As much as we wish winter could last forever, ski season eventually comes to an end. Snow melts, temperatures rise, and it’s time to pack away our beloved skis until next year.
But when exactly is the best time to do so? It can vary depending on where you ski, what type of skier you are, and a variety of other factors. In this article, we’ll explore different indicators that can help you determine when ski season is over for your particular location and circumstance.
Some people prefer to wait until the very last day at their favorite resort, while others may choose to wrap up their season earlier in order to avoid the crowds or save money. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of both approaches, as well as some alternative options such as spring skiing or heading to another destination with a longer ski season.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1
We’ll also provide tips on how to properly store your skis during the off-season so they stay in top condition for years to come. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to make the most of your ski season, understanding when it’s over is crucial for making the most of your investment and planning ahead for future trips.
So, let’s dive in and discover the best time to pack those skis away!
Factors that Affect the End of Ski Season
Weather Conditions and Snowfall
The weather conditions and snowfall are vital factors in determining when ski season ends. The length of winter is a critical factor as it affects how much snow will be available for skiing or snowboarding.
Most ski resorts rely on consistent below-freezing temperatures to maintain their snow, and often use artificial means like snowmaking machines to supplement natural snowfall if needed. However, too much heat or rain can severely affect both the quantity and quality of the snow, causing the end of the ski season to come sooner than expected.
“In general, the harder winter starts, the better chance we have of running into June. But, of course, spring storms of heavy snow also help extend our season.” -Brendan Madigan, CEO at Alpenglow Sports
Resort Management and Marketing Strategy
Ski resort management and marketing strategies can significantly influence when ski season comes to an end. Resort executives make decisions on whether to keep the slopes open or not depending on several reasons such as operational costs, maintenance, visitors’ demand, and sales at onsite facilities.
A well-planned and executed marketing strategy can encourage more people to visit the resort towards the tail end of the season and contribute to extending the season or even get new consumers to put off taking a skiing trip earlier in the year so they can catch better deals later in the winter.
Keeping the skiers engaged with value-added events, discounts or other worthwhile offers can significantly impact the duration ski season lasts, making it likely that many folks hold out until the very last run.
“If your goal is to visit in hopes of catching some good late-season skiing (or snowboarding), paying attention to a resort’s snow-making capabilities and mountain aspect that ensures access to late-season sun are also good strategies.” -Evelyn Spence, Contributing Writer at Forbes.com
Top Ski Resorts and Their Closing Dates
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Located in beautiful British Columbia, Whistler Blackcomb is one of the top ski resorts in North America. With over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain, it’s no surprise that this resort attracts skiers and snowboarders from all over the world.
The official closing date for Whistler Blackcomb is April 19th, but keep in mind that this can vary depending on weather conditions. If there’s still plenty of snow, they may extend the season a bit longer. However, if the snow starts to melt early, they may have to close a little earlier than expected.
“Whistler Blackcomb is an incredible mountain – definitely one of my favorites.” -Lindsey Vonn
Aspen Snowmass, Colorado
Aspen has always been known as a celebrity hot spot, but it’s also one of the best ski destinations in the country. Aspen Snowmass is made up of four different mountains with a total of 5,547 acres of terrain. With so much space to explore, you’ll never get bored here.
The closing dates for Aspen Snowmass are split between the four separate mountains. Aspen Highlands closes first on April 4th, followed by Buttermilk on April 5th, then Snowmass on April 18th, and finally Aspen Mountain on April 25th.
“The skiing in Aspen is outstanding and challenging.” -Mark Udall
If you’re planning a ski trip and wondering when the season ends, be sure to check the official website of your chosen resort for the most up-to-date information. Mother Nature can be unpredictable, and some resorts have been known to stay open a little longer or close earlier than expected due to weather conditions.
It’s also worth noting that while the official closing dates may vary from resort to resort, many ski destinations offer spring skiing and snowboarding opportunities after their official close date. This is when you can take advantage of lower lift ticket prices, smaller crowds, and beautiful views as the snow melts away.
“Spring skiing isn’t just about skiing in shorts. It’s about having fun with your friends on snow while enjoying soft turns.” -Aspen Snowmass
No matter where you decide to go skiing, be sure to check the forecast before you arrive. Depending on the time of year, you may need to pack sunscreen and lighter layers. Ski season may be coming to an end, but there’s still plenty of time to hit the slopes and enjoy the great outdoors.
What to Expect During Late Ski Season
Warmer Temperatures and Spring Conditions
As ski season comes to a close, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to rise and conditions to become more spring-like. This means you can expect softer snow that may be slushy or sticky in the afternoons, but still firm and fast in the mornings. It also means you can ditch your bulkier gear in favor of lighter layers.
If you plan on skiing during warmer weather, make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and wear sunglasses or goggles with dark lenses to reduce glare. The sun reflecting off the snow can be incredibly bright, so protecting your eyes is crucial.
Reduced Crowds and Quieter Slopes
One of the biggest benefits of hitting the slopes later in the season is that crowds are typically much smaller than they were earlier in the year. This means shorter wait times for lifts and less crowded runs, allowing you to enjoy your time on the mountain without feeling rushed or cramped.
In addition to fewer people on the slopes, late-season skiing often provides a more laid-back atmosphere. Resorts tend to be less hectic, which can create a relaxing and enjoyable environment for everyone involved.
Special Events and Activities
Ski resorts know how to keep guests entertained throughout the season, and late-spring is no exception. Many mountains host special events such as pond skimming competitions, live concerts, and even end-of-season parties. These events can add an extra layer of excitement to your trip and give you a chance to experience something unique.
Some resorts also offer alternative activities like ziplining, snowshoeing, and tubing when the snow starts to melt. These options extend beyond skiing and allow visitors who aren’t interested in skiing to still enjoy the mountains and scenery.
Potential for Early Closures and Limited Terrain
While there are many advantages to skiing in late season, it’s important to note that some resorts may close early or limit their terrain due to melting snowpack. It’s always a good idea to check with the resort ahead of time to ensure they are open and offering the trails you want to ski.
The National Ski Areas Association states that overall skier visits tend to dwindle as spring approaches, which can make it difficult for some resorts to remain profitable. With fewer people hitting the slopes, some resorts opt to end their season earlier than planned.
“Skiing is a dance, and the mountain always leads.” -Unknown
While late-season skiing comes with its own set of challenges, the benefits certainly outweigh the drawbacks. Quieter slopes, warmer temperatures, special events and activities, all provide fantastic reasons to hop on those skies one more time before winter ends for good. Plan accordingly, dress appropriately and enjoy the magic that can be found within the final days of ski season!
Spring Skiing: The Benefits and Drawbacks
Pros of Spring Skiing
Many people assume that when the snow melts, ski season is over for another year. However, this isn’t always the case! Depending on where you live or travel to, skiing can continue during the spring months.
The warm weather might seem like an unusual time for skiing, but there are many benefits to hitting the slopes in the spring. Some skiers claim that it’s their favorite time of the year to hit the mountain!
- Longer Days – With daylight saving time in effect, days feel longer, which means more time to enjoy the mountain.
- Milder Weather – The temperatures are warmer than winter, making it a more comfortable experience to ski all day long.
- Cheaper Prices – Many ski resorts reduce their prices during the spring, as the demand for skiing reduces drastically.
- Festive Atmosphere – As the winter comes to a close, many resorts celebrate with music fests and other festive activities.
- Powder! – Snow conditions differ depending on location but some regions have heavier snowfall in late March/early April, meaning great powder runs well into spring.
“I love spring skiing because it’s way less crowded and the weather can’t be beat,” says JJ Cudney, avid skier, blogger, and author, “you don’t need super thick layers under your pants and jackets either.”
Cons of Spring Skiing
As much as there are benefits to spring skiing, there are also drawbacks one needs to consider before heading out to the mountain.
- Snow Conditions – Snow can be inconsistent due to warming temperatures, which may form slush patches and force you to ski on fewer runs.
- Melting snow means the mountain size decreases : Translation: Ski resorts start closing down access to some trails making the skiing experience less enjoyable.
- Unpredictable Weather – Springtime weather can also change quickly with snowfall one day and sunny skies another; make sure to pack versatile clothing options.
“When I skied in May at Mt Baker last season, it was raining at the base area — super low visibility,” recalls Crystal Sagan of The Alluring Beasts Agency, “However, once we got up higher, all the rain turned into big beautiful flakes that were incredibly fun to ski through.”
If you’re thinking about taking a spring skiing trip, weigh up both the benefits and drawbacks before finalizing your plans. While sunny days and lightweight clothes are not guaranteed, you just might catch some great powder too!
Preparing Your Skis for Storage After the Season
Cleaning and Drying Your Skis
Ski season comes to an end, but proper ski maintenance never should. The first step in storing your skis after a season is cleaning them thoroughly. Dirt, grime, and salt can accumulate on skis during the season and lead to rusting if left unchecked.
To clean your skis, start by using a soft-bristled brush or towel to remove any dirt from the ski surface. Pay special attention to removing any dirt that might be stuck in the bindings as it can corrode the metal parts over time.
After the initial cleaning, use warm water and mild soap to wash the ski base and edges adequately. Once done, rinse with plain water and dry gently with a clean towel.
Finally, hang the skis upside down or lay flat so all the remaining water droplets will flow away from core components like the bindings, edges, etc., giving you a kind of head-start toward preseason prep (you’d need this later).
Applying Wax and Proper Storage Techniques
The next essential step in ski storage involves applying wax properly. This doesn’t only prevent damage to the ski bases, but also keeps them feeling fresh and ready-to-go when brought out again come winter.
You’re wondering; how does that work? By applying a coat of wax, you seal the pores of the base material and protect against drying or cracking. Further, the process kickstarts the treatment cure for next season’s skiing prep at this point already.
This is why it’s crucial to wax before storing and not waiting until next year’s opening day. You can either take your skis to a proshop or DIY good-quality wax based on a knowledge base on this subject. If doing it yourself, ensure you use a sharp waxing iron and follow manufacturer guidelines to avoid damaging your skis.
Afterward, choose an appropriate storage place. A dry and moderate temperature spot away from direct sunlight will suffice for most homeowners or renters, as long as the area gets rid of dampness that could cause rust in metal parts. Also, keeping them covered until winter is recommended but not entirely necessary if you live in non-humid zones.
“Spring skiing: when young men’ s thoughts turn to… moving back indoors.” -Unknown
Ski season comes rolling every year, and with successions becomes necessary sub-tasks like offseason storage breaks leading to opening day preseason prep runs.
If you’re going to be storing skis through spring and summer seasons, thorough cleaning, waxing along storage at moderated temperatures, and diligent care can help keep your gear in perfect shape all year round.
Done right, storing and maintaining your ski equipment guarantees excellent condition come wintertime and no last-minute panic attempts to revive dead components too far gone for seasonal repair work required way before hitting even one mountain trail.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the typical end date for ski season?
The end date for ski season varies depending on the region and the resort. Generally, ski season ends in late March or early April in most regions. However, some resorts may stay open until May or even June in areas with colder climates or higher elevations.
Do ski resorts extend their season if there is a lot of snow?
Ski resorts may extend their season if there is a lot of snow. If there is a significant snowfall, ski resorts may choose to stay open longer than their typical closing date. However, this decision is ultimately up to the resort and can vary based on factors such as weather conditions, staffing, and demand.
Are ski resorts open during spring break?
Yes, ski resorts are typically open during spring break. Spring break is a popular time for skiing and snowboarding, so many resorts will remain open during this time. However, it’s important to check with each individual resort to confirm their specific spring break hours and dates.
When do ski resorts start summer operations?
Ski resorts typically start their summer operations in late May or early June. The exact start date can vary depending on the resort and the region. Many ski resorts offer summer activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and zip-lining during the warmer months.
What are some signs that ski season is coming to an end?
Some signs that ski season is coming to an end include warmer temperatures, shorter lift hours, and reduced snow conditions. Additionally, some resorts may begin to close certain trails or lifts as the end of the season approaches.
Are lift tickets cheaper towards the end of ski season?
Yes, lift tickets are often cheaper towards the end of ski season. As the end of the season approaches, resorts may offer discounts on lift tickets and other services to encourage visitors to come. However, it’s important to check with each individual resort to confirm their specific pricing and discounts.