10 Ski Areas Where You Can Ski Right Through Spring

STORY BY Patrick Thorne 23rd March 2017

It’s been a mixed ski season with some epic snowfalls but also, at times, temperatures too warm and some centres seeing too little snow.

We’re now in to spring and most resorts will be closing in April, the first of them even before Easter.

Some, however, will remain open in to early May and yet others will be heroically open right through to the start of summer.

Here we salute these ‘hero resorts’ of the skiing world, boldly keeping their lifts running right through May (when most resorts north of the equator, including some summer ski glaciers, are closed and those to the south haven’t started their seasons yet).

The resorts chosen are usually open through June too and in some cases even on in to the hottest months of the northern hemisphere’s summer!

 

A Basin in October – its usually still going strong in June and often in to July.

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, USA

A Basin has some of the world’s highest ski lifts and boasts one of the longest ski seasons too.  Although it tends to take the spring week by week, announcing season extensions, it often makes it through to summer and the coveted American Independence Day opening on July 4th.  This season it managed to open in late October and early November when even neighbouring resorts struggled to do so as it was unseasonably warm and with a 150cm base as we start spring (and more snow falling) it should be good again this year.

 

Tux, Tirol, Austria

Along with Zermatt one of two ski areas to stay open year round, the Hintertux glacier normally manages to keep more than 60km of runs and 1900m of vertical open right through spring.  The Ziller Valley’s winter 2016-17 was not one of the snowiest but the snow is currently lying 2.1m (7 feet) thick on the glacier so it’s looking good for spring 2017.

 

Riksgransen, Sweden

Long known as ‘The Spring Skiing Capital of Europe’ (if not the world), Riksgransen is located 200km north of the Arctic Circle where its so cold and dark the season doesn’t begin until the end of February.  It then lasts to the start of summer with a big party weekend around Midsummers Day on June 21st.  The resort is famous for being bathed in 24 hour daylight from mid-May and skiing and boarding under the midnight sun is offered on several evenings each week.

 

Gassan, Japan

Gassan, which has just a few runs served by one double chairlift, has the strangest ski season in all Japan: April 1 to July 30. It has a year round snow field atop a glacier but it gets so much snow in the winter that nobody can reach it until April making it a cult destination for serious skiers and boarders from around the world each spring.

 

Mammoth, California, USA

Mammoth had amazing snowfall, particularly from mid-November to mid-January, breaking accumulation records and nearly reaching a 9m/30 foot snow base before mid-March when the thaw finally set in.  But as we enter spring it is still snowing, Mammoth still has more than 8.3m (nearly 28 feet) of snow lying and it said months ago it would open through to US Independence day on July 4th.  Squaw Valley, another Californian resort which has similarly had an epic snowfall winter, and is known as the ‘Spring skiing capital of the USA’ to boot, will also be open through to July 4th.

 

Stubai, Tirol, Austria

As in Autumn, Austria has more glacier ski areas open to choose from in late spring than any other country in the northern hemisphere.  The Stubai unveiled its €50m new access lifts last autumn and these will see their first spring skiing season this year for faster and more comfortable access to the glacier for snowsports than in any previous spring.

 

Whistler, BC, Canada

OK, Whistler Blackcomb doesn’t QUITE make it right through Spring, but if you can just avoid one token closed week between the main season ending and the ‘summer’ (well, late spring-early summer) season starting, you’ll be fine.  Whistler Mountain closes on April 23rd this year but Blackcomb is open through to May 22nd.  It’s not unusual for that date to be extended by a week to the very end of May as was the case last year, and this year is another snowy one (as we enter spring all 200 runs are open and there’s a 3.3m/11 foot base)   Summer skiing and boarding (suited to intermediate and advanced) is scheduled to run from June 9th to July 16th this year.

 

Folgefonn, Norway

Norway has three glacier ski areas that tend to open from May or June through to late summer opr early Autumn.  Folgefonn (or ‘Fonna’ as it is known to its friends) is open from the start of may but says it expects to open for Easyer weekend too to enjoy all the snow.  By mid-March there was 4m accumulated through the winter and ready to ski and board but another 2m+ was expected before the end of March.

 

Zermatt, Switzerland

Famously tries to be open 365 days a year (366 in leap years), but in reality is closed a few days each year due to strong winds on the glacier or other inclement weather.  Despite forecasters repeatedly predicting massive snowfalls in Zermatt all winter, these have failed to materialise in any great volume but glacier snow depths remain good and it’s looking healthy for this spring.  Europe’s highest ski lifts on the glacier up to 3899m are open in summer only.

 

Timberline, Oregon, USA

The closest resort North America has to a year round ski centre, the Palmer snow field and terrain park is open on Mt Hood in Oregon almost year round, bar a month around September when it has a maintenance close down.  Some ‘drought’ years recently the area has had to close earlier in the year than it would have liked but 2017 is looking good with 12 metres of snowfall so far this winter and a base of around 7m on the snowfield according a recent SnowSat measurement.

 

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