Big Sky Resort, Montana (for the dirtbag) from Spring Break Ski Destinations
Spring Break Ski Destinations
Big Sky Resort, Montana (for the dirtbag)
Kicking off in March, Dirtbag Day at Big Sky Resort in Montana may be the epitome of the spring break event. Voted one of the world’s top 10 winter festivals by MSN Travel, the event was started in 1979 as a fundraiser for Big Sky’s ski patrol. The Dirtbag Ball and Dirtbag Day celebrations are some of the area’s most historic events, with costumes, a parade and a Powder 8’s contest. The patrol even crowns a new King and Queen of the Dirtbags—hardcore skiers and riders who hit the bars at night in the height of dirtbag fashion. Shennanigans usually follow shortly after.
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia (for the road-tripper)
We really couldn’t ask for a better spring break ski destination than Whistler. While British Columbia’s drinking age of 19 is definitely a factor for the college set, the great snow, interesting folks and insanely beautiful conditions are what keep everyone talking. The 2014 Whistler World Ski & Snowboard Festival, from April 11 to April 20, features 10 days of genre-crossing concerts and snow events to please even the most discerning spring breaker.
Mount Bohemia, Michigan (for the backwoods partier)
Mount Bohemia in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has the deepest powder and highest vertical in the Midwest, a true hidden treasure for backcountry skiers and riders. The average annual snowfall in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is 273 inches of dry, lake effect snow that gives it the longest runs of ungroomed powder in the Midwest. But the really fantastic part is the Spring Break Special: starting March 9 until the end of the season, it’s just $75 per person per day for lodging, lift ticket, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Post up with your whole team at one of the notoriously rowdy yurts for the Mardi Gras Madness, March 8, when girls ski free and there are a whole lot of beads, music and contests floating around.
Breckenridge, Colorado (for everyone)
The town of Breckenridge may have been founded on gold but it’s all that white stuff that makes it extra attractive to the spring break set. At almost 13,000 feet and only a two hour drive from Denver, Breck boasts 79 bars and restaurants to keep you stoked through the non-ski hours. Its varied terrain can easily accommodate beginners through double black diamond riders, and it offers access to a slew of other resorts off I-70. Breck’s annual month-long Spring Fever Festival, March 20 through April 20, is always a blast and features concerts (Flobots and Cornmeal headlining this year) and events both on the mountain and in town.
Alyeska Resort, Alaska (for pond skimming)
Alyeska’s Spring Carnival is still arguably one of the nation’s best pond skimming/spring break-ish events for those looking to make a serious pilgrimage in the name of fun and snow. With one of the longest ski seasons in North America, Alyeska Resort, which boasts 650 inches of snow annually, embraces spring with costumed pond skimming in a truly incredible setting. Cheer on the Idiot Swim Across where brave souls swim across the pond for your amusement. Other events include a tug-of-war and the Dummy Downhill, which, yes, involves sending dummies down a hill.
Copper Mountain, Colorado (for the exhibitionist)
For one weekend in April, Copper Mountain may just be the most fun place on earth. The on-hill activities for the annual Sunsation Festival, including an adventure race and Red Bull SlopeSoakers pond skimming, are open to all who are willing to embarrass themselves in the name of a good time. Get wet and shed the boots and hats in the world-famous Eenie Weenie Bikini Contest, back by popular demand. Concerts and parties spring up all over the mountain, day and night, making Copper Sunsation one of the hottest events under the winter sun.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming (the most bang for your buck)
This annual favorite of college ski clubs boasts 2,500 acres in-bounds terrain, 3,000 acres of easy-access out-of-bounds terrain, and 4,139 continuous vertical feet for some downright epic shredding. All that goodness makes Jackson Hole a pretty happening place come mid-March, but it also means those big groups will be sucking up the cheap hotel blocks that are coveted in this pricey destination. Want to ski and party like a cowboy without sleeping in your saddle? While Jackson Hole is not a cheap place to stay, those on a budget who still want to ski this Wyoming destination in style should check out The Hostel. Located in the heart of upscale Teton Village within walking distance of the Mangy Moose and other hot spot après destinations, The Hostel has been recognized by those in the know for years for its value, location and atmosphere. There’s even a ski tuning room. Private rooms start at just $69 and a spot in the bunk room may only cost you $25. That leaves enough cash to scoop up some cowboy boots as souvenirs.
Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, Calif. (for hot tub aficionados)
Yes, we’ve all seen G.N.A.R. But, believe it or not, there are other reasons Squaw Valley is called the spring skiing capital of the U.S. There's the sparkling California sunshine, epic Lake Tahoe views, perfect conditions and, of course, plenty of corn and vertical. But, really, what we like is the hot tub. The High Camp Swimming Pool and Hot Tub is the stuff of legends. Simply ride the Aerial Tram to High Camp and jump into the 25-foot diameter tub and let the most magical hot water moment you’ve ever had commence. Sip a cocktail at the Umbrella Bar and enjoy music and waterfalls while you bask in your own post-shred awesomeness.
Killington, Vermont (for the classics)
The iconic skiing town of Killington, located in the Green Mountains of Vermont, offers six mountains of terrain, 140 trails, 22 lifts and a 3,000-foot vertical, making it a premier destination for the New England crowd. But it also boasts the best throwback bar scene a thirsty college coed could hope for after a gnarly day on the slopes. Check out the 2014 Life Is Good NOR'BEASTER Festival at the end of March for free concerts that spill off the slopes and into local venues. The infamous Wobbly Barn wobbles well into most evenings while hosting live entertainment, parties and some of the hottest dancing on the mountain. The two-story Pickle Barrel also gets rowdy with a massive dance floor and bands playing nearly every night of the week.
Crested Butte, Colorado (for the backcountry)
Those who prefer rugged terrain to body shots during their vacations should look no further than Crested Butte, Colorado for their spring getaway. The people are great, the snow is excellent and the town is laid back. And did we mention the snow is pretty awesome, too? You can’t deny the backcountry options available in this town for the ready and willing. Five separate drainages offer hundreds of options close to town. With open bowls, secluded tree shots and big alpine peaks, it’s no wonder Crested Butte is sometimes called ‘Colorado’s Last Great Ski Town.’ Plan a tour to Red Lady Bowl, Red Lady Glades, Coney’s Ridge, Snodgrass Mountain, or Gothic Mountain. And while there is nightlife here, it’s decidedly more low-key than the other locals on our list, more tuned to planning tomorrow’s perfect lines over some local brews than dancing till 2 a.m.