For surfers, the film “The Endless Summer” is the ultimate dream. Chasing storms all around the world to find the perfect wave. For skiers & snowboarders, it’s the opportunity to have the “Endless Winter”. With the white stuff falling from the heavens from New Mexico all the way up into British Columbia, it’s time to start chasing. Here’s a list of the 10 best ski resorts to visit by month for the ULTIMATE ski season in North America.
In a normal season, you might want to plop yourself in the historic town of Georgetown giving you access to the kings of snowmaking – Loveland Resort & Arapahoe Basin. But for 2018-19, things are MUCH different. Wolf Creek, the snowiest resort in Colorado, has just gotten blessed with 30 inches of snow and has the MOST terrain open in the country. With more snow in the forecast, this is a great option for October. And, after a long day on the slopes, there’s nothing better than a good soak in one of the 23 terraced hot springs on the banks of the San Juan River in downtown Pagosa Springs, CO.
After a month of getting your legs back into shape in Colorado, it’s time to head to the Pacific Northwest. Mt. Baker is the snowiest resort in the world, and if the weather acts accordingly around November, the storms begin to get colder and starts dropping copious amounts of snow. Once they get the mandatory 36 inch base, Mt. Baker can typically open almost all their terrain by opening day. Personally, we’ve been here on opening days in mid-November, and they’ve been better than most mid-season storms at other major resorts. Of course, this is weather dependent.
If Grand Targhee went to your high school, it would’ve been given the moniker of “Mr. Reliable”. While it’s more famous big brother on the other side of the Tetons gets all the attention, this hamlet provides some of the best uncrowded powder skiing anywhere. In fact, they’re the ONLY resort in North America with a perfect record of full operation at every Christmas since records have been kept.
The holiday crowds have begun to appear. During this part of the season, it’s less about the snow and more about getting away from the masses. To do this, it’s time to head north into Canada and hit the infamous Powder Highway. Home to seven resorts that are easily drivable with geographically different storm paths, you can just follow the snow. And if the budget allows, this area has the highest concentration of cat-skiing/heli-skiing operations in the world. A month is the perfect time frame just to get a taste of what this place has to offer.
Little Cottonwood Canyon
Steep & Deep is the name of the game in the Little Cottonwood Canyon. Snowbird, with over 3,000 vertical feet of uninterrupted fall line skiing covered annually in 500 inches of legendary Wasatch snow, is everyone’s dream of skiing. Indeed, you may never want to ski anywhere else again. And for those purists, you can head a bit further up the canyon to Alta. Here you’ll find a ski experience that is still like it was before corporate America touched the sport.
March in Tahoe has been appropriately nicknamed Miracle March for a reason. Even in the worst winters, it seems like the storm track points directly at Lake Tahoe in March. This is when all the other parts of the country look at the snow report with envy as resorts around the lake report multiple FEET of snow overnight compared to their measly couple of inches. Just as quickly as the snow falls, the clouds break revealing the famous deep blue sky.
While other destinations focus on luxury, it’s always been about the skiing here. Affectionately called “the Legend,” it’s one of Colorado’s oldest and arguably purist ski resorts left in the state. And the best time to visit this resort is April. Traditionally one of the snowiest months of the season, being situated at 10,780 feet means that the snow quality stays great throughout the entire month. Definitely one of the best late season destinations in North America.
Ski Big 3 (Lake Louise / Sunshine Village)
Heading up to Lake Louise mid-winter might seem like a good idea but it can be downright freezing even for the hardiest folk. Luckily by May, the chill in the air has gone away and been replaced with plentiful warm sunshine. Don’t worry… mid-winter powder conditions prevail because of its northern latitude and there’s tons of fun to be had in Banff just a few miles down the road.
What can else be said about Mammoth besides it being the “king” of epic late season skiing. Due to its location and high base elevation, even on the warmest of days it typically gets down below freezing at night. This ensures that the best conditions are possible. Plus, Mammoth’s dedication to grooming make it the best candidate to hit in June.
July / August
As summer rages on, winter has lost the annual fight across the country and the snow has receded in most places deep into the alpine. Luckily, there’s one last bastion of hope for snow sliders – Timberline. The infamous Palmer snowfield offers the only year-round lift-served skiing in North America. This mecca for snow addicts offers summer camps for both teenagers AND adults alike.