Pack the Skis and Sunscreen — Ski Resorts Reopening for Memorial Day Weekend
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Memorial Day is generally recognized as the unofficial start of summer, when, for most people, tan lines have replaced lift lines and lawn mowers have usurped snowblowers. It’s no secret, however, that it has been a good year for the ski mountains, especially the ones out west. Conditions on the slopes are still so good that not only are some mountains still open for spring (er, summer?) skiing, but after initially closing for the season in April, both Aspen and Crystal are reopening just in time for Memorial Day.
All told, at least a dozen North American ski areas are scheduled to have snowy slopes available for spring schussing and shredding this Memorial Day weekend. This higher-than-normal number of late season skiing options can be attributed to above average snow accumulations this winter with very recent spring storms adding to the total. Just take a look at this May 21 photo from Breckenridge that looks much more like January than late May:
— Breckenridge Resort (@breckenridgemtn) May 21, 2019
Aspen will have 130 acres open of blue and black runs that are served by the Ajax Express lift. Lift tickets will cost $27 for pass holders and $54 for all others. This may be a great time to try out normally extremely expensive Aspen hotels, such as the St. Regis Aspen or Hyatt Residence Club, at a lower than normal cash rate.
Breckenridge claims it will offer up to 1,000 acres for its Spring Finale weekend. Peak 7 will be the base of operations, with upper terrain on Peaks 6 and 8 also available as conditions allow. No beginner slopes will be accessible. Advance online single day ticket prices are $99 or you can get a bit more use from your 2018 – 2019 Epic Pass. Breckenridge reports a 61 inch base with more snow expected this week. (Breckenridge has announced plans for the future that include being the first resort to open in October with the season running through Memorial Day.) The DoubleTree by Breckenridge, at the base of Peak 9, has Memorial Day weekend award rates ranging from 36,000 – 77,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
Update: Breckenridge has extended its season into June because of recent snowfall. Lifts will operate on June 1-2 and June 8-9.
Arapahoe Basin has a long history of ski seasons running into June and this year is no exception, with June 9 currently listed as the expected closing date. Spring conditions are in play with 8 of 9 lifts running and 92 of 145 runs utilized. Arapahoe Basin has received 5 inches of new snow in the past 72 hours and reports light snow is falling. Lift tickets start at $58.
Crystal Mountain is the largest ski mountain in Washington State and it is turning the lifts back on for Memorial Day weekend from May 24 – 27. The available terrain is suitable for those who are intermediate to advanced skiers. Those with a 18-19 or 19-20 Ikon Pass can use it to ski one more weekend for no extra charge. Otherwise, tickets are $50.
Mammoth Mountain in eastern California is known for summer skiing. Mammoth is advertising that downhillers and boarders can expect the mountain to be open at least into July. Memorial Day tickets start at $103 online. Active/retired military personnel and their immediate families can secure free lift tickets on Memorial Day by showing proper identification. Ikon Pass members (from this year or next year) can also enjoy spring skiing here at no additional fee by showing their pass. The snow base varies from 90 to 155 inches on the 72 open trails that are being served by 6 operating lifts. Mountain access is only available from the Main Lodge. A recent storm dropped 6-7 inches with more snow in the forecast later this week. The Westin Mammoth has award rooms available for 50,000 Marriott points per night.
Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe in California is not only open this coming holiday weekend but is also hosting a Freedom Fest on July 4, 5 and 6. The area received almost 2 feet of new snow this past week and is sporting a 154-inch base. Tickets for Memorial Day begin at $99, but like at Mammoth, Ikon Pass members can enjoy included spring skiing at Squaw. There are 10 open lifts and 83 runs still serving the resort’s guests. If you aren’t a pass holder and can wait to ski until June, Squaw Valley has $5 lift tickets on Fridays that month. The $5 lift tickets must be purchased online or through the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows app at least 48 hours in advance.
Heavenly, another Lake Tahoe ski resort, has also added almost a month to its normal season and is open though Monday, May 27. The runs available are only served by the gondola and no beginner runs are open. Heavenly has a 46-inch base with 10 fresh inches added last week. Snow is a possibility for this final weekend and a $99 lift ticket will secure your spot on the mountain.
Mt. Bachelor in Oregon is hosting its Finale Weekend this Saturday and Sunday but will not be open on Memorial Day itself. Two or three lifts will be running from 8:30am to 1:30pm both days with no beginner runs available. There is a 53-inch base with additional snow likely. Online ticket purchase is $82.
Timberline on Mt Hood in Oregon claims to not only be open over Memorial Day but also to be the only ski resort open all 12 months of the year. Only the Magic Mile and Palmer lifts are still carrying passengers from the lodge area. A 90-inch base and $73 ticket await spring skiers, with light snow in the forecast.
Snowbird, Utah, and its impressive 688 inches of snow this year (so far) is anticipating operating through June 16. Snow depth is at 116 inches with 3 inches of new snow and snow showers likely. Only blue and black runs are available from the four lifts still in use. Tickets start at $69 online.
Whistler/Blackcomb, in British Columbia, Canada offers late-season enthusiasts six open lifts and 57 trails. Spring conditions exist on the 54-inch base. Hours of operation are 10am – 4pm and lift tickets are $65, or you can use your Epic Pass. Delta Hotels Whistler Village and the Westin Whistler have rooms available for Memorial Day weekend from $150 CAD per night.
Killington, Vermont, remains the Northeast’s best hope for a few final runs. The Superstar Quad lift can get skiers up to the three remaining advanced terrain runs where the “snow is holding up.” A lift ticket is $70 and the Superstar will be running from 8am to 4pm.
Note: Most ski areas are advising that conditions can change and that the number of open lifts and runs can be affected by changing weather.
It’s not unusual for a few well-located mountain resorts to have operations into Memorial Day weekend, but the number of resorts, and the better than normal snow conditions are noteworthy. If your energy level is high — and your interests are varied — this Memorial Day, it will be possible to ski, bike and golf all on the same day.
Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy
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