You may have spent your entire winter holed up on a project car and forgotten that there's other stuff to do out there. But don't worry. Where skiing is concerned, sometimes it pays to lag. Deals and more pleasant weather conditions can sweeten your better-late-than-never experience. Here are some of the best places to go late season.
If you live on the East Coast, you might be tempted to go to Western Pennsylvania or the Catskills or whatever. Do yourself a favor and think bigger. If you have to stay in the east, at least treat yourself to New Hampshire or Maine. But you should really set your sights west. The mountains are taller and the snow lasts longer out there, and the climate isn't as humid, which typically means less ice.
Wherever you end up going, for the love of god make sure you check to see when they close for the season. It would suck to show up at the bottom of the lift Clark Griswold style, only to find out it's not running until the end of November. If you can, try to find some online lift ticket deals, too, as some resorts will offer them at the end of the season.
1. Colorado Front Range
Pros: It's close to Denver, which is cheap to fly in and out of from most places, and there are tons of resorts within a few hours drive of one another. A few of the more notable ones are Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Vail, Keystone, and Copper Mountain. You can get to some of these resorts by bus from Denver – a huge plus if you're trying to save money.
Cons: Traffic on I-70 can be horrible during the weekend. To make matters worse, the Front range can be a bit thin on snow by the end of the season. Make sure to check reliable snow reports before you go, and not through a resort's website. The resorts' job is to make things seem awesome even if they aren't.
2. Salt Lake City, Utah
Pros: Again, reasonable flights in and out and a host of resorts to choose from. Snowbird and Alta are right next to each other, and Park City is just around the corner, as mountain towns go. They're all epic, and have gotten a decent amount of snow this year. For people who don't like snowboarders, Alta is skier only. For those who want to ski in May, Snowbird has a tendency to stay open late in the season.
Cons: Utah has weird liquor laws, so do a little pre-trip sleuthing if you expect to partake in nightlife during your stay. It's also important to note that a thermal inversion layer in the valley Salt Lake City sits in has caused some of the worst air quality in the country there this winter. So keep that in mind if you want to spend any time in Utah's capital city.
3. Lake Tahoe, California
Pros: Lake Tahoe is rad, and you know it. There are ten ski resorts in the same town, and the nightlife is unparalleled. Don't like raging with a bunch of 20-something ski bums (and 30- to 50-something ski bums who still rage like they're 20-somethings)? Head down the mountain to Reno and get some chips at the blackjack table. With Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Heavenly, and seven others in the same place, you won't run out of things to do, and can gaze at the beautiful lake if you don't feel like skiing. But you will, and spring snow conditions are looking up.
Cons: Because of its relative proximity to Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area, Tahoe's slopes can get pretty busy during the weekend. But again, the nightlife doesn't suffer.
4. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Pros: When the snow melts down here in the U.S. of A., you can usually count on good ol' Canada to have a pretty fresh supply up there. They've already gotten something like 30 feet this year. With more than 5,000 vertical feet of drop, Whistler Mountain stays open until mid-April. Blackcomb is open into June, and I can't even tell you what that means as far as partying and nightlife goes.
Cons: Unless you live in Washington State, it might be a little pricier to get to Whistler. But seriously, it's only a couple of hours drive from Vancouver, so what are you waiting for?
Pros: Ok, so you absolutely, positively have to go East Coast, don't you. You couldn't just buck up and go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming or Telluride, Colorado, which are way radder. Fine, fine. Go to Maine. For East Coast skiing, it's pretty decent (as long as it isn't covered with ice). It must be good, because you always see some crazy Maine people competing in professional skiing and snowboarding events out West (although they usually move to Utah or Colorado to train). I hear tell that Sunday River and Saddleback are nice.
Cons: Maine is an odd place to fly in and out of. (And did I mention it's on the East Coast?) You could fly into Boston, but it takes hours to drive to the mountains from there. Plus, if you're not careful, you might run into that crazy mailman from Funny Farm.
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