Sun and Snow in the Rockies
With 28 world-class resorts, Colorado is arguably the epicenter of North American ski culture. And spring is quite possibly the best time of year to ski these majestic mountains. The high elevation often brings “blue bird” conditions in the months of March and April. Complete with sunny, blue skies that make spring skiing so enjoyable – it’s a unique treat that Coloradans cherish. The best part? You typically don’t have to sacrifice excellent snow conditions to enjoy the milder weather. March and April are often the heaviest months for Colorado snowfall, so you’re equally likely to be cruising through fresh powder as you are to be getting a suntan. Now how’s that for a two-for-one?
Skiing in Colorado in March can be confusing to out-of-towners. Colorado actually sees its highest monthly snowfall in March -- around 9-10 inches on average in the high country. However, these dumps of snow are typically followed by warm, spring-like days, when you'll see people skiing in shorts and t-shirts. The combination of heavy snowstorms and bluebird days creates a great apre-ski scene, so you're likely to see some kind of event or party going on during the weekends and Spring Break. As for snow quality, it can be mixed. You'll certainly see fresh powder days, but this can quickly turn into slushy, heavy snow. Still, the amazing temperatures and endless events tend to make up for snow quality.
Here's a quick breakdown of the average March highs and lows of a few resorts in Colorado.
The biggest thing to remember about skiing in Colorado in April is that anything can happen. You may see beautiful, packed powder one day, and slush the next. For many, April is a time for fun last runs of the season with friends, mixing other activities in thanks to the longer days, and resort-sponsored events. Concerts, parties, and festivals are common. If you're looking for a great spring skiing experience, head to any of the resorts for their final-day festivities. Below is a list of 2019 Colorado ski resort closing dates.
And here's a look at April's average highs and lows:
The 2019 closing dates for Colorado ski resorts are:
A-Basin: June 6 (This estimate is one of the latest in the state)
Breck: April 21
Vail: April 21
Telluride: April 7
Steamboat: April 14
Where to Ski in Colorado in March and April
The resort you choose comes down to a couple qualifications, including when you’re traveling, and who’s in your group.
Spring Skiing at Arapahoe Basin
Where to stay when skiing at A-Basin
- Arapahoe Basin, also known as “A-basin”, “A-Bay” or simply “The Basin”, is perhaps the favorite local spot.
- Arapahoe is a great spot for younger folks looking to let loose and get a true taste of Colorado life. But, we don’t recommend it for tourist groups looking for family activities or resort amenities.
- Tailgating and picnicking are a-ok. Bring your own grill and cook up some barbecue in the parking lot. Or contact the resort to reserve a spot on the “beach”and take your party slope-side.
- Dogs are welcome in the parking lot and beach, so feel free to bring along a furry friend.
- If DIY isn’t your style, grab a beverage from the bar at the base lodge and head out to the sun deck to watch skiers come down. And enjoy phenomenal views of the basin’s unique topography.
- If you’re driving up from Denver, take the Loveland Pass off I-70 to enjoy breathtaking views at the Continental Divide. Just be forewarned, it’s a doozy of a drive with no guard rails. If weather conditions are not ideal, you’ll want to take Highway 6 instead.
- Arapahoe Basin stays open much later into the Spring than other Colorado resorts. You can often ski here until June or even July, depending on snow conditions, thanks to its high elevation and primarily north-facing slopes.
While there isn't a resort at the base of the mountain, there's plenty of lodging options nearby. Check out our vacation rentals in Breckenridge, just a 30-minute drive from the lifts.
Spring Skiing at Breckenridge
Be on the lookout for these events in Breckenridge in March and April
- This is a large-scale resort, so you know it’s great for big groups of adults or families. Enjoy sprawling on-mountain patios with bars and food offerings outdoors. Soak up some sun and say hi to fellow skiers. For an even deeper dive into Breckenridge, check out our complete guide to the town, resort, and surrounding mountains.
- Breckenridge also boasts a vibrant downtown and nightlife scene for après-ski adventures.
- The ski area is projected to close on April 22, 2018. But, they have added an additional weekend in the past when snowfall is above average. Stay tuned.
- Check out the Spring Fever Concert series March 16 – April 21, 2019.
Helly Hansen Big Mountain Challenge
Youth Ski League Championships
Breck Spring Beer Festival
Breck Chili Cookoff
Breck Ascent Series Race #4
Closing Day & Breck Plunge
For lodging options, check out all our luxury Breckenridge vacation rentals here.
- Copper’s spring skiing scene is all about the party. You might want to leave the kids at home if you’re coming for closing weekend, though.
- Closing day at Copper is a spectacle. Check out the Sunsation festival on April 15, 2018 to celebrate the last day of ski season. This upbeat event includes a RedBull Slopesoakers competition, a freestyle showdown that incorporates floating rails to put a unique spin on pond skimming… plus free live music, a color run, cardboard box races and even a bikini contest.
Spring Skiing at Steamboat Springs
To see all our luxury vacation rentals in Steamboat Springs, click here.
- With a registered trademark on the term “Champagne Powder”, this resort’s main claim to fame is its distinct northern Colorado brand of snow.
- Steamboat is a bit off the beaten path, and locals like it that way. Head here to avoid the crowds at more mainstream resorts to the south on highway I-70.
- Lifts stay open later thanks to additional daylight in the spring. Some say the last chair on a bluebird day is almost as satisfying as the first chair on a powder day.
- Enjoy pond skimming, free concerts, and celebrations galore throughout the month of April.
- Stop by the Strawberry Park hot springs for a soak in natural, healing mineral water after long days of skiing.
- For a complete look at Steamboat and all there is to do there, check out our guide here.
- The mountain has a projected closing date of April 14 in 2019.
Spring Skiing at Telluride
- Telluride is the top spot for experienced riders. There’s a plethora of expert terrain, if that’s what you’re looking for. But there are plenty of beginner runs for less aggressive riders and children, too.
- Enjoy closing weekend with a classic pond skim and a wild west après-atmosphere. We recommend Gorrono Ranch, with its awe-inspiring views of the Wilson Range and a cabin bar with a wood stove that will take you back to the days when outlaw Butch Cassidy resided around these parts.
- Telluride’s ski season ends on the early side to accommodate for elk migration patterns. The resort will close its doors on April 7 in 2019.
- To plan your full Telluride itinerary, use our complete guide to Telluride here or look through all our luxury vacation rentals in Telluride here.
Need a place to stay? We have dozens of Vail and Beaver Creek vacation rentals. Look through them here.
- This area is perfect for a romantic or just plain classy getaway. It can be a bit on the pricier side, but go ahead and splurge. You deserve it.
- Vail is known for its iconic village, with its unique European feel and plentiful restaurant and nightlife options. Probably the most vibrant après-ski celebration scene in Colorado. We’ll let you be the judge.
- Vail boasts numerous lifts, gondolas, basins and famed “back bowls” that usually remain open until season’s end.
- Closing weekend is a big deal in the Vail Valley. Think A-list bands & DJ’s, pond skimming, and other distinctive events, culminating with Spring Back to Vail on closing day. They know how to say goodbye for the season right.
- In 2018, the resort will close on April 21. If you want to extend your stay, check out our complete guide to Vail here.
What You Should Know
A Few Pro Tips ~ For Spring Skiing in Colorado
- Wear layers. At high altitude, temps can rise and fall quickly, and you might be surprised how warm (or cold) you get during different times of day.
- Bring sunscreen. The sunlight is extremely powerful at this elevation as well, and may lead to serious sunburns if precautions are not taken.
- Take your time waking up and hit the slopes in late morning. The freeze-thaw cycle in springtime can often create harder snow or even icy conditions in the early a.m.
- Make friends at the mountain! Coloradans are typically friendly folk, especially on sunny spring days where the locally brewed craft beers & spirits are flowing.