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Spring Skiing in the Rockies

SierraLuLu

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
Hello divas!

I’m looking for a good place to ski in mid April this year when Mr. Sierra and I have a 3-day weekend. Since California has been pretty dry of late, we’re looking into the Rockies where neither of us have ever been.

Our ideal resort would be:
- an Ikon pass destination
- likely to have decent skiing in mid April of this year
- easy/affordable flight options
- have a good mix of somewhat challenging runs and off-piste skiing
- we will rent a car if we have to, but would prefer not to because of the added cost. Furthermore we’d prefer not having to drive several hours from the airport, but this isn’t a dealbreaker.

At this point, Snowbird looks promising, but we’d love to hear suggestions & travel tips from the Diva community.
 
#2
ALTA.... I am an altaholic. (no snowboards at Alta) and Snowbird is right next door. You can ski across via Mineral Basin.

If you can, stay On the Mt. just take the Alta Shuttle at the airport- there is no town up at alta just great skiing you do not need a car.

I stay at Goldminers daughter, right across from the lifts. breakfast, afternoon snacks, dinner included in the rate. they have an elevator. Alta Lodge next door is older quaint, also includes food (no elevator)
Snowbird has lodges too.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#3
Well, I'm completely biased when it comes to a late season trip in April. I'll be at Alta Lodge with friends per usual. Of course, never know what the weather will bring. But in the last ten years there has always been at least one powder storm. Worst conditions I've experience in the spring at Alta happened the second week of March during my daughter's spring break. By the time I went back a few weeks later, it was mid-season snow conditions.

Hello divas!

I’m looking for a good place to ski in mid April this year when Mr. Sierra and I have a 3-day weekend. Since California has been pretty dry of late, we’re looking into the Rockies where neither of us have ever been.

Our ideal resort would be: ALTA
- an Ikon pass destination check!
- likely to have decent skiing in mid April of this year check!
- easy/affordable flight options check!
- have a good mix of somewhat challenging runs and off-piste skiing check!
- we will rent a car if we have to, but would prefer not to because of the added cost. Furthermore we’d prefer not having to drive several hours from the airport, but this isn’t a dealbreaker. Can stay at a lodge in Alta or take the UTA Ski Bus from Sandy/Midvale

At this point, Snowbird looks promising, but we’d love to hear suggestions & travel tips from the Diva community.
All the lodges at Alta have dorm rooms. Except for the Snowpine, the rate includes at least a good hot breakfast and a wonderful dinner. By mid-April, spring rates are in effect.

Note that it's possible to get cheap lodging at Snowbird and still ski Alta. Can get free transportation to Alta from Snowbird if don't have Ikon or Mineral Basin is closed due to high winds or low visibility. @alison wong stayed at Snowbird that her first trip and mostly skied at Alta. Although now she prefers to fly to Calgary and ski around Banff during late season.
 

SierraLuLu

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
@marzNC @nopoleskier oh great!! We were worried because Alta’s closing date is listed as 4/19 and Snowbird’s is listed as June something, but ideally we could visit both resorts since they’re so close to each other.
 
#7
Another vote for Banff. I did Banff (Lake Louise/Sunshine) in mid April and it was fantastic. You can't beat the scenery and it will be very uncrowded (not that anyt place is really crowded in April). Since the USD is strong against the CND you essentially get a discount on everything.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#8
@marzNC @nopoleskier oh great!! We were worried because Alta’s closing date is listed as 4/19 and Snowbird’s is listed as June something, but ideally we could visit both resorts since they’re so close to each other.
Alta's closing date is announced in the fall, and is an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service that can't be changed even if there is plenty of snow left in mid-April. Snowbird is on private land. They can stay open until July is they choose. However, by late April don't expect all the Snowbird lifts to be open. One spring break I tried to take my then tween daughter over to see the Peruvian Tunnel and it was already closed for the season.

Do you have Ikon? An Ikon pass is considered a "combo" pass for Alta/Snowbird. That means you can use it for both on the same day as it's only counted as one day. When Mineral Basin is open, skiing between the two is the way to go. Otherwise those staying in slopeside lodging can get a free shuttle van/bus ride or ride the UTA Ski Bus for free between the Alta and Snowbird bases.

Getting an airport shuttle to Snowbird or Alta is straightforward.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#9
Banff - 30% off basically. By mid-April the locals all want to go golfing, so they are not skiing. But mid April is also Easter weekend.
 

SierraLuLu

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
Alta's closing date is announced in the fall, and is an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service that can't be changed even if there is plenty of snow left in mid-April. Snowbird is on private land. They can stay open until July is they choose. However, by late April don't expect all the Snowbird lifts to be open.
Thank you! So this explains why 2 adjacent ski resorts have vastly different closing dates. And yes, hubby & I are Ikon pass holders.
 
#12
Thank you! So this explains why 2 adjacent ski resorts have vastly different closing dates. And yes, hubby & I are Ikon pass holders.
Although Alta and Snowbird share the same mountain, Mt. Baldy, they are very different in many ways. Snowbird is a "destination ski resort" in the same way that Squaw Valley (before adding Alpine Meadows was added) used to be. Everything on the mountain at Snowbird is owned and operated by the resort. Snowbird lodging is primarily owned and operated by the resort. Snowbird is privately owned by the same family that own Powdr Corp. (Killington, Mt. Bachelor, Woodward, etc.) In contrast, Alta is a collection of independent businesses that cooperate to provide what's needed for travelers. Alta Ski Lift Company owns the lifts, the ski school, Alta Ski Shop, Alf's and the a few buildings. The five ski in/out lodges in the town of Alta are all independently owned.

The most obvious contrast for the first time skier is that Alta lifts don't have any footrests. All the newer Snowbird chairlifts have footrests, and some even have trail maps. Plus there is the large Snowbird tram, the Peruvian Tunnel, and the huge Snowbird lodge at the top of the ridge.

It took a while before Alta and Snowbird worked out ways to benefit from having cross-over gate at the top of Sugarloaf (Alta lift) and Mt. Baldy (Snowbird lift). In the spring, people with a combo pass may ski Mineral Basin in the morning because it softens earlier and then ski Alta later. The front side of Snowbird can take a while to soften if there is hard freeze after a warm day in April.
 
#13
@alison wong stayed at Snowbird that her first trip and mostly skied at Alta. Although now she prefers to fly to Calgary and ski around Banff during late season.
Correct, my 1st visit to Alta was in early April and I got a cheap time share to stay at Snowbird. I took shuttle from airport to Snowbird. Used UTA ski bus to "commute" b/w Snowbird and Alta. I was a low intermediate then and was not good enough to ski the trails that connect b/w Snowbird and Alta, therefore, I opted to use the bus to Alta. Spent 2 half mornings at Snowbird, preferred Alta because it was skiers only and terrains felt more "tamed".

This will be my 1st time to ski in Banff in April. Prior 2 trips were in Feb and March. Timing of this years Banff trip is mainly due to work commitment.

I am looking forward to Banff because I can have comparison b/w Alta and Banff in spring skiing.

. Otherwise those staying in slopeside lodging can get a free shuttle van/bus ride or ride the UTA Ski Bus for free between the Alta and Snowbird bases.
Make sure you check bus schedule. Based on what i recall, UTA ski bus stops running before Alta/Snowbird's closing dates. If so, you will have to get a rental.

@SierraLuLu - based on your description of terrain preferences, if you do end up going to Banff before April 12, you might consider spend a day or so visit Castle mountain. It is a local's hill, very close to Banff. It is considered a hidden gem, under-rated mountain. Only has 4 slow chairs but serves incredible amount of terrains. Tamarack chair serves advanced/expert terrain. One volunteer mountain host at Sunshine village told me he prefers Castle, it's his favorite place to ski and he loves to ski terrains off the Tamarack chair.
Checked w/ Castle mountain, their planned closing date this season will be April 12. Closing date is early, because of lack of visitors not because of lack of snow.

For my April trip to Banff, I plan to ski one or two days there.

My vote will be Banff as well.
 

tjm235

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
One more vote for Banff, best place for spring skiing in N. America ... but its also where I live, so I may be a little biased. April can often ski like mid-winter, and we are having a great winter so far. Also just FYI, Castle isn’t exactly close to Banff... it’s about 3.5hr drive, so would probably want to stay in Pincher Creek overnight if you go that way.
 
#15
Also just FYI, Castle isn’t exactly close to Banff... it’s about 3.5hr drive, so would probably want to stay in Pincher Creek overnight if you go that way.
Thank you very much for pointing it out. I did not realize until now. I google mapped the wrong destination when I researched initially. I need to re-plan my route, I originally planned for a day trip or two to Castle. Now I am debating if I should be skiing my last 2 days (Friday and Sat.) there or 1 day will be sufficient? I am an intermediate, probably will only be ride the 2 beginner and intermediate chair.

Thanks again, better to find out now than when I get to Banff. I need to cancel my Friday night hotel reservation in Banff also.
 

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