Springtime at ski resorts brings the best of two seasons together: long, sunny days laced with the occasional snowstorm, live music at fabulous après parties, big mountain competitions and a contagiously festive atmosphere celebrating the close of another great ski season. When it comes to spring break this year, opt for sunny slopes and sweet goggle tans, with a slew of fun-filled activities for friends and family to boot. Keep reading for the insider scoop on the top resorts for spring break 2017.
Whistler has one of the longest ski seasons in North America, with coverage on the slopes lasting long into May (and Blackcomb's Horstman Glacier offering skiing through summer). Long sunny days mixed with late season storms guarantee great conditions no matter which week you travel. Besides après beers on mountainside decks and stunning goggle tans, indulge in free concerts, art showings, film screenings, season-ending parties and the not-to-be-missed World Ski and Snowboard Festival, which takes place late April.
Families: Enjoy Family Après Mondays and Wednesdays at the Whistler Plaza. Don't miss the famous Dog Parade during the World Ski and Snowboard Festival: hundreds of canines decked out in their best outfits parade and exhibition in the village.
Friends: Dress in your best to compete in the Twisted Tea Slush Cup – Whistler's version of the classic spring pond skim. Best of the Fest is the final party of the WSSF, held at the Garibaldi Lift Co. – head here for a celebratory recap of all things spring break.
Spring Break in Breckenridge lasts over an entire month, and it tops this list because of its extensive offerings for families and party-goers alike – regardless of the specific vacation week. The resort offers big mountain events, like Red Bull's Orbital Flight freestyle competition, as well as huge free concerts in the base area and on-mountain. Spring Fever gets rolling March 18th and continues through late April, with tons of live entertainment, special happy hours, and celebratory debauchery all over town. Past concert headliners include Third Eye Blind, American Authors, and The Infamous Stringdusters.
Families: Check out the all new Mtn Dew Spring Open, a freestyle competition with talented athletes throwing huge tricks. A kid-friendly Easter Egg Hunt features hidden treats and an adventurous Easter morning.
The headlining event for Spring Break at Jackson Hole is Rendezvous Festival, which brings in major acts like Zac Brown Band and Yonder Mountain String Band to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the Town Square. You'll also find some of the best and most historic events throughout the rest of March, like the Mini Hahnenkamm Town Downhill and Marmot Coombs Classic. The après parties with free music under the tram are the place to be on weekend afternoons.
Families: Check the calendar for Family Round Up events that feature kid-friendly après and meet-and-greets with avalanche dogs, birds of prey, and more local legends. Kid's Night Out offers parents a break while the little ones party with pizza and sledding at the Kid's Ranch.
Friends: Check out the annual World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb at Snow King, located in downtown Jackson for a truly unique cultural experience. Zac Brown Band headlines Rendezvous Festival this year – be sure to purchase tickets in advance.
Aspen is a Colorado favourite for challenging terrain, posh après parties, and an historic downtown that boasts swanky shops and contemporary restaurants with delectable eats. Springtime brings plenty of classic Rocky Mountain sunshine, slopeside parties, and locals decked out in fabulous costumes. With concert and competition venues at all four resorts in the Aspen area, your biggest challenge will be which ones to attend and which events can wait until next year. Most events are held under the Bud Light Spring Jam, which takes place the third week of March.
Families: Don't miss the Kick Aspen Big Air competition – kids will love seeing the region's top athletes battle it out for biggest airs and best tricks under the lights. On Friday head to Ullr Nights, a family-friendly celebration with tubing, snowbiking, bonfire and more.
Friends: Drop by any of the Hi-Fi Concert Series events around the resorts – free, fun, and featuring past acts like Blues Traveller and Vampire Weekend. Party it up with the biggest names in ski racing at the FIS World Cup Finals March 15th-19th.
When it comes to the Lake Tahoe area, there's nothing quite like a spring break at Heavenly. South Lake Tahoe's mecca for big mountain skiing, outdoor adventure, and fabulous clubs kicks off the spring season with the annual Spring Loaded festival. The festivities include outdoor concerts, blowout après parties, and a famous pond skimming competition. Besides organised resort events, you'll find the usual all-night dance parties and gambling thrills in clubs on the Nevada side of the line.
Families: Heavenly has been called a "Disneyland" for families, and kids love swooping down the massive slopes with views of Lake Tahoe. Attend the outdoor concerts early before they get too rowdy, and take a break from the resort with a dogsled ride in nearby Hope Valley.
Friends: Let loose at the famous Unbuckle Après Party, which kicks into high gear starting late March. If you're feeling fit, test your skills with the Gunbarrel 25 competition: 25 consecutive laps on the resort's most famous mogul run.
Sunday River is renowned for its excellent late-season conditions, which can be precarious in the East. Exposure to cold temperatures throughout the winter and a world-class snowmaking system guarantee good coverage through March, and often into April. At Sunday River, spring break is all about enjoying the outdoors with good food and drinks, and the resort hosts a number of events for the final month of the season, which starts mid-March. Outdoor concerts, chilli cook-offs, and a 3-day spring festival suited for all ages are a few highlights.
Families: Head to the Chili Cookoff and Masters of the Hose race, where firefighters and snowmakers battle it out in a dual slalom. The Spring Après Concert Series takes place over a course of 3 weekends, and features plenty of BBQ and family-friendly fun.
Friends: Don't miss the Spring Festival, which features plenty of live music and libations, as well as chances to win epic lodging and lift ticket packages. Opt for The Great Tailgate weekend April 15 for the best-dressed tailgates you'll ever see at a ski resort.
Spring Break at Crested Butte is largely a locals' affair, which is why we're so keen on it. For a classic, laid-back transition into spring, you best head to CB, which sticks to ski town classics like pond skimming, après music, and a few quirky events. Four hours from Denver and 30 minutes from the nearest town, it's in a world of its' own, and visitors rave about the sense of returning to halcyon days of old-time ski towns with little fuss or pretense – but plenty of fun. It's also a favourite for families.
Friends: The Ten Peaks Sunset Soirees are a classy way to enjoy long spring days: a sleigh ride to buffet dinner under the sunset is all-inclusive. Get discounted lift tickets for a cause on Food Pantry Donation Day -- $45 USD ($65 AUD) lift tickets April 2nd for donating 3 canned food items at the base.