While winter gets all the glory, many avid snowbirds feel spring skiing is the best. In general, the weather is warmer, there’s more sun and the days are longer, something you can appreciate while heading down the slopes until mid- to late-April, when most mountains close.
In Colorado, March and April are touted as two of the snowiest months, so not only do you get the aforementioned benefits, but fresher tracks, too. Good weather this time of year also means traveling to mountain destinations gets easier, and these four places should be on the top of your list for the most winter-like spring break imaginable.
Spring in Aspen brings some of the best and least crowded skiing to this luxury town. At this point of the year, the lifts are running until 4 p.m., which means longer days on the slope than you would get in the dead of winter. Thanks to the wetter consistency of the snow, you can ride Buttermilk Mountain in the early hours until April 5 or join the Friday Morning Uphill Breakfast Club (through April 3) for a filling brunch at Cliffhouse, the restaurant on top. There are stunning views of Pyramid Peak and Maroon Creek Valley, too. And when you’re done taking it all in, just hop back on your skies and zip down the slope.
April 12 marks the closing of the Aspen Highlands, a bittersweet time full of all-day and night parties mixed with lots of skiing and snowboarding. While this is the official end of season, if there’s still a lot of snow after, bonus weekends will get tacked on. The nearby Snowmass ski area closes the following weekend.
Where to Stay
Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Little Nell mixes modern luxury with mountain-lodge chicness. Here, you’ll experience spotless service and indulge at Four-Star Element 47, a world-class restaurant with an expertly curated wine list.
Four-Star The St. Regis Aspen Resort also impresses. This alpine-style hotel, which features some of Forbes Travel Guide’s highest-rated rooms in the world, towers at the base of the mountain, so even if you’re not skiing, you can take in the stunning slopes. Plus, after a long day of watching (or riding) the snow, you can relax in the 15,000-square-foot Four-Star Rèmede Spa Aspen, which comes complete with an oxygen room.
This quaint town exudes a mountain-elegance-meets-rustic-calm charm. Spring just highlights these qualities. For starters, you don’t have to get up as early to catch the sun and fresh slopes. The lull in visitors means the lifts aren’t crowded, so there’s time to get a hearty breakfast beforehand or even sleep in.
Softer snow makes for easier skiing, something that can help newbies and children take to the slopes with more confidence. Just remember that while the slushier snow makes for nice skiing, it’s heavier so you may need to adjust your skis and snowboard with a nice coat of wax to help with smooth gliding. You may spot a wildflower or two starting to pop up, adding even more color to the trip.
Partake in end-of-season festivities when you visit Vail in the spring. On March 28, don hues of rose while you ski during the annual Pink Day, where all proceeds go to the Shaw Cancer Center. Taste of Vail (April 1-4) is a delicious event highlighting the area’s best food. And on April 9 through 12, go to the annual Spring Back to Vail for concerts, parties and more.
Where to Stay
True to the brand, Four-Star Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail has all you need to enjoy the town. Even if you spend most of your time nestled inside, you can lounge by the giant fireplace or soak in one of the many outdoor hot tubs. But, of course, you’re there to ski, the ski concierge and boot fitter will make sure that not only are your boots heated and skies ready to go, but that you have figured out the best plan to conquer the hills and be ready for all the ensuing fun.
Vail and Beaver Creek are separated by less than 10 miles. And though the two resorts prove similar, this smaller, more intimate spot is better for kids, especially once you consider the beginner-only trails and expert ski instructors. It’s a warm and comforting place to snowboard or ski, and longer days mean more time outside. But even if you want to simply soak in the sun with après-ski goodies on the patio of Talons, located at the base of Larkspur Bowl, or down the street at Buffalos at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, you can do that as well.
This year, there’s also Bloom, an extravaganza from March 7 to 28 that celebrates flowers, fresh flavors and families before the ski season closes here on April 12.
Where to Stay
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch is a Forbes Travel Guide Recommended property at the base of Bachelor Gulch mountain, and it’s a stunning place to rest your head after a busy day on the slopes. Each room has a great view of the surrounding mountains, large soaking tubs and a cozy fireplace. When you do step outside your room, venture to Wyld, the onsite restaurant that cooks up excellent local mountain fare with a fine-dining flair.
If you want to be closer to the ski-town action, the Four-Star Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa is right in the village. It delivers ski-in, ski-out service, nightly s’mores for guests, the superb 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill and rooms that are large enough for you to toss your gear down and not ever have to worry about it being in the way.
Though not as popular as some of Colorado’s other snowy destinations, this charming town has plenty to offer the intrepid snow bunny. One cool thing: book a session with an action photographer for some memorable shots among the slush bumps. The squishy stuff is not only fun to play in, but it also hurts a lot less to fall on. In addition, since you’ll be traveling between March and April, when most of the sunny days hit around 40 degrees, you won’t need tons of layers or breaks to warm up.
Another plus for spring visit: lifts stay open 30 minutes longer than usual. After your runs, head to Table 79 Foodbar for a hearty, healthy dinner. And if it’s a Saturday (through April 11), you also can go to the weekly Bud Light Rocks The Boat concert at the base of Steamboat Mountain.
Where to Stay
While Steamboat Springs is short on high-end accommodations, One Steamboat Place proves a smart choice (outside of a private house or chalet) because it features ski-in, ski-out service, the tasty Truffle Pig restaurant and plenty of Jacuzzis to jump into after you’re done downhilling. This spot only offers suites equipped with living rooms, kitchens and beautiful fireplaces.