Normally around this time of year, even the most enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders have to start accepting that the season is rolling to a close. Sure, there are backcountry lines that come in as spring stabilizes the pack, and slush riding is one of my favorite times of the year, but it’s the signal that the end is drawing in and that soon enough, we’ll be putting a storage wax on our snowboards and hanging them up for the summer. But this year, things are looking a little different.
You won’t have missed the fact that the West Coast has been hit with some of the most severe winter storms in history that have wreaked havoc in places more accustomed to bluebird than blizzards. But with every cloud comes a silver lining, and without belittling the difficulties that communities faced with this unusual winter weather, the silver lining is, well, white rather than silver. Snow. Snow has fallen in quantities rarely — and in some places never — seen, and that means that some California ski resorts are looking to stay open all the way to July. That’s right, snowboarding in July.
Mammoth Mountain is currently sitting on its record base and has had the most snowfall to date. In total, a whopping 695 inches of snow has dumped itself at the base lodge this season, with even more at the top of the hill, and they’ve announced on their Instagram that they’re going to stay open all the way into July.
Likewise, Palisades Tahoe is planning to open the lifts at Alpine at the minimum every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday all the way through to the end of June and then daily from 1 – 4 July. That’s right, 4th of July skiing; is there a better way to celebrate than hitting the slopes?
Now, I’m not suggesting that this late-season skiing is going to be an absolute powder fest, with some reports suggesting that freshies are likely to end around the end of April. What I am saying is that skiing and snowboarding in California is still an option for months. This season isn’t ending any time soon. And these resorts aren’t going to be the only ones. Plenty of resorts out west have already signed up to extra weeks this year and will stay open as long as there is snow to shred.
If you’ve never experienced spring skiing, make 2023 your year. Let me tell you, until you’ve ripped slush in a set of snow pants and a baselayer tee, you’ve never experienced true late-season joy. And when the pack starts to get heavy and wet in the afternoon, you can hit the bar for some aprés beers in the sun and work on your goggle tan. It’s time for some last-minute holiday planning.
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