Spring is a bittersweet time of year for us skiers and snowboarders. As the days get longer we’re reminded that winter is coming to a close. In less than a month most North American ski resorts will stop the bullwheel from turning for the season. But don’t fret, there’s still plenty of time to get your turns in and there’s no better time of year to get your après-ski party on and save some coin.
Aside from waist-deep powder, there’s nothing like warm, slushy spring skiing. If you’ve ever experienced a classic après-ski session, then you can only imagine the sort of fun to be had on closing day, which is essentially an enormous, weekend-long après-ski party. Selected for their range of world-class activities, friendly competitions and concerts, here are our picks for the best resorts for closing day events:
The 2018 World Pond Skimming Championships at Spring Back to Vail
As one of the U.S.’s biggest and most popular ski resorts, you can bet Vail celebrates closing day in a big way. Spring Back to Vail is packed into two weekends of sun, snow and smiles. April 4-16 celebrate spring in the mountains with free outdoor concerts, a luau and free virtual reality demo. On Vail Closing Day, Sunday, April 15, don’t miss the highly attended and anticipated World Pond Skimming Championships at Golden Peak plus after-dark parties, base area giveaways and much more.
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Killington’s Nor’Beaster 2018
Renowned as the biggest spring après-ski party in the East, Killington’s Nor’Beaster includes concerts, competitions, sunshine, food, corn snow and pond skimming. On Saturday, April 14, pond skimming contestants sail across ice-cold water on their skis or snowboard and are judged on length of skim, costume, splash and crowd cheer.
Where to stay: You’re close to all the action at the Killington Grand Resort, one of the few accommodations at Killington offering mountainside convenience.
Aspen Highlands Closing Day 2018
For a more traditional closing day experience that consists of costumes and dancing, Aspen Snowmass‘ Aspen Highlands Closing Day on April 8 is where you want to be. Say so long to winter atop 12,392-foot Aspen Highland Bowl summit and then toast the close of another ski season at a champagne-fueled, table-top dance party at Cloud Nine Bistro. The day concludes with a lively live DJ set in the base area, which will have you dancing in your ski boots until dark.
Schneetag (pronounced Sch-knee Tog) is the German word for “snow day” and those who participate in Aspen Highlands’ annual Schneetag certainly are likely to experience the last chill of winter. Teams of four conceptualize and build human-powered crafts which will carry them down a slope and (hopefully) across the ice-melt pond located in the Aspen Highlands base are. The teams are not only judged on skim, but also on a costume, theme and choreographed skit. This year, the competition starts at 1:30 p.m.
Where to stay: At the Aspen Square Condominium you’re just a couple blocks away from the free skier shuttle to Aspen Highlands, and you can enjoy hotel-like amenities and services, including a relaxing hot tub, front desk and concierge.
Copper Mountain Sunsation 2018
If you’re looking to combine sun, fun and snow with some great live music Copper Mountain’s Sunsation closing festivities will fit the bill. This year Sunsation is spread out over two wild days. Sunday, April 14-15 features the Red Bull SlopeSoakers, a progressive pond skim contest and a free outdoor concert and the 3rd Annual Shred-A-Thon!
Where to stay: Situated near the American Eagle lift, the Covered Bridge Neighborhood accommodations are convenient to the slopes and all the closing-day events.
Heavenly’s Spring Loaded 2018
This year’s Spring Loaded brings together the best of Californian spring sunshine and Lake Tahoe snow. Festivities include Heavenly’s famed Unbuckle Apres Party at Tamarack Lodge, a popular new DJ Cat party, an on-mountain concert by Vokab Kompany at LAT38 on Saturday, March 31, and the famous Gunbarrel 25, a leg-burning, 25-run mogul competition, also on March 31. Pond Skimming will be held Saturday, April 7.
Where to stay: For spacious accommodations and convenience to the Heavenly Gondola, nothing compares to the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, the area’s largest all-suite property.
Park City Mountain Closing Day 2018
As the resort’s first season as the largest ski area in the U.S. comes to close so you can bet there will be plenty of parties, concerts and contests. Don’t miss the final days of the Spring Concert Series at Canyons Base Village. On, April 7, the 22nd annual Pond Skimming Competition will be held just outside the Red Pine Lodge at noon. A performance by The Brevet, an Americana band, and Grizfolk, an alternative rock band from Los Angeles with roots in Sweden, follow. On Sunday, April 8, both Park City Mountain Village and Canyons Village host live concerts. Catch the Metal Dogs, a fun hair metal band from Salt Lake, at Canyons at 1 p.m. Next, the Motherlode Canyon Band plays at Park City and The Breakfast Klub, an 80s tribute band and Pixie and the Partygrass Boys, a bluegrass band, close out the season at Park City.
Where to stay: For awesome access to the end-of-season celebrations at Canyons base village, Grand Summit is a top choice, and offers home-away-from-home accommodations, services and amenities.
Whistler Blackcomb World Ski & Snowboard Festival
End your season on a high note at Whistler Blackcomb’s World Ski and Snowboard Festival, a 10-day and night showcase of the latest in the skiing and snowboarding world. The event combines Canada’s largest free outdoor concert series with action sports and lifestyle fashion, photography and film, the best spring snow conditions and Whistler’s world-renowned nightlife. Not only is it a great time to ski Whistler Blackcomb, because of fewer crowds, but it’s also the perfect way to celebrate another ski season down. Held April 10–15, the World Ski & Snowboard Festival abuts the closing day of Whistler Mountain and the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Blackcomb Mountain is scheduled to stay open until May 21.
Where to stay: When it comes to a central location, nothing competes with Whistler Peak Lodge. The property is situated in the heart of Whistler Village’s lively shopping, dining and nightlife scene.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.