Spring skiing means soft snow, more daylight for shredding (and apres!), a fun, party-like atmosphere, and sunny, bluebird weather punctuated by occasional dumps from spring storms. Since the weather is milder and the days are longer, it's also the best season for festivals, events, parties, and other gatherings on the slopes. If you're wondering where to go for the best spring skiing festivals and parties, here are a few of our favorite worth planning a road trip around this year.
Best Spring Skiing Festivals
Taste of Vail
Ski or snowboard all day, then clean up for wine tastings, seminars, apres-ski parties, and dinners at Taste of Vail. This annual four-day festival, beloved by skiers and foodies alike, celebrates some of the nation's top chefs, winemakers, restaurateurs, and purveyors, all set against Vail's iconic slopes. There's even a mountain-top tasting at 10,350 feet above sea level -- and, of course, ski gear is considered totally appropriate attire.
Carrabasset Valley, Maine
Please, good vibes only at Sugarloaf Mountain's Reggae Fest, which is now in its 34th year. The festival includes four days of skiing and snowboarding, music, and parties, with live performances by artists like Gorilla Finger Dub, Root Shock, and Zeme Libre, to name a few. Stick around as Sugarloaf also hosts the East Coast Pond Skimming Championship on April 16.
Consider Schweitzer's Schpring Finale a best of spring skiing "greatest hits" list: There's pond skimming, a duck derby, a cardboard derby, live music, and even a cheeky kids' "yellow snow" eating contest. And this isn't your average pond skim, either. The event takes place on Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho's largest lake. It requires participants to not only skim the pond on their skis but also pick up plastic balls floating in the water to win additional prizes.
Selco Pole Pedal Paddle
Each spring, thousands of competitors flock to central Oregon for this cardio-intensive event. As the name suggests, the Selco Pole Pedal Paddle is a multi-sport race that includes downhill skiing at Mt. Bachelor, followed by cross-country skiing, cycling, running, and kayaking to the finish line at the Hayden Homes Amphitheater in Bend. If watching people try to tackle five different sports in one day isn't enough, you'll also feel good about attending (or participating!), as the festival helps raise money for the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation.
For even more fun in the Pacific Northwest, put Mt. Bachelor's RendezVan event on your calendar, too. It's a five-day camping and van life festival at the base of the slopes from April 20-24.
Bud Light Spring Jam
March 25-April 3
Aspen and Snowmass, Colorado
Fun-loving skiers and snowboarders know the Roaring Fork Valley is the place to be each spring, thanks mainly to the annual Bud Light Spring Jam. Now in its 22nd year, the spring jam is like a big, week-long party with concerts, on-mountain competitions, and more.
This year, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats is performing a free concert in downtown Aspen. There are tons of other bands and musicians to look forward to in Aspen and Snowmass as part of the Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series through April 8. There's also a scavenger hunt across all four ski resorts, night skiing, and a terrain park boot camp.
Travelers should also stick around to catch the NASTAR National Championship, a youth feeder program for the U.S. Ski Team, from April 4-9.
Powder Mountain, which wears the crown for being North America's largest ski resort, is unveiling a brand new festival this spring: HillFest, which includes live music, food vendors, beer gardens, kids' activities, exhibits, and snowmobile testing and racing. (There are also after parties in nearby downtown Ogden, Utah.) This year's lineup includes performances from Andy Frasco & The U.N., Fruition, North Mississippi Allstars, and Bumpin Uglies.
Olympic Valley, California
Head to Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows) for three days of skiing, live music, craft beer, and delicious food. WinterWondergrass, which also has an annual event in Steamboat Springs, is back for another year in North Lake Tahoe, bringing together more than 20 bands and 20 local craft breweries at the base of the slopes. Bluegrass, roots, and acoustic artists like Billy Strings, the Infamous Stringdusters, and Peter Rowan will take the stage at this year's festival.
Other North Lake Tahoe festivals to bookmark include the Pride Ride at Homewood Mountain Resort (March 24-27) and the Luggi Foeger Uphill/Downhill Festival at Diamond Peak (March 26-27).
Have you visited the Grand Canyon? Share your trip on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!
Enjoy reading about the open road?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.