by Frank V. Persall
Skiing is a winter sport, and no matter where you go in the world, the snow will start to disappear come summer.
We mean, even down in Antarctica, the temperature rises a little in summer, albeit if only to -4ºc! But while you won't likely be heading down to the bottom of the world to ski, remember that skiing season is a very real thing at resorts around the world.
A typical ski season runs from November to April, but this will vary between ski resorts. In parts of the USA, ski resorts will remain open through to July, but the ski season may not run past March in other places.
It is always best to contact potential ski resorts before booking to discover when they are open.
Once the ski season has passed, the resort will close its doors, and you must wait until next year. But to make life easier, we want to give you a rundown of the best times to ski and when ski season truly begins and ends.
One of the great things about skiing in the United States is the vast range of ski resorts in most states (well, 12 of them don't have a resort, but we still think that's pretty good.)
However, with this being such a vast country with such a diverse range of climates, the months that skiing is available will differ depending on your location.
On the whole, a typical ski season will begin in November. Most skiing areas around the USA open at this time.
A few keep their doors closed until the middle of December, but with over 470 resorts around the country, you won't be hard pushed to find one that does open right at the beginning of the ski season in November. You can find a full list of ski season dates across the country here.
Being a winter sport, skiing comes into its own during the winter months, with December, January, February and march being peak months of the ski season.
A typical ski season in the US runs until the beginning of April, but this will vary by resort. There are resorts, for example, Timberline in Oregon, that close as early as March 4th.
The United States of America has some of the most well-known and beloved ski resorts on the planet, alongside those in the Alpine regions of Europe, of course. As such, the owners of these resorts want to maximize their exposure and welcome as many visitors as possible during each ski season.
This means some of the larger resorts will open much earlier and close much later than their smaller competitors.
If you are skiing in Colorado or California, you can bet your bottom dollar you'll find some of the longest ski seasons in the country.
For example, Breckenridge in Colorado opens at the beginning of November and doesn't close its doors until the end of May, offering one of the most expansive seasons in the country.
Mammoth Mountain in California is another resort that offers an impressive ski season opening at the same time as Breckenridge and closing in line with its Colorado compadre.
However, if you are looking for a resort that offers the longest ski season, you will need to head to Utah to find the Snowbird resort. This is one of the most well-known skiing resorts in the Northern hemisphere and offers a massive range of activities and a very generous ski season.
While it does open a little later than those in Colorado and California, with the first visitors arriving mid to late November, Snowbird doesn't see its last visitor out until the back end of June, meaning it holds the crown for the longest season.
Finally, if you are looking to get on the slopes as early as possible, Keystone in Colorado boasts an early start to the season-opening at the end of October!
A full ski season can last anywhere between three and six months, and much like everything else we have discussed in this post, the resort's location will play a prominent role when the ski season comes to an end.
Some of the larger resorts or those that are more worldwide renowned, such as those in places like California and Colorado, may remain open for longer than some smaller resorts. For example, some keep their ski lifts running right through until the middle of June or the beginning of July.
Generally, however, you can expect most resorts to close their doors around the beginning of April. There is usually something of a variable here since some resorts will shut up shop for the season as early as the start of March. Although, if they are going to close in March, you'll typically find it is usually around the end of the month.
One of the best things about the end of ski season is it is time to bag a few bargains as the ski stores at the major resorts will be looking to shift old stock in time for the new arrivals at the beginning of next season.
If you're looking to get a good deal on your ski gear, now is the time to do it; we have written a full guide on the best ways to do this here.
The ski season runs over most of the winter and finishes at the beginning of spring as the weather warms up and the snow is not as dense.
However, this highly much depends on where you are, with some ski resorts still offering time on the slopes up until summertime, in July.
As a rule of thumb, the ski season begins in November and ends in April, although some resorts won't open until December and may close again as early as March.
The only way to discover if the resort you want to visit will be open is by contacting them directly or checking out their website.
If you plan your next skiing vacation, understanding when the ski season begins and ends is essential. But there are many other things to consider when planning your trip to one of the world's most popular ski resorts so before you set off, take a look at our skiing articles for all the information you could ever need.
About Frank V. Persall
Frank is originally from the UK, but he has a passion for skiing that knows no bounds. He has made it his life's mission to visit the best ski resorts across the USA and the World. Frank loves spending time with his wife and three children on ski slopes, as they all share his love for the activity.