Get it While You Can: The Ultimate Ikon Pass Spring Skiing Road Trip

Get it While You Can: The Ultimate Ikon Pass Spring Skiing Road Trip

Featured Image: Ian Zinner, Courtesy of Arapahoe Basin

As springtime rolls around, it can be easy to feel a bit melancholy when reminiscing on the season that has been. The snow begins to dissolve into the dirt, leaving behind a mix of emotions that are hard to label. A happiness for the new spring, yet a longing for cold days and deep snow. But what’s that? Ski season isn’t ending? That’s right, baby! Here at FREESKIER, we’re out to change your post-winter depression into springtime excitement. Trade in cold hands and a runny nose for live music, sunshine and hot laps with your pals.

We’ve assembled a list of five resorts across the American West that are spinning lifts well into the spring and early summer so that you, dear reader, can grab every last turn, cliff, rail and chairlift ride around. Below is our comprehensive spring skiing road trip extravaganza destination list, which is sure to bring you a glorious season finale.

Starting on the West Coast and working our way inland, we’ll be diving into Mammoth Mountain, Big Sky Resort, Snowbird and Alta, and then winding our way over to Arapahoe Basin. One of these sound appealing? Click to jump to the section for your desired resort. These are a few of our favorite Ikon resorts that every spring skier must visit. Events, notable features from each mountain and closing dates can all be found below, so get reading!

Mammoth Mountain, California

Closing Day: Open through at least May 27

The old saying ain’t wrong: California knows how to party. Tupac might not have been referencing Mammoth Mountain, but the phrase still stands. Head to Mammoth anytime before Memorial Day weekend, and you’ll be in for an all-time excursion. Late-season storms have left the mountain with ample coverage. Their self-titled “second season” is just beginning. Canyon and Eagle Lodge will be open through April 21, with all Base Lodge action continuing for another four weeks and some change after that.

They have aprés events on tap like the public Yacht Club Party, deals on spring lodging and one of the greatest terrain parks in the world, Mammoth Unbound. Not to mention, FREESKIER will be heading out there from April 18-26 for an iconic week of skiing with Level1 during the 21st edition of SuperUnknown.

Big Sky Resort, Montana

Closing Day: April 28

Next on our spring road trip, we head to Montana. Big Sky country is home to expansive mountain ranges, Kevin Costner’s ranch drama and some of the best spring action in the country. Big Sky Resort’s legendary Lone Peak towers over an expansive 5,800 skiable acres, much of which will be skiing well for the coming weeks. The steeps of Headwaters and groomers on Ram Charger hold bountiful rewards, and the expansive terrain park beneath the main Swift Current chair is a work of art.

Tucked away in the north, this is a great option for those looking to stray from the usual spring shenanigans and find something new. The base square holds live music, including top-tier electronic music sets that will have you thinking you’re at a Las Vegas-caliber concert in no time. The resort is expanding every year, with the 2023/24 edition of the new Lone Peak Tram, new chairlifts and next winter’s makeover of the Madison 8 chair. Big Sky should be high on your bucket list of spring skiing adventures.

Snowbird, Utah

Closing Day: TBD – At least through Memorial Day weekend

From Montana, we turn south, heading to the land of deserts, mountains of good times and copious snow. Take a drive up Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon, and you’ll be at Snowbird in less than a half hour. It’s no secret that beneath Mount Superior lies some of the finest spring skiing around. Snowbird has had another incredible winter and announced that it will be open at least until Memorial Day weekend, May 27, and longer if conditions allow.

The freeride paradise is any skier’s dream. Snowbird Surf Season, as they call it, entails “A goggle tan so deep we can still see it next November… riding big terrain, harvesting corn and getting a little loose all spring long with skiing & riding through Memorial Day.” If that isn’t heaven I just don’t know what is. Last year, we saw The Bird collaborate with their next-door neighbors, Woodward Park City, and build a Peace Park in Mineral Basin. Let us pray that another joint effort isn’t far off. Their spring event schedule is packed with talented acts, so be sure to stick around after the lifts slow down in the afternoon.

Alta Ski Area, Utah

Closing Day: April 21

Keep trucking up Little Cottonwood Canyon, and you’ll find Alta Ski Area, the next stop on our road trip. Alta is… Alta. It needs no introduction. Another year of 600″+ of snowfall has once again left the ski area in great shape for the spring. Hop on board Collins or Wildcat Chairlifts from the base, and you’ll be looking down onto Salt Lake City while skiing with your friends in the alpine sun.

Alta is a must-do for any skier. Having an Alta Bomb (an espresso shot in a glass of PBR) while basking in the sun on the deck is enough to make a crazy person sane again. Be sure to take a lap down High Boy at the end of the day for us! Heads up, you will need parking reservations for closing weekend. There is no parking in the lots before 7:30 a.m.

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Closing Day: TBD – Open as long as conditions provide

Leaving Utah, we head east for the final leg of our road trip. Off we go to the great state of Colorado, where perhaps the greatest high alpine skiing and spring turns await. Yes, we are heading to The Legend, Arapahoe Basin. With a summit elevation of 13,050 feet, The Basin holds snow long after others close. It’s as if skiing on the moon and Baywatch had a baby—pure awesomeness.

Taking spring laps on Pali chair is something we all dream of. The double seater, affectionately known as The Center of the Universe, brings joy to all who embark. Corn snow and steep pitches await the excited advanced skier. And while it stays open, the East Wall holds an unbeatable natural playground. But there’s something for everyone at A-Basin. Spring events mean live music, pride celebrations, great food and the best spot for a cold one after a hot day: the Sixth Alley Bar. Or head on over to The Beach at the front of the lower parking lot for some from-row grilling. Of course, there will be a few rails set up for late-season sliding and a free-for-all pond skim once the spectacular Lake Reveal decides to, you know, reveal itself. A-Basin is set to be open for as long as conditions allow.

Wherever your spring skiing travels might take you, we hope this FREESKIER road trip itinerary list comes in handy. Yes, it can be sad to say goodbye to winter, but that doesn’t mean that skiing has to end! Spring is a great time to reflect on the deep days while enjoying the sunshine and good times. So grab your Ikon Pass, hug a few turns, practice that back 2 off a rail you’ve been dialing, and be sure to dress accordingly—Hawaiian shirts, sunglasses, jeans and a Sony hand-cam are encouraged, to say the least. We’ll see you under the spring sun!

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