The Secret Season: Late Spring Resorts

by Wagner Skis / Apr 26, 2024

Late spring might be our favorite time to ski. For starters, everyone else has moved on to summer sports, and the only lines anywhere are the ones from your goggle tan.

Also, there’s no need to get out of bed before 9 a.m., the slush bumps are slow enough to make you feel like Jonny Moseley, and the beer flows like wine. This is why we call late spring the secret season—and there are plenty of places where you can go enjoy it.

A woman skis spring slush in California
Sunny, warm, slushy days in California are worth the journey.

Mammoth Mountain, California

So Cal knows how to party, and this time of year, they do it with skis on their feet. Depending on the snow year, Mammoth can stay open as late as mid-August, with the melt-freeze cycle serving up some of the best spring corn anywhere. This season, the resort will stay open through Memorial Day, which is May 27, and offers day tickets for as little as $85.

Palisades Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe’s crown jewel, Palisades Tahoe continues to vie for the national title of Spring Skiing Capital with a closing day of May 27 this season. Having gotten more than 13 feet of snow in March, conditions are looking good—and so are the Hawaiian-shirted locals. Don’t have an Ikon Pass? Purchase three transferable day tickets for $99 each, which are good at both Palisades and Alpine.

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Mt. Bachelor, Oregon

With music festivals like Rendezvan (May 2-5), special spring-only passes that offer unlimited skiing for $400 (or day tickets for $64), and a mountain whose unique terrain makes skiing it almost a surfing experience, Mt. Bachelor is the ultimate spring skiing destination. And then there are all those microbreweries… They’ll spin the lifts until May 26, so book your tickets and head west.

Timberline Lodge skis year round.
While you are up on Mt. Hood, look for Olympic athletes doing some summer training.

Timberline Lodge, Oregon

Skiing all year? Yes, please. Timberline Lodge, perched on the flanks of the iconic Mt. Hood, is famous for its summer skiing, with the Palmer Express quad closing down usually in the beginning of September—just two months away from opening again in November. Even though the historic lodge itself (which you may recognize if you’ve ever seen “The Shining") suffered a recent fire, the resort is re-open for business.

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Colorado’s beloved A-Basin does not set a closing date in advance, because they believe you ski as long as there’s snow—and at 13,050-feet, there’s often snow through June. That said, the resort anticipates a closing date this year of June 4. If you’ve never been to this gem in the spring, you might not be able to call yourself a real skier. (OK, maybe a real frisbee thrower/parking lot griller/beer drinker/party goer/skier…) The Beach, which is what the Basin calls the area of the dirt parking lot nearest to the slopes, is one of the biggest springtime party destinations in skidom. Bring a cooler with some beverages to share!

Bluebird skies are the only days to ski in the summer.
One of the best things about late spring/summer skiing is if the weather isn't perfect there is plenty else to do.

Loveland Ski Area, Colorado

This little hometown hill is beloved on the Front Range. It’s the closest to Denver (read: shortest time in soul-sucking I-70 traffic), has a mom-and-pop feel (read: leave your backpack and shoes in the lodge), and packs a serious punch with steeps and powdery trees. Loveland’s high elevation right on the Continental Divide means it has some of the better late-spring snow. This year it will stay open through May 12, so you’d better act soon. 

Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia

While Blackcomb and the legendary Peak 2 Peak Gondola are officially closed for the season, Whistler will spin its lifts through May 20. That gives you 42% of this behemoth mostly all to yourself—with roughly 3,400 skiable acres (roughly the size of Snowmass, Colo.), 117 trails, 11 lifts, and zero people. Plus, you’ll get to experience the Great White North in relative comfort, with temps averaging around 64 degress F in May.

Skiing in Whistler in May
Getting some late-afternoon sun at Whistler.

So don’t hang up those boards just yet—there’s plenty of secret season snow to go around! Just don’t forget the sunscreen.


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.

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