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Late Snow, Early Snowmaking Prompt Slew Of Season Extensions

Late-Alyeska-Cover More spring skiing than ever in the West this season, as late storms fed into pent-up demand to keep slopes open. (Alyeska/Facebook)

Used to be that the first week of April was the traditional time to hang up the skis, store away the boots, and dust off the summer recreation equipment. Not so much nowadays.

Expanded and more efficient snowmaking has laid down thicker early-season layers that last all season. High-tech grooming keeps snow on the hill longer. And, especially during these last couple of seasons, there's a pent-up demand from the skiing and riding public to get outdoors and stay on the slopes longer. Here's a look at some spring skiing extensions across the West, first in Colorado.

Pushing closing to April 24, Aspen Mountain officials credit their new top-to-bottom snowmaking capability for getting a solid base down that has lasted through the winter. The other three Aspen-based mountains will stay on schedule.

Powder-hoarding Wolf Creek usually extends its season on weekends only, but repeated late-season dumps made mountain managers keep on a seven-day-a-week schedule through Easter Sunday, April 17.

Managers at home-hill Granby Ranch credit new ownership's commitment to snowmaking -- plus late-season dumps -- for pushing its closing back to April 17. Same for Monarch, which doesn't have snowmaking.

Thanks to March storms, Vail Resorts' mothership Vail Mountain will stay open longer than ever by adding another week to close on May 1 -- the longest season in its history. Its other four resorts will stick to previous closings.

Elsewhere across the West, Alaska's big mountain Alyeska will add three weekends -- April 30 to May 1, May 7-8, and May 14-15 -- to its season. In California, Vail Resorts' Kirkwood will stay open for three additional weeks to May 1, while Heavenly tacks on an extra week to April 24. And, Tahoe's Sugar Bowl hopes to spin lifts for an extra week through Easter Sunday.

In Washington, Crystal Mountain will be open full-time until April 18, then Friday-Sunday through May 9. Stevens Pass, another Vail-owned resort, will stretch its season to April 18, and Summit at Snoqualmie adds on April 10-11 weekend.

And, as usual, a slew of high-altitude mountains such as Arapahoe Basin and Palisades Tahoe will go as long as the snow stays on slopes and folks keep showing up.

This article will be updated with new closing date extensions as they are announced.





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