Spring has sprung, but that doesn’t mean it’s time for sunscreen and short shorts—this is the Northwest, fool! A decent winter of snowfall means we’re in for another lengthy ski season; check the forecast or just head directly to local resorts:
• Day skiing at Crystal Mountain is guaranteed through at least Memorial Day, at least on weekends. Making a commitment now reaps big rewards: Skiiers that purchase a 2012–13 season pass can start using it immediately and through the end of the spring ski season—last year that was July 16. So far Crystal is more than 100 inches over average, including 11 new feet since March 1. Prices go up June 1 and the passes go on sale this Sunday.
• Take it from someone who’s been burned: You’ll need sunscreen for spring skiing at Oregon’s Mount Bachelor. Buy a new Springtacular Season Pass by Wednesday and it’s good starting on April Fool’s Day. Think that a season pass doesn’t make sense for a mountain that’s 350 miles away? Consider this: The spring pass pays for itself in about three days and it’s good through the scheduled closing date of May 27. Plus, the Bend-based Deschutes Brewery hosts concerts at Bachelor’s base starting May 5.
• Spring lodging specials at Whistler in British Columbia start at $119 (Canadian) per person for a three-night package through April 12, which includes lift tickets. Prices go up the next day, when the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival takes over the twin mountains for ten days. At the massive serious of outdoor concerts, come for the Michael Franti but stay for the wonderfully named Longwalkshortdock. Dance parties, a film festival, and snow competitions also vie for attention.
• There’s a whole lot of glee up north this winter at Alyeska Resort near Anchorage. A consistent load of snow has given them 716 inches since November, and marketing director Sandy Chio claims that “This May is going to ski as well as January or February.” The famed Headwall above the normal ski bowl is usually closed; last year the backcountry ridge never opened once. So far the 4,000-foot Headwall has been open a handful of days in 2012 (and will possibly again tomorrow, so let’s all run to Sea-Tac!).
Alaskans are crossing their fingers for a record-breaking season; they need about 200 more inches, and which is likely. There are special packages for May trips to the Alpine Hotel Alyeska, when you can bridge the seasons: Take a summer-style glacier cruise in the morning, then hit the slopes in the afternoon.