Extended Ski Seasons in Colorado Mean More Mountain Time

Arapahoe Basin
Getty Images/Richard Cummins

Ski season isn’t set in stone. When planning your Colorado ski vacation, it’s helpful to know that most ski resorts do fall within a general window: November-ish through April-ish. The majority of them tend to open late November or early December, and they try to stay open as long as possible. But that window tends to start closing early April when the spring sunshine begins to melt the snow.

An occasionally snowy winter can extend the ski season, however. For example, the Purgatory Resort in southern Colorado, commonly associated with Durango (even though it’s about 30 miles away), opted to extend its ski season due to the snowfall. It announced it would push its closing date to late April. For skiers, that’s like Christmas in the springtime.

It’s not uncommon for ski resorts to change their dates in the middle of the season, so keep your eyes on resort websites for announcements that may contribute to a last-minute springtime ski vacation. Often, ski resorts will announce extended dates late March or toward the end of their season, when they realize the snow is going to hold out for a while longer than planned. 

The 2016-2017 Season

Due to some extra snowfall toward the end of the season, in 2017, many Colorado resorts extended the season. Resorts closing early April included Buttermilk, Telluride, Crested Butte, and Beaver Creek. Copper Mountain, Steamboat, Keystone, and Snowmass extended their seasons to mid-April. Vail, Breckenridge, and Aspen extended their seasons to April 23 and Mary Jane at Winter Park extended to April 30. Loveland ski resort stayed open all the way until early May.

The 2017-2018 Season

Many Colorado resorts opened in October during the 2017-2018 season (including Arapahoe Basin and Loveland). In November, Aspen, Copper Mountain, Crested Butte, Eldora, Howelsen Hill, Monarch, Purgatory, Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park, and Wolf Creek all opened as well.

The 2018-2019 Season

This season, most ski resorts open Thanksgiving weekend (November 21) and end in early April. However, there are some exceptions, which open in early November and close in late April. Below are the dates for the upcoming winter season.

  • Keystone: November 9 to April 7
  • Breckenridge: November 9 to April 21
  • Copper: November 16 to TBD
  • Vail: November 16 to April 14
  • Crested Butte: November 21 to April 7
  • Steamboat: November 21 to April 14
  • Beaver Creek: November 21 to April 14
  • Telluride: November 22 to April 7
  • Aspen: November 22 to April 21
  • Snowmass: November 22 to April 21
  • Buttermilk: December 8 to April 7
  • Aspen Highlands: December 8 to April 14

Check back later this season for updates on Colorado resort extensions. Also, find the snow report here, which provides day-to-day accounts of snowfall, base depth, lifts open, acres open, and other weather conditions. You can view each ski resort's webcams to check out conditions for yourself, too. (Or dream about it from afar as you plan.) This is also a great way to see which resorts are packed to try to avoid the lines.

The Ski Resort with the Longest Season

Arapahoe Basin is known for its extra-long ski season, one that makes Loveland's early May closing seem uneventful. A-Basin, as it’s called generally stays open until early June.

It opens the slopes earlier than other resorts, too. You can expect lifts to start running during mid- to late-October. This can offer more than a month of bonus ski time on the front end and as many as two months on the back end. Not only does A-Basin offer Colorado’s longest ski and ride season, but it claims to offer the longest season in all of North America.

A-Basin, located on the Continental Divide in Summit County, usually sees more than 350 inches of snow every year, which translates to some of the best skiing in the world (and also some of the toughest runs around). A-Basin’s terrain stretches across nearly 1,000 acres. Get up to the top quickly with its high-speed chairlift; the summit hits 13,050 feet above sea level. Then pick from more than 100 trails to make your way down.

The 400-acre Montezuma Bowl hugely increased the resort's skiable terrain when it opened in the 2007 season. You'll find this on the back side of A-Basin, and it is reserved for more advanced skiers. Its 36 runs are blue, black and double black, making A-Basin a draw for the die-hard locals and ski fanatics. With A-Basin's long season, they can get their fix all the way into the summer. It’s no wonder Arapahoe Basin’s nickname is “the Legend.”