White Beaches, Spring Skiing and Snowboarding Destinations
Bikini tops, kegerators, and over-applied sunscreen aren’t just the province of sand and surfby Josh Rhea
As much as I love it, winter makes me uptight. Your body shivers to stay warm; you hunch against biting winds; your entire being braces against the harshness of the season. I noticed it this week, because after months of darkness and cold, my body relaxed. The sun warmed my skin, and blue skies embraced my soul. The mountains did the same, letting out a sigh marked by trickling melt water and the tumble of ice-freed rock.
With this change comes the best season of the year to be a skier—deep
snowpacks, mild temperatures, and sunny skies are in abundance. As such, it’s
hard to go wrong choosing a spring ski and snowboard destination. There are
a few spots in the country, however, that take the words ‘spring break’
to another level. Whether you’re on the hunt for corn snow, raging keggers,
powder, or simply goggle tan lines to take back to school, our intrepid gear
hounds have the beta on your ultimate spring destination.
The Canyons, Utah
The Canyons' incredible backcountry from the top of Saddleback.
March is Utah’s snowiest month. With almost every resort in the Wasatch already reporting over a 100” base, it’s an epic year to visit. The Canyons has three major things going for it this spring: free skiing (with lodging), a raging concert series, and some of the best backcountry access in the nation. It’s a no-brainer: tour in the morning and ride sheltered backcountry powder, rip a few corn runs around noon, then relax for an afternoon of music and parties. For free.
Stay and Ski Free at the Sundial Lodge and Grand Summit
180 Energy Drink Spring Concert Series (Free with lift ticket)
Best Corn Snow
Mammoth Mountain, California
Nestled in a remote corner of the central Sierra, Mammoth is home to the best corn skiing on the planet. Its enormous acreage is surpassed only by the quality of its skiing; arcing huge, controllable corn turns down the sustained steeps of the ‘Noids, Phillipes, and the Avie Chutes is an experience not to be missed. It’s also home to one of the best terrain parks on the planet—evidenced by the high number of pro skiers and snowboarders who call Mammoth home. And there is no better season to ride the park than spring—time for cotton hoodies, music pumping from the park’s sound system, and soft, slushy landings.
Best Ski Resort Party
Whistler/Blackcomb TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival
The World Skiing Invitational venue and Whistler village.
In the most famous ski party town on the continent, the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival is the biggest, longest, and most outrageous party of the year. Now in its 9th year, the WSSF showcases a mind-boggling array of music, art, and sports. Highlights include the World Skiing Invitational featuring Whistler's self-proclaimed ‘party of the year', the Salomon Big Air, the Ripzone Snowboard Invitational Superpipe & nighttime Big Air, the Kokanee Freeride featuring DJs and bands in clubs every night, the Panasonic Pro Photographer Search & Showdown highlighting the work of legendary action lifestyle photographers, and the one-of-a-kind Filmmaker Showdown.
TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival
April 16-25, 2004
Best Everything Ski Resort
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Arapahoe Basin's famed East Wall.
A-Basin, as locals know it, is the very embodiment of spring skiing. ‘The Beach’ is world famous; whether you know its name or not, you’re sure to have seen the antics that go on each March and April on countless Warren Miller ski films and sports blooper highlight reels. Each spring, droves of RV’s, grills, boomboxes, couches, and kegs appear on the strip of parking lot fronting the base of the area’s ski runs—from Pallavicini to Exhibition. Some of Colorado’s steepest runs are found here, and the nonstop party at the base area is only interrupted by the season’s generous Colorado snowstorms.
Closing date: July