What time of ski season brings warm days, long nights, live concerts and huge savings? That would be closing weekend, and as April approaches, so does the most party-worthy time of the season.
Photo: Aspen Snowmass
While each resort boasts its own special traditions (some we all know about, and some reserved for long-time locals), the basic foundation of closing weekend celebratory traditions is the same across the board. It’s a time for bonding over another successful ski season, telling tall tales of epic powder days and debaucherous après parties, and living it up on the slopes for the last couple days the lifts are spinning. Don’t live in a ski town? No problem: we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 resorts to ski this season’s end. Whether for the fun crowds or the huge discounts, here’s where you need to go for closing weekend 2017:
Leading up to closing weekend at Whistler is the famous World Ski and Snowboard Festival, which takes place April 7-16th. The festival features big mountain competitions, art and film showcases, and a free outdoor live concert series that showcases big acts throughout the 1- day event. On the tail end of the festival, Whistler mountain’s official closing day is set for April 23rd, while Blackcomb Mountain remains open through May 22nd. For the biggest party of the year, head to Whistler during the festival week, and for great skiing on empty slopes, drop in on closing weekend, which also boasts big après parties and the best lodging deals of the season.
Don’t Miss Whistler’s last-minute deals on lodging and lift tickets for your closing week getaway, and the Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival for the biggest spring bash in the Rockies.
When it comes to closing day, Park City covers all bases for friends and family alike: it’s one of the most easily accessible ski resorts in the Rockies, and ideal for one final weekend on the slopes before calling it quits for 2017. Besides live après music and the final shows of their annual spring concert series, Park City hosts a Kids Easter Egg Hunt on the morning of Sunday, April 16th and an all-ages Hunt that includes 3,000 eggs hidden all over the mountain. Known for its huge variety of retail shops, head to Main Street for huge savings on winter gear and clothing, as well as closing weekend happy hours and deals at some of the favorite restaurants.
Don’t Miss The last show of the Spring Concert Series at the Park City base area from 3-5pm before continuing après at favorite spots like the High West Distillery & Saloon.
Photo: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Sunday, April 9th marks the end of the Music Under the Tram free concert series at Jackson Hole, as well as the season’s closing day. What can you expect besides a brilliantly sunny afternoon with great local tunes, PBR tall boys, and plenty of neon retro outfits? Go to Jackson Hole for far less crowded slopes than you’ll find at more easily accessible resorts, as well as great off-season deals kicking off in local shops and restaurants. Explore some of the favorite glades like North Woods and The Hobacks for locals cooking up venison sausage on portable grills. If seeking some slopeside thrills, head to Thunder Bumps to throw tricks off kicker jumps constructed for just the day. There’s also a celebratory nude lap…or so we hear.
Don’t Miss Sneaky Pete & The Secret Weapons playing live under the Tram – party starts at 3pm and will last past sundown.
Closing Day at Big Sky is projected to be Sunday, April 16th. Coinciding with Easter, this is a great weekend to get away with the family and enjoy some of the area’s most famous events – including the annual Pond Skim. The Pond Skim traditionally takes place the day before closing day, and draws crowds of hundreds to watch hopeful locals and tourists alike successfully cross a body of cold, slushy water wearing only their skis (and fantastic costumes). The town of Big Sky itself has a comfortably secluded feel, so celebrations flow easily from the slopes to town and back again. Big Sky never closes for lack of snow, but rather permit deals with the National Forest, and the skiing itself is prime late in the season.
Don’t Miss The annual Pond Skim on Saturday, followed by a full day of corn snow turns on Sunday.
Breckenridge celebrates the last month of the season with its Spring Fever Festival, which is chock full of events celebrating skiing, food, craft beer, music, and more. Closing weekend is April 22nd-23rd, which means it won’t interfere with any Easter plans you may have booked with family. Head to the hill Saturday to watch the annual Imperial Challenge, a totally unique triathlon fit for spring biking and skiing. The Closing Day Celebration on Sunday features free live music at the base, smaller parties at lookout points across the resort, and some of the wildest costume-clad skiing in the West
Don’t Miss Huge savings on lodging deals for the final week of the season and the party at the base Sunday afternoon.
Photo: Vail Resorts
A favorite classic when it comes to spring skiing and celebration, Vail continues to reign as a top destination for fabulous closing week shenanigans. For starters, many of the Village shops and restaurants offer up to 50% off, and the weather itself calls for strolling around town in t-shirts much of the day. Most the terrain remains open and well-covered – head to Vail if great late-season conditions are your draw. The spring festival, Spring Back to Vail, takes place April 15th-16th, but closing day is April 23rd. Head to Vail over Easter for the World Pond Skimming Championships, free live concert featuring Magic!, Tikis and Tunes Luau, and more. Closing weekend will be slightly more mellow, with locals toasting to another great season at mid-mountain parties.
Don’t Miss The World Pond Skimming Championships on April 16th and half off deals at several shops and restaurants in Vail Village the following week.
You’ll find the biggest end-of-season parties in the East at Killington, where the annual Nor’Beaster festival features three weeks of concerts, competitions, free demos, and ski-bike-run triathlon. Closing day is still TBA based on weather, but with the late season snowfall in New England this year, the May Day Slalom, which marks the end of Nor’Beaster, is likely to take place as scheduled. Head to Killington the weekend of May 1st for the final fun race of the season, good old fashioned corn snow, parties featuring swag by local sponsors, and a proper ringing in of spring.
Don’t Miss the Nor’Beaster Killington Triathlon Saturday, April 29th: a leg-burning run down Superstar followed by mountain biking and trail running end with day-long parties and live music at the Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar.
Choose Aspen this year for a classic Colorado closing weekend. The party takes place at Aspen Highlands on April 9th, where you’ll fit in best after raiding thrift stores for retro ski outfits and costumes. Aspen locals are serious about their fun in the sun on closing weekend, which is why they designed the now famous Schneetag event. Translated from German as “snow day,” the main competition of the spring challenges teams of 4 to build their own crafts to carry them down the slopes and across an icy, slush-filled pond. Catch the best of Schneetag between your final runs on the slopes, then head to Cloud Nine Bistro for drinks and dancing until dark.
Don’t Miss Photo ops of the season at Schneetag, and be sure to dress to impress in neon retro gear.
Photo: Copper Mountain
Easter weekend at Copper brings their annual Sunsation festival, a non-stop, two-day celebration of season’s end with live music, the world’s largest Easter egg hunt, and Red Bull’s Slopesoakers. Thousands gather at Copper for their closing weekend bash: it’s a top pick for college students from the region, as well as friends looking for a fabulous final getaway of the season. Head to Copper for a 48-hour party scene that sends the 2016-2017 season out with a bang (as well as some pretty epic lodging deals!)
Don’t Miss the Red Bull Slopesoakers competition on April 15th: participants throw their best slopestyle tricks in a rail jam combined with traditional pond skim.
Projected closing date for Heavenly is April 30th, but that could easily be extended based on late season snowfall. We love Heavenly for closing weekend because it suits skiers of all kinds: outdoors enthusiasts can enjoy a last shred on the slopes before and evening kayak on the lake; party-goers can hit the casinos and dance clubs until the wee hours; families can find their fix with the tubing hill and Adventure Peak. The Unbuckle Après Party is at its finest come closing week, so be sure to squeeze it in between ski laps and nights out on the town.
Don’t Miss The Unbuckle Après Party, Heavenly’s signature event for drinks, dancing, and beats by fantastic DJ’s.