A powder fix, at resorts all over the U.S., can come into the new year as far as May and June. The trick is that you have to know where to go for the best late-season action.
Skiing late-season—after mid-February—is the best in the highest altitude and furthest north you can find or get to. With late-season skiing you can expect fewer lines and deeper discounts in addition to more accessible beginner’s slopes, couloirs, ravines and other barely-touched snow all over the resort.
Mammoth Mountain, California
Often open until July 4th, Mammoth Mountain Lodge is typically the best spot to stay at this world-renowed skiing destination; you'll have breakfast with top free ride competitors and ski racers training late in the year. Events such as the 11,053’ Ezakimak Challenge—where skiiers, bikers and runners race up the mountain, rather than racing down it—and pink moon events celebrate the late-season, laid-back vibe on the slopes.
Alpine Meadows, California
This is Tahoe's king of spring, with 360 degrees of sun exposure. Stay at River Ranch, located at the start of the Alpine Meadows access road right on the Truckee River, or earlier in the season at Sunnyside on Lake Tahoe, with shuttles running up to the resort's backside lifts in Ward Canyon.
At Snowbird, the steep north-facing slopes protect snow quality late into the season. Racing the tram from top to bottom is a Snowbird spring tradition. Stay at Cliff Lodge: For the 2015-16 ski season, the lodge debuted a $35 million capital rennovation to the 350 rooms. Just more than 30 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport, Cliff Lodge is easily accessible.
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Arapahoe Basin is usually one of the last resorts to close in Colorado. High elevation and a few steeper slopes hold snow better than the wide-open, gentle slopes of most Colorado resorts. Stay in nearby Breckenridge Ski Resort—you'll have your choice of condo, hotel, bed and breakfast or other accomodations.
Stay in the W.P.A.-built Timberline Lodge—where "The Shining" with Jack Nicholson was filmed—is one of the world's classic spring ski experiences. Lifts carry you up from the magnificent lodge to the glacier under Mt. Hood, with year around skiing and athlete training. In a big winter you can ski all the way down from the glacier to Timberline Lodge well into spring which is 3,690 vertical feet!
Sunday River Ski Resort, Maine
The Sunday River Ski Resort is one of the top East Coast skiing destinations with 135 trails running over eight mountain peaks. Lifts carry skiiers up to any one of the peaks with an average of a half dozen trails down from each peak. Stay at the lodge but explore Bethel, Maine, a nearby historic village—the resort offers a shuttle to the area. The resort also hosts several pro and amateur events each season.
Telluride Ski Resort is legendary in the outdoors enthusiast world. With an expanse of wilderness that offers options like off-trail heli-skiing, cat skiing and alpine snowshoeing. Climb into a gondola in Telluride and take a 13-minute ride—with a 360-degree view of the mountains—that ascends over 1,700 feet before stoping at Station St. Sophia. From there you can eat, ski or drink the day away.
Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
Mt. Bachelor is known for dry and light snow with optimal skiing conditions. Ski as much of the 3,683 acres as you can. When you get tired, opt for snowtubing or dog sledding. The whole resort is nestled into Deschutes National Forest, so expect pristine wilderness experiences.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley offers more than 2,000 acres of skiing in addition to a resort-experience including luxurious dining and spa options. Ride the 65 runs on either side of Baldy and you might catch sight of Olympians and other pro skiiers in training.
Red Lodge Mountain, Montana
As a destination with a reputation for good late-season conditions, Red Lodge Mountain doesn't disappoint. Less than an hour from Yellowstone National Park on the Beartooth Highway, this rustic skiing destination is equal parts charming and inviting with over. Spend time on the shop-lined Main Street, ducking into cozy restaurants and stores. Head up the mountain for short lift lines and wide-open trails. Red Lodge Mountain Resort is the closest place to stay for daily powder excursions. Might we suggest ducking into town for microbrew at the Red Lodges Ale?