Bitten by the snow bug
March 16, 2011 8:48 PM   Subscribe

Can and should I go on a solo snowboarding trip out West in April? And where?

I've only been snowboarding a few times this winter, and once years ago, so I'm very much a beginner. But I'm just starting to get the hang of my turns and am super bummed that the season is ending on the East Coast. Is it worth it to go out West in April for a few more days on the slopes, and if so, where should I go? If I went alone, is there somewhere with a social enough atmosphere that I might find a group? I would probably want to go the second week of April, or maybe after taxes are due, if I end up procrastinating on that. Is that too late? I'm willing to take a class if it means meeting people
posted by sweetkid to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
Here in Utah it isn't unheard of to have people skiing for Spring Break (usually the week before Easter) but the quality of the powder isn't the best. You might want to narrow it down buy calling the resorts to see when they plan to close for the season. You're really kind of pushing it as far as how close you'll be.

We're an awful friendly bunch out here, so if there are people on the slopes or in the lodge you can easily start conversations. If people found out you were on your own I wouldn't be surprised if you got adopted into their group.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:31 PM on March 16, 2011

you can snowboard in BC well into July. Whistler is a good place - and if you are adventurous, then the backcountry nearby offers lots of sweet runs (Musical Bumps, Taylor Meadows above Garibaldi Lake, Rainbow Lake area...)
posted by seawallrunner at 9:47 PM on March 16, 2011

From what I can tell, Snowbird is often the last Utah resort to close, and it seems to have a reputation for having young, friendly, outgoing single folks. Here's last year's spring press release that had the season going well into May there, but there was a really big late season storm that helped keep the snow fresh that late. You'll have to wait until closer to time to see whether something like that will happen this year. It's been kinda warm and rainy lately, so that's cutting into the base at most Utah resorts right now, unfortunately.

Here is a list of projected closing dates for Utah resorts. Looks like some are planning to go until late in April. Others, like Sundance, will close when they say they will no matter what snow conditions are. So it looks like Brighton and Snowbird are your options here (Alta doesn't allow snowboarding, so that's out).

I thought Colorado's higher elevations might give you more options, but it doesn't look too promising there either, though a few are going until the 24th.
posted by BlooPen at 10:29 PM on March 16, 2011

Mammoth Mountain (California) has had record snowfall this year and will probably be open till June. Group lessons offered and 7 terrain parks from beginner to advanced, once you've mastered your turns.
posted by zanni at 1:35 AM on March 17, 2011

+1 for UTAH!!!!!! Snowbird is lovely in April. You get glorious smushy spring snow, and you can ski in your t-shirt and get a fantastic tan. (Just watch the goggle lines; they're fun when you're out west, not so much a week a later at work.)

Park City is easier to get around if you are alone (free public transit and all that so you don't have to deal with a car), but the snow will be better in Snowbird.

Alternatively, stay in Park City (where it will be cheaper to get a condo), snowboard there a few days, and if the snow is bad, take a van over to Snowbird for $100 (canyon hop includes cost of lift ticket+ van ride, so it's a pretty solid deal).

Utahan's are pretty chill, and I think you'll have an easier time meeting people in Park City.

Buy your lift tickets in advance on Liftopia- it'll save you a few bucks.
posted by larthegreat at 4:27 AM on March 17, 2011

A-Basin and Loveland outside of denver are usually open until the end of may. A-Basin is part of the vail resorts group, but smaller, and has a much more local feel.

Seawallrunner- I don't think this person is going to be hitting up any backcountry/slackcountry as they sound pretty new to the whole glissing thing.

Vail and breckenridge will still be open, but the snow is really weird down low at that time of year. It is bulletproof ice in the morning, and then you are swim/skiing by the afternoon.

My suggestion, if you are new to snowboarding, is to take 1/2 day lessons at least 2 or 3 days that you are out. Not only will they show you the mountain, but you will also learn to control the board better and will have more fun.

Both Breck and Vail have villages/towns, but they are pretty are pretty artificial (there for skiers). That is not to say there isn't plenty to do, and plenty of people to hang out with. Whereas SLC is a real city.

Have fun.
posted by TheBones at 6:05 AM on March 17, 2011

Snowbird is awesome but if you are a beginner as you say, there are more forgiving places for you. Snowbird is a tough place.
posted by mmascolino at 7:44 AM on March 17, 2011

Best answer: You can. In fact, you do not need to go out west either. Many of the New England hills will be open for much of April. Killington, for one, keeps lifts turning (at least weekends) through May. As for going alone and being able to meet up with folks, I would imagine that usual routes: craigslist/activities or meetup might help. Once you become a better rider, the spring scene in Tuckerman Ravine is an Eastern ski culture institution, and people ski there well into June most years.

If you do go farther afield, stay at a youth hostel. Back when I lived in Quebec I'd go out to Banff, stay in the hostel, and be making group meals and skiing with a motley bunch of Aussies and euros almost right off the bat (and I'm not particularly outgoing).

Not sure what hostels are like in the US, but if you went out to Fernie, Banff (Sunshine Village) or Lake Louise, you'd be almost guaranteed a social, friendly scene with travelling skiers/riders from around the world (though with a heavy preponderance of Australians!). Louise will stay open through Easter, Sunshine will keep going weekends through May, not sure about Fernie. The hostels will all have combined lodging/transport/lift ticket deals. Farther west, Whistler/Blackcomb keeps lifts running until August.
posted by bumpkin at 7:51 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's still snowing in Tahoe - it will be a long season this year. Squaw Valley is popular with boarders; Heavenly has too many flat traverses to be much fun, especially if you're new.
posted by asphericalcow at 10:33 AM on March 17, 2011

Best answer: +1 on Squaw. I went last year in May and sure the snow wasn't perfect, but it was a great time. I went solo and had a blast.
posted by cuando at 11:22 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry to be a party pooper but depending on your skill level Squaw doesn't have a lot into terrain. As places I could recommend would be Arapahoe Basin and Loveland in Colorado. These two places stay open later in the season and are at pretty high elevation which helps maintain snow coverage.
posted by mmascolino at 8:38 PM on March 19, 2011

« Older "Dear God, make me a bird. So I could fly far. Far...   |   HDMI woes Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.