the low elevation trails is also often possible in April, which is also when the waterfalls start to peak due to snowmelt. The spring runoff also makes for thrilling class IV and V rafting on the nearby rivers, including the North Yuba, East Carson, Forks of the American, and Cal Salmon. The late spring is off-season, too, which means zero liftlines and wait times at local restaurants.
Don’t forget the sunscreen, and happy spring sporting from your friends at Wagner Skis!
Article by Kimberly Beekman
Kimberly Beekman is the former editor-in-chief of the late, great Skiing Magazine (RIP), and a longtime editor of SKI Magazine before that. She currently uses the title of “freelancer” as a beard to ski powder all over the world. She lives in Steamboat, Colorado, with her wonderful daughter and terrible cat.