Best Spring Festivals at Ski Resorts
12 Best Spring Festivals at Ski Areas
Springtime at ski resorts brings warm weather, corn snow, skiing in costumes, and big parties and festivals. These are pro skier Griffin Post's picks for his 12 favorite springtime festivals at ski resorts around the world.
Scufoneda; Moena, Italy
With roots as a local telemark gathering, Polartec's Scufoneda, which takes place each year in early March, has blossomed into an international skiing and snowboarding festival, complete with a two-day big mountain competition at nearby Passo San Pellegrino. Hosted by the Scufons, a hearty bunch of Dolomite locals, the event balances world class skiing during the day and full bore partying at night.
High Boy; Alta, Utah
Part Mardi Gras, part Halloween, the unofficial closing-day party at Alta is not for the faint of heart. Rain, snow or shine, partygoers gather on top of High Rustler in their finest (or weirdest) costumes for one final run. Unsanctioned and a bit out of control, High Boy ensures Alta goes out with a bang. This year, Alta's closing day is scheduled for Sunday, April 29.
PMS; Squaw Valley, Calif.
The Pain McShlonkey Classic at Squaw Valley pays tribute to one of the most iconic and funniest men in skiing history, Shane McConkey. With the coveted Golden Saucer on the line, pros and amateurs compete in a Chinese downhill, small mountain snowblade contest and costume contest followed by, of course, the World's Greatest After Party. This year, the PMS, as it's called, took place March 30.
Gaper Day; Anywhere
Gaper Day, a grassroots April Fools' Day event that has grown into an international celebration of dated ski clothes and tourist-mocking antics, is likely the most widely celebrated, yet loosely organized event on the ski calendar. For one day on the first of April, neon, headbands, and zinc come back into style at virtually every ski resort across the country.
Verbier Xtreme; Verbier, Switzerland
The finals of the Freeride World Tour, the Verbier Xtreme, which took place this year on March 22, is more than some of the world's best skiers and snowboarders tackling the Bec des Rosses, the most difficult competitive big mountain venue in the world. The weeklong event is complete with a seemingly endless street party, live music, and bikini-clad Swatch models dancing in a life-size snow globe (seriously).
Mountain Festival; Jackson Hole, Wyo.
More than a concert that features a national headliner, Jackson Hole Mountain Festival, which takes place in late March, plays host to a series of events. The Pole, Pedal, Paddle challenges individuals and teams in an alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biking and boating relay; the Coombs Classic honors Jackson legend Doug Coombs in an on-mountain, lap-driven competition; and live music and fireworks abound throughout the weekend.
WSSF; Whistler, BC
The World Ski and Snowboard Festival at Whistler celebrates all things skiing and snowboarding. From music and art to the Association of Freeskiing Professionals' World Championships, there's something for everyone. The 10-day event serves as the proverbial exclamation point to the winter season. This year, the event takes place April 12-21.
Beach Party; Arapahoe Basin, Colo.
If there's one place where tailgating and skiing intersect, it's at A-Basin's Early Riser parking lot every spring. Just steps from the lifts, The Beach goes off nearly every weekend (and some week days) as skiers toting barbeques and beach chairs celebrate the final weeks of the season, which often lasts into June.
Closing Party; Ischgl, Austria
Imagine a rock concert featuring an international headliner with thousands of fans. Now, imagine that same concert, at 7,500 feet in elevation, in the snow. That's just what happens at the Silvretta Arena in Ischgl, Austria, on closing day. Musicians from around the world, including Elton John, Tina Turner, and Mariah Carey in years past, bring the Austrian Alps season to a close. This year, it was German soul singer Xavier Naidoo and rapper Kool Savas who shut down the season on April 1.
Reggae Festival; Sugarloaf, Maine
Now in its 25th year, Sugarloaf's Reggae Festival, taking place April 11-14, combines spring skiing with a beach-like atmosphere. With most events free to all, the weekend-long party features a series of outdoor and indoor concerts, good vibes, and fireworks.
Spring Back to Vail; Vail, Colo.
The end-all bash of Colorado resort skiing, Vail plays host to a series of free concerts, late night parties, and, of course, the World Pond Skimming Championships, where a free Epic Pass is on the line. This year's event, taking place April 8-14, celebrates Vails 50th year.
West Coast Invitational; Mammoth, Calif.
Mammoth Mountain is typically one of the last resorts in California to close for the season. The West Coast Invitational, taking place May 4-5, hosts a late-season big air contest with top pros in skiing and snowboarding, the Eddie Wall Ride Invitational, and live concerts.