It may be March, but the ski season is far from over, friends. We’re getting to that time of year when the sun comes out, the layers come off, and the booze flows all day long at resorts across the land. Even better, there’ll be powder, too. “This has been one of the snowiest winters on record, so conditions will be outstanding until the day the lifts stop running—and probably for weeks after they close,” says Dan Sherman, director of marketing communications for Ski.com (which just so happens to offer killer ski trip deals). This lucky punk spends his winters sampling the sweetest spots out west (we want his job) and here are his expert picks for the top five spring skiing festivals. Book ’em, dudes.
Name: Spring Grüv
Location: The Canyons, Utah
Dates: March 25 to April 3
Highlights: Free concerts in the resort village, including Los Lobos and Blues Traveler’s John Popper, pond skimming contest, a screening of the new flick Under My Wing with ski hottie Grete Eliassen and, of course, the Red Bull Schlittentag, an utterly ridiculous/awesome homemade sled race.
Name: Jackson Hole Mountain Festival
Location: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Dates: March 25 to March 27
Highlights: Free concerts at the base, a fireworks display, and two cool races: the Marmot Coombs Classic, which honors local legend Doug Coombs; and the 36th Annual Pole Pedal Paddle, a four-leg team or individual competition featuring alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biking and boating. Also, silly costumes.
Name: Spring Loaded
Location: Heavenly, Lake Tahoe, California
Dates: April 9 to 16
Highlights: Three wildly different contests: the quad-burning Gunbarrel 25 race (hosted by free ski star Glen Plake and featuring 25 laps down the mountain’s face); the Stateline Showdown, a slopestyle competition; and a sweet pond skim. Off-the-hill action includes concerts by Cold War Kids and G. Love & Special Sauce. Oh, and did we mention the casinos?
Name: Spring Back to Vail
Location: Vail, Colorado
Dates: April 15 to 24
Highlights: A whopping seven free concerts, including Train, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and an outfit called Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars. There’s also an all-mountain film competition and the one-and-only World Pond Skimming Championships, which the guy in the photo above is totally slaying.
Name: Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival
Location: Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
Dates: April 15 to 24
Highlights: Whistler-Blackcomb’s the biggest resort in North America, so it’s only fitting that Telus is huge. No fewer than six different skiing and snowboard contests, series of free outdoor concerts headlines by Broken Social Scene, Gogol Bordello, and Ozomatli, plus fashion, photography, films and, we’re guessing, all the Kokanee you can drink.
(Steve Mazzucchi is Managing Editor of Made Man. Email him at smazzucchi[at]breakmedia.com.)