Best Ski Resorts To Visit By Month In North America

Homewood Mountain Resort Snowboarder Powder Day Cheap Ski Resorts DEEP Powder Day - Appears courtesy: Homewood Mountain Resort

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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 ski movie premiere season kicking off, it means one thing. It’s almost time to start chasing and planning your upcoming ski trips. Instead of asking when is the best time to go skiing, here’s a list of the 10 best ski resorts to visit for each month, creating the ULTIMATE ski season in North America.

 

October

Arapahoe Basin / Keystone / Loveland

Opening Day In The US
Image appears courtesy: Arapahoe Basin

Every fall, the trifecta of the kings of west coast snowmaking – Loveland Resort, Keystone, & Arapahoe Basin, battle it out to see who opens first. Looking back to the 2019-20 season, it was an AMAZING start for ALL of these resorts of the Ma’ Natural kind. They got blessed with 40 inches of snow and had the MOST terrain open in the country. Even when the early storm train doesn’t arrive, this area is always a great option for October and early November due to their heavy investment in snowmaking.

Where To Stay

Depending on if you’re going to be hitting all three or just hitting one or two will help differentiate where you should basecamp. If you’re going to hit all three, we’d suggest finding some lodging in the town of Dillon. Here you’ll find a variety of places to stay from affordable spots like the Super 8 by Windham/Dillon to cute chalets such as the Manor House Hideaway. Located right on I-70, you’re twenty minutes or less from all three resorts. Now, if your trip is going to focus on Keystone/A-Basin, you should highly consider staying in Keystone. You’ll cut your travel time in half to both resorts.

November

Mt. Baker

Biggest snowstorms at Ski Resorts Chairlift Mt Baker Ski Area
Chairlift at the Mt. Baker Ski Area Image taken by: Carl Schmidt

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 start 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 mid-November, and we’ve seen conditions better than most mid-season storms at other major resorts. In fact, this might be the best time to go skiing at Mt. Baker. Of course, this is weather dependent.

 

Where To Stay

Although there are a few cabins along the way up to Mt. Baker from Bellingham, we personally like staying IN the town itself. If the snow levels aren’t cooperating, you can at least enjoy some of the unique things to see in the area such as the legendary Waterfront Tavern. This nondescript bar was where the Hillside Strangler, Ted Bundy, and the DC Sniper frequented when they lived in town.

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December

Grand Targhee

Gettin’ a pow shot at Grand Targhee – skier: Eric Anderson – Photo Courtesy: Grand Targhee Resort and the Idaho Ski Areas Association

If Grand Targhee went to your high school, it would’ve been given the moniker of “Most Reliable.” While its 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. And that’s why December is the best time to go skiing for Grand Targhee.

Where To Stay

Despite the map saying it’s only about an hour from the town of Jackson, skip it for this time of year. For starters, it takes A LOT of snow to fill in all those epic trails up at Jackson Hole. Second, to get to Grand Targhee from Jackson you need to drive over Teton Pass, and it’s no joke especially during a snowstorm. Instead, base yourself in one of the towns in Teton Valley like Victor or Driggs. You’ll be minutes from the slopes and find a variety of accommodations like the adorable cabins at the Teton Valley Resort or Teton Hostel HideAway.

January

Powder Highway

Best backcountry festival is Coldsmoke Powder Festival at Whitewater Ski Resort near Nelson British Columbia Canada
Image appears courtesy: Whitewater Resort

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 on the road is just enough time to get a taste of what this place has to offer.

 

February

Little Cottonwood Canyon

February is the best time to go skiing in the Wasatch
Image taken by: Otnavuskire

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. If you feel like that there isn’t enough terrain to explore, don’t worry. Just head over to the other side of the Wasatch and explore the Park City region. Here you’ll find the largest ski area in the US.

Where To Stay

Although Little Cottonwood Canyon’s road is just a little over seven miles long, the congestion on a powder day is beginning to rival the I-70 corridor in Colorado. Unless you want to show up mad at the world or leave earlier than a raccoon, spring past the nonsense and stay up in a place near Snowbird or Alta. It’s pricey but well worth it. When everyone else is sitting in their car screaming in vain, you get to experience the best time to go skiing in Utah – a powder day.

March

Lake Tahoe

A buried chairlift due to heavy Lake Tahoe showing March is the best time go skiing
Great example of Miracle March with a buried chairlift at Sierra at Tahoe ski resort.

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 other parts of the country look at the snow report with envy as resorts around Big Blue 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. After years of living in Lake Tahoe, this is the best time go skiing in Tahoe. It’s either snowing or amazing corn snow. Perfection.

Where To Stay

For those visiting Lake Tahoe for the first time, there is one thing you should do: pick a side. On a map this body of water may look small, but Lake Tahoe is the LARGEST alpine lake in North America. The coastline is approximately 72 miles in length and to get from one side of the lake to the other will take you AT LEAST an hour and most likely two or more. For a given trip, pick a side and focus on skiing all the resorts on that side of the lake. You’ll spend more time having fun and less stuck in traffic. We highlight some of our favorites in There’s No Place Like Ta-Home – 16 Of The Best Places To Stay In Lake Tahoe.

Note: If you do stay on the south shore, be aware that Emerald Bay can close for days or even weeks after a storm. To access North Lake Tahoe, you’ll need to take NV-28 on the east shore.

 

April

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin Colorado A-Basin best spring skiing goggles
Here’s Looking at You Kid Image taken by: Zach Dischner

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 the snow quality stays great throughout the entire month. Definitely one of the best late season destinations in North America. If you love sunshine and warm weather, this is definitely the best time to go skiing in North America.

May

Mt Bachelor

The road to Mt Bachelor is beautiful any time of year but in spring the contrasts of green and white are breathtaking. Winter clinging to life on top of Mt Bachelor.

This late in the North American ski season you would think you’re going to be riding one lift. You’re wrong! In fact, you could argue that May is the best time to go skiing at Mt Bachelor. You’ll find 3,100 vertical feet of skiing giving you access to more than 2,000 acres. And due to its geographic location and topography, it features some of the best corn snow on the planet. We’re not talking slush but true blue honest to goodness corn. Once you’re done harvesting it in the morning, you have a plethora of activities like mountain biking and kayaking to enjoy in the afternoon. Finish off your evening at a multitude of award-winning breweries and distilleries in the town of Bend.

Where To Stay

There is no lodging of any sort on the mountain. You have two main places you can stay which are both around twenty minutes away from the slopes. If you’re looking for a secluded quiet basecamp with access to hiking trails and golfing then we recommend staying in the resort hamlet of Sunriver in a place like the Sunriver Resort. For those wanting access to restaurants, breweries, and other fun activities, we suggest staying in Bend. We personally like the latter. Our hands down favorite place to stay is the Campfire Hotel. They took a drab old motel renovated it and made it fun and part of the local community. We delve deep into why we love it in our Bend Oregon In April – Spring, Winter, Or Sprinter? as well as give you a few tips on how to really enjoy Bend in all its glory. A few others we’ve liked or stayed at are the SpringHill Suites off of Industrial Way and McMenamins Old St. Francis School.

 

June

Mammoth Mountain

Snowboarding skiing corn snow in June at Mammoth Mountain California
Is it still spring skiing when it’s June? Jaime riding the salted runs of Mammoth Mountain in late June

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. Mid-winter may provide powder days, but to us this is the best time to go skiing at Mammoth. No crowds, barley pops, soft creamy snow, and a sick goggle tan. Plus, Mammoth’s dedication to grooming makes it the best candidate to hit in June.

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July / August

Timberline

Overview of Mt. Hood & Timberline Lodge – Image taken by: Severin Sadjina

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.

 

Of course, this is all “Pie in the sky” type of thinking, and you never know what the weather patterns will do for the upcoming season. But, it’s still fun to fantasize about buying a van and chasing the snow until the local resorts start spinning their lifts.

Looking For More Trip Ideas?

For more ideas on ski trip planning such as what gear to bring, how to find affordable lodging, and unheard of ski resorts that you can find fresh powder days or even weeks after a storm, click below:

Still frothing at the mouth? Don’t forget to read our Best Bets For Early Season In North America.

4 thoughts on “Best Ski Resorts To Visit By Month In North America

    1. Jeff,

      You’re absolutely right there are some years that it doesn’t but when it does look out! Out any mountain I’ve skied in November it’s by far the best snow on the planet for that month. Nobody comes close.

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