Skiing Update: Spring Comes (Too) Early

March 2012

Apparently, the snow just isn’t going to come. We’ve been hoping for fresh flakes, but it’s been more than a week since many of Colorado’s resorts have seen a hint of the white stuff. And the forecast certainly doesn’t look good for powder hounds. (This Saturday’s high is supposed to hit the mid-60s in the high country.) In fact, it’s looking pretty dismal for those just looking to break even on the purchase of a ski pass.

But if you’re just itchin’ to get in a few more runs this weekend—and, hey, it’s going to be gorgeous weather so why not?—we recommend checking out our staff’s first-hand experiences in the last six or seven days at a variety of local resorts first.

Vail

On Sunday, March 25, the mountain was still in relatively good shape. Ice reigned before 11 a.m., but once the warm-up began the experience became a bit more like water skiing than snow skiing. We found some nice stashes off of the Sourdough lift, but most of those runs are green cruisers, nothing steep. The resort says it is opening and closing terrain based on conditions, but several south-facing areas (mostly the more advanced terrain in the Back Bowls and China Basin) are closed and likely will not reopen this season. —Lindsey B. Koehler

Steamboat Springs

Saturday was the warmest day of skiing I’ve ever had in my life. And I’m a native Coloradan! There were big patches of dirt and it was super slushy, but there was still tons of buttery fun to be had. As of March 29, the resort is reporting that all of Pioneer Ridge is closed, but that most of the rest of the mountain is still open for business. —Brett Garfield

Breckenridge

I expected the conditions that I found—some exposure high up and slush down low in the afternoon. Overall, it was more than OK, but I was surprised that I could actually see the lake which gives Lake Chutes its name. I’d never been able to see it before. Ever. The resort is reporting that Peak 7 is fully open, Peaks 8 and 9 have a handful of closures, and the terrain on 10 is only about half open. —Amy Kessler

Beaver Creek

Conditions on March 24 were pretty rough. Huge bare patches. Water-logged cat walks. Chair lifts with zero snow to help with loading and unloading. Speaking with two red-clad, on-mountain information guides, we were told that the best snow could be found off of the Cinch Express and Drink of Water lifts. We found a few nice runs in the Bachelor Gulch area, but hung up the sticks early to head to the resort’s pool. (Yes, seriously. We got sunburned!) As of March 29, the resort’s website reports that about 30 runs are closed and that all terrain off of Chair 14 is closed. —Lindsey B. Koehler

Arapahoe Basin

The basin is built to keep its snow, even in the warmest and driest of years; however, on Saturday March 24 there was definitely bare grass and rocks. There were boulder fields peeking through that I’d never seen before. The snow was mash potato–like in the afternoon sun, but the mountain certainly wasn’t unskiable. Expect what you’d see at A-Basin in, say, June, as opposed to late March. On March 29, the mountain reported that five of seven lifts were operational and that only 50 percent of the terrain was open. —Julie Dugdale

—Photo by Dan Davis, courtesy of Beaver Creek Resort