Tag Archives: spring skiing

A-Basin Extends 2013-14 Season

Colorado’s longest ski season getting longer than planned.

A-Basin-logoArapahoe Basin is extending it season and offering top-to-bottom skiing. Nicknamed “The Legend,” the area on the west side of the Continental Divide is operating on three bonus weekends in June (June 6-8, June 13-15 and June 20-22, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays ONLY).


Arapahoe Basin ushered in the 2013-14 Colorado ski and ride season on October 13 and originally planned to close on June 1. But with 440 inches of snow, including 47 inches in May, there was no reason to stick to the scheduled closing date. This May, A-Basin had 15 days with measurable snowfall accumulations, totaling 47 inches of snow for the month.


During the bonus season (which the area refers to as Summer Season, though it doesn’t feel summery right now), the Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Mountain lifts run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. All 2013-14 A-Basin season passes, the A-Basin Spring ’14 Pass and all Vail Resorts season passes good at A-Basin will be valid with no additional charge during the bonus weekends. Also, special two- and three-day tickets are available for  the bonus weekends only. Purchase online or at the mountain. Two-day tickets are $72 for adults (ages 15+) and $50 for children (ages 6-14). Three-day tickets are $99 for adults (ages 15+) and $60 for children (ages 6-14). Guests can stay up-to-date on terrain, ticket pricing and skier services at A-Basin’s Summer Ski page.


A-Basin might even push the ski season to July 4, as it did 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997 and as recently as 2011.

Ski Free at Grand Targhee This Spring

Powder pocket in the Tetons offers season-end bargain.

GrandTarghee-logo,jpgThere are few ski resorts in the country that have better and more abundant snow than Grand Targhee, which has been graced with 400+ inches so far this season (including 4 inches last night) and is measuring its snowpack at 130+ inches — that’s more than 10 feet. Combine a small resort village and a remote location (it’s in Wyoming, but you get there from Idaho) and you don’t get crowds — not ever. Great deals abound across the snowbelt at the end of the season, but very few match and none exceeds Grand Targhee, which is operating through Easter, April 20.

This small resort village on the west slope of the massive Teton Range has rolled out an unbeatable lodging package that includes free skiing with at least four nights of lodging. Grand Targhee’s  headliner package includes four nights lodging and four days of lift tickets starting at $82 per person per night based on double occupancy in Targhee Lodge.

A tiny resort directly at the base of the lifts means you can almost roll out of bed and hit the slopes -- for free with 4 nights of lodging in spring.
A tiny resort directly at the base of the lifts means you can almost roll out of bed and hit the slopes — for free with 4 nights of lodging in spring.

Also, since children to age 12 stay, ski free anyway when staying at Grand Targhee Resort, this can be the cheapest family snow vacation imaginable. One child skis/stays free per paying parent. Also, kids eat free off the kids menu at the Branding Iron Grill with the purchase of one adult entrée from the dinner menu from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. (offer  for lodging guests only).

Silky groomed trails as well as untracked powder make for sweet skiing -- and the views of the Grand Teton and nearby peaks add to the joy.
Silky groomed trails as well as untracked powder make for sweet skiing — and the views of the Grand Teton and nearby peaks add to the joy.

Use those savings to splurge on a Snowcat Adventure on Peaked Mountain, which is adjacent to the lift-served terrain. Just two groups if no more than a dozen skiers and riders eacg play in a huge powder reserve of more than 600 acres, where 14,000 to 20,000 vertical feet per day await. Targhee’s professional guides lead small groups through expansive bowls, gladed cruisers and steep tree pitches. The bonus is breathtaking views of the Tetons — unless it’s snowing again. This outstanding sidecountry experience is $349  per day (including lunch and snacks), $249 for a morning half-day or $199 for an afternoon half-day (both including snacks). I’ve done this a couple of times, and a half-day was plenty.

Idaho Falls and Jackson are the two closest airports. Shuttle service is available. FoMoInfo or to make reservations. 800-TARGHEE.

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?