T.S. Eliot famously referred to April as the cruelest month, and though the old poet wasn’t much of an outdoorsman, skiers and snowboarders across the land can feel his pain.
For this is the month that generally signals the end of another season of riding and ripping. Of the more than 600 ski and snowboard resorts in North America, only 40 remain open as of this week. And by month’s end another 23, at the least, are expected to put up the “closed for the season” sign.
But that still leaves us with 17 resorts that are planning to spin their lifts into May, with another 10 — three of them in the snow-drenched Sierra alone — hanging on to a steady diet of sweet corn and mashed potatoes well into the latter days of the month and, in some cases, on the other side of the summer solstice.
So break out the SPF 50 sunblock and the silver wax and check out who’s staying open the longest.
A Memorial approach
Two Canadian resorts are expecting to last until May 22: Sunshine Village in Alberta, which currently has a 94-inch base and has received 303 inches of snow this season, and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia (144-inch base, 496 for the season).
There are four U.S. resorts hoping to extend the season until the Memorial Day Weekend: Snowbird in Utah (119-inch base, 513 for the season), Mt. Bachelor in Oregon (124 base, 538 for the season) and Killington in Vermont (30, 248) plan to cease winter operations on May 28, while Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe in Nevada (227, 760-plus) will shut down on May 29.
June . . . and beyond
Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, currently sporting a 58-inch base after receiving more than 350 inches this season, plans to pull the plug on June 4, while two California Sierra resorts — Squaw Valley, which has received more than 700 inches of snow and currently boasts a 258-inch base, and Mammoth Mountain (250-inch base from 602 inches for the season — will end the season on July 4.
And Timberline Lodge in Oregon, which currently has a 182-inch base from 561 season inches of snow and has lift access to the Palmer Glacier on Mt. Hood, will stop spinning its lifts on September 30, but only for two weeks of necessary lift maintenance. It plans to reopen by mid-October.