Schneetag at Aspen Highlands' closing day party. Photo: Aspen Snowmass
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 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 14-16 celebrate spring in the mountains with free outdoor concerts, a luau and free virtual reality demo. On Vail Closing Day, Sunday, April 16, 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.
Where to stay: You'll be a stone's throw from all the pond-skimming festivities at the Manor Vail Lodge.
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 15, 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 DayFor a more traditional closing day experience that consists of costumes and dancing, Aspen Snowmass' Aspen Highlands Closing Day on April 9 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
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 16, features the Red Bull SlopeSoakers, a progressive pond skim contest and a free outdoor concert and the World's Largest Easter Egg Hunt!
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
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 NVO on Sunday, March 7, and the famous Gunbarrel 25, a leg-burning, 25-run mogul competition, on Saturday, April 8.
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
As the the largest ski area in the U.S.' season comes to close, 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 Village. On April 15, Sin City Soul, a New Orleans, R&B and modern blues band croon the crowds at Canyons, followed by Please Be Human, an indie/country/electronic band. On Sunday, April 16, Canyons Base Village also hosts the Breakfast Klub performance, which is sure to be very 80s and very fun, as well as The Changing Lanes Experience, dubbed one of the nation's "Hottest Party-Rock-Funk-Soul Show Band." Earlier in the day, on Sunday, Park City base hosts a base area and on-mountain Easter Egg Hunt featuring more than 3,000 eggs.
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 8–16, 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 22.
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.