While most ski resort destinations are ramping down in April, the High Sierra is just starting to heat up… Why? First, it’s all about the snowpack. Due to the Sierra Nevada’s close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, we receive snowfall with higher moisture content leading to a deep snowpack. Second, in the spring our weather is warm during the day and cold at night helping produce a magical type of snow called corn.
What’s Corn Got To Do With Snow?
We know what you’re thinking… “What’s corn snow?” Well, they’re little beads of snow that get their name from the fact that they look like tiny frozen corn kernels. To form this glorious surface, you need multiple sunny, warm days in a row plus cold freezing conditions at night. If this spring-like weather loop gets going, you’ll be hooked for life.
Where to Ski in May
So, where can you find the goods? All the ski areas in the Sierra Nevada are game on, but here are a few pushing the “spring skiing” moniker to the limit by offering phenomenal conditions & a sizzling après scene through May.
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows
Learn more about spring skiing in North Lake Tahoe.
Estimated Closing Date: July 7th
As the self-appointed “Spring Skiing Capital”, expect to find soft bumps, coveted groomed terrain and smooth landings. And like any good spring mecca, it must also have après and that’s their specialty! From 19 outdoor decks like the legendary Le Chamois where you can take in views of the iconic Tram Face to the Alpine Meadows Sun Deck filled with live music, you’ll find something that fits your style. And don’t forget about the legendary pond skimming event the Cushing Crossing and of course the Winter WonderGrass Festival. You’ll quickly understand why this moniker for Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows is true! For more apres activites this spring be sure to check out Tahoe North’s latest post as well.
Estimated Closing Date: May 5th
With Lake Tahoe’s highest base elevation (8,260’), Mt. Rose’s motto of “Where the Snow Is” is especially true in late season. Their high elevation pretty much ensures supreme snow conditions even on the warmest days of spring.
Tips to make the most out of your Spring Skiing Adventure
Estimated Closing Date: July 4th
As winter transitions to spring, hibernating wonders thaw out and come to life in Mammoth Lakes. With ski season slated to last through Memorial Day and a bright sun returning endless warm-weather activities below the mountain, spring is the season of adventure in every shape and size. A spring day could start by making turns on a snowy slope, followed by a warm bike ride and end with fishing for trophy trout along the quiet banks of the Owens River. How’s that for well-rounded awesomeness?
Spring skiing isn’t just about sliding down a mountain though. As you can see, it’s a chance to enjoy the ENTIRE day from festivities like the Craw Thaw in Truckee to outdoor adventures like fishing in Owens Valley. As John Muir once said, “The mountains are calling” but it’s up to YOU to pick up the phone!
Author: Alex Silgalis
Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at https://localfreshies.com
Stay Up to Date
Join our mailing list for updates on hidden gems, events, and more from California's High Sierra.