Tag Archives: late-season skiing

2010-11 Ski Season Winding Down Slo-o-o-wly

A handful of ski areas are still running their lifts

Most North American ski areas have rung down the curtain on the 2010-11 ski season — one of the best on record on many parts of the continent. In the US, a handful of areas are still operating, at least on weekends. Buy a season pass for next winter and use it for the remainder of this season at most of these areas. The late-season (and early-season) champ is Timberline, Oregon, on Mt. Hood, which lays claim to being the only ski area in North America that operates 12 months a year.

Timberline’s summer skiing terrain.

It is the only place where skiers and riders can get on lift-accessed snow throughout the entire summer, and many ski and snowboard coaches reserve lanes for their teams on the Palmer Snowfield, which provides amazing skiing and riding above treeline to the 8,540-foot level of Mt. Hood. Because or the camps, public-access terrain is limited — usually to one lane. It is recommended only for advanced intermediates and above. There really nothing quite like carving turns and catching air on a warm summer day.

Elsewhere in the state, Mt. Bachelor, Oregon, is running four of its 11 lifts and plans a spectacular SuperPark Pit Day tomorrow, May 14.Crystal Mountain, Washington, plans to remain open for skiing and riding on Saturdays and Sundays until the snow melts, which they they say “will most likely be July.”Snowbird, Utah, is still running four of its 13 lifts and ski 72 of its 83 runs. It garnered 711 inches of snow this season. They’re selling a $65 Endless Winter weekend package for lifts and lodging, at least through Memorial Day.

Mammoth Mountain, California, always a late-season leader still has eight of its 25 lifts running. Race  camps are scheduled through late May, and a big Memorial Day bash in splanned, Up in the Tahoe area,  Squaw Valley, California, is open weekends (Fridays through Mondays, except Monday, May 23) through Memorial Day. Kirkwood, California, is reopening for Memorial Day weekend and promoting heavily to this past season’s and next season’s pass holders.  Alpine Meadows, California, is operating its Summit Express lift this weekend (May 13-15) and reopening on the Fourth of July weekend with $25 lift tickets amd all sorts of slopeside fun. Click here to reserve a ticket.

Way up north, Alyeska Resort is scheduled to operate the Tram and Chair 6 for skiing and riding Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  May 13, 14 and 15; May 20, 21, 22 and May 27 and 28, 29 and 30. Lift hours are from 11:00 a.m.  to 5:00 p.m. Skiers and riders upload and download on the Tram and ski and ride off Chair 6. I was there in early March, when everything off-piste was choppy and frozen, and those were by and large the available lifts. The recovery enabling them to operate until Memorial Day is quite remarkable.

Closing day on June 8, 2008. The area could look even snowier this year. Photo courtesy of Arapahoe Basin

The big news for Colorado skiers and riders, or anyone passing through the state who wants the thrill of snow in June, is that Arapahoe Basin, which had previously announced June 5 end to its seven-days-a-week operation, is reopening for summer skiing for “at least” two three-day weekends – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays June 10, 11 and 12 and June 17, 18 and 19.The ski area reports over 420 inches of snow this season — 15 inches in the last week. This is the first time A-Basin is experimenting with being open on weekends only. It will open at 8:30 a.m. with two lifts serving top to bottom skiing. Black Mountain Express will close at 2:00 p.m. and Lenawee Mountain Lift will close at 2:30 p.m. Lift tickets at the A-Basin ticket window are $39 for adults, $29 for youths (ages 15-19) and $19 for children (ages 6-14).

Backcountry skiing is epic in the West this year as well, and several Canadian areas are still operating. Do you know any US mountains that I missed?