Where to go skiing in spring (or summer)

Kelly O'Mara

The days may be getting longer and the weather warmer, but the snow hasn’t melted yet and there’s still plenty of time left to hit the slopes. Spring (and even summer) skiing and snowboarding is known for being more casual than the winter season, with concerts and costume parties. Why wouldn’t you celebrate a warm, sunny day in a bikini – in the snow?

Here are eight places in the U.S. where ski season will still be in effect:

Timberline Lodge, Oregon

Timberline Lodge, on the south side of Mt. Hood an hour-and-a-half east of Portland, has the longest ski season in North America. The slopes are open daily through Labor Day, Sept. 2, and then close for maintenance for two weeks in September. Besides those two weeks, Timberline is open year round.

During summer, though, there is no beginner or novice terrain and hours run from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. After mid-summer, the primary skiing is available via the Palmer chairlift, which carries guests beyond 8,000 feet. Because several camps and clinics reserve lanes in the summer, skiing can be crowded and space is limited for the public. The Timberline Lodge itself is a national historic landmark and was used in “The Shining.”

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, California

The popular Mammoth resort, located on the edge of the Sierra Nevada range near Yosemite National Park, will stay open through Memorial Day on May 27 and possibly later if snow conditions allow. (Snow cover is currently between five and 15 feet, with another six inches falling this past week.) The ski area has 28 lifts running regularly but will operate only 11 of those lifts after April 21. The open lifts will continue to provide access to top-to-bottom terrain until closure. Around a five-hour drive from either Los Angeles or San Francisco, Mammoth is well known for its long season, challenging terrain parks and variety of snowboarding halfpipes.

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Colorado

The highest ski terrain in North America, Arapahoe’s summit tops out at over 13,000 feet. That means the ski area, just over an hour west of Denver, continues to get heavy snow through March and April. In fact, new terrain – including parts of the challenging East Wall – was opened as recently as March 30. The ski and snowboard area is scheduled to stay open through June 2 and will continue to operate its eight lifts as snow conditions allow. Arapahoe is also home to Colorado’s longest and steepest trail, Pallavicini.

Alyeska Resort, Alaska

Forty miles outside of Anchorage, Alyeska Resort is the biggest ski area in Alaska and sits near three national parks and Kenai Peninsula. The 1,500 acres will remain open daily through April 28 and will close the season with a Spring Carnival and annual Slush Cup. The total snowfall at Aleyska this year has been an impressive 714 inches and the snowpack at the top of the mountain is currently one of the deepest in North America at 175 inches. The warm weather and longer daylight hours in Alaska, which also allow for longer skiing during the day, dictate the season.

Crystal Mountain, Washington

Spring skiing at Crystal Mountain, just under two hours south of Seattle in the northeast corner of Mt. Rainier National Park, means bikini ski competitions, theme days, costume contests, and a Cinco de Mayo party. Through April 21, daily operations will continue on most of the lifts. After April 21, Crystal will have three or four lifts open on weekends until June 16. A new gondola, built in 2010, allows skiers to access the summit as long as snow conditions permit. Crystal Mountain is home to 2,300 acres of lift-serviced ski area and an open boundary policy.

Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, Oregon

Mt. Bachelor, 20 miles west of Bend, offers a Springtacular pass that provides access to its lifts through May 26 and to the parties and events the resorts hosts throughout the spring season. Through April 21, six lifts will be open daily until 4 p.m. After April 21, three – possibly four through May 12 – lifts will run daily until 2 p.m.

A concert series plays each weekend in May and the finale features local brews, bands, and the pond skimming championships. Try to ski or snowboard all the way across an artificial pond without wiping out. Mt. Bachelor is also known for its terrain parks, jumps and rails, and for a number of other activities available during the winter, like snowshoeing, dog-sledding, and snow-tubing.

Snowbird Ski Resort, Utah

In 2011, when it had a record 776 inches of cumulative snow, Snowbird offered skiing and snowboarding through the 4th of July. This year, the ski resort will stay open daily through May 12 and on weekends (Friday-Sunday) after that as long as the snow allows. With over a foot of new snow falling in the last week and over 100 inches of base layer, the resort is expecting conditions to remain skiable for a while.

Just outside the suburbs of Salt Lake City, in the Wasatch National Forest, Snowbird shares the canyon with Alta Ski Area, which offers a joint day pass for full access to both resorts. Snowbird is also offering a $42 lift ticket through the spring and summer ski season to anyone who has a season pass to any other ski resort.

Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, California

The Tahoe Lake ski region hasn’t had tons of snow this year, but both Alpine and Squaw – sister ski resorts in the Tahoe area – have maintained consistent snow coverage thanks to cold weather and will be open through April. Jointly, the two resorts have over 6,000 acres accessible via 43 lifts. Squaw Valley Ski Resort, site of the 1960 Olympics, will be open daily through April. Alpine Meadows will be open daily through April 14 and then will be open on weekends (Friday-Sunday) into May, as conditions permit. Squaw also has a mountaintop pool and hot tub, making spring skiing a fun getaway in Northern California.