No Surprises Among Western Resorts Staying Open Late
The usual suspects will extend the 2021-2022 ski and snowboard season through May and beyond, as a flurry of late-season storms has reinforced the snowpack throughout the West.
Skiers and riders should expect limited terrain, fewer lifts and variable conditions if they head into the hills this spring. "Playing the mountain" is a well-established spring tradition, meaning following the sun as it runs across the trails to find the soft -- but not too soft -- snow. Otherwise, morning runs can be clattery ice, while afternoon trips often mean plowing through "mashed potatoes."
Three of the mountains that will stay open late are in the Colorado Rockies. Winter Park plans to shut own the main mountain but keep Mary Jane as long as possible in May. Ikon Pass holders can get in their final runs of the season, and the Jane Beach at Mary Jane will kick out the jams every Saturday at 2:30 p.m. to the end of the season.
Breckenridge plans to keep its lifts spinning until Memorial Day, May 30. Mountain managers will begin rolling back operations, but the highest terrain -- Peak 6, Peak 7, and Peak 8 -- promises to be open to the end. Epic Pass holders can chalk up a few more days until then.
And, old faithful Arapahoe Basin will continue its long-standing run as the last mountain to close in Colorado. Sunday, June 5, is the date A-Basin is scheduled to close, but officials say it may go longer if conditions permit. The Shakin' at the Basin concert series will go on Saturdays until the end.
In Utah, Snowbird has been the last to close for many seasons now. For now, the Little Cottonwood Canyon resort isn't saying when it will close, letting Mother Nature determine that. In recent years, skiing and riding have gone into June. It's another chance for Ikon-ers to scan a few more days on the pass.
Out west, Mammoth Mountain and Palisades Tahoe will both be the last California mountains to close. Memorial Day will be the final day that lifts turn, giving Ikon Pass holders a full month of skiing and riding under the Southern California sun. Palisades Tahoe extended its season because of a seven-foot April storm Season tops off with Mammoth Yacht Club's music and contests on May 28-39.
Another Ikon member, Mt. Bachelor's high elevation and storm-catching locale means plenty of snow for skiing and riding through Sunday, May 29. The annual Sunchaser Spring events will keep the music playing, the contests paying and brewskis flowing until then.
Serious snowfall in April has convinced Crystal Mountain operations managers to keep the Washington state resort open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday through the end of May. The upper mountain Green Valley area will be open 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the gondola will run until 4 p.m.
And finally, the perennial winner will once again be Timberline Lodge. There's actually no closing date for the alpine slopes on the shoulder of Mt. Hood, as snow typically stays year-round on the highest Palmer Snowfield terrain. The mountain usually closes late summer or early fall to take a breath before reopening for the next winter. A summer visit to Timberline may afford a chance to check out world-class ski racers going through their training.