As the winter season comes to an end, ski resorts across North America gear up for one last hurrah - the closing day party. These events are known for their festive atmosphere, lively music, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you're a seasoned skier or just looking to have a good time, closing-day parties in North American ski resorts are not to be missed. In this blog post, we'll explore the top closing-day parties in North American ski resorts and give you the inside scoop on what to expect.
The Tradition of Closing Day Parties
Closing day parties have become a time-honoured tradition in North American ski resorts. They are a way for ski resorts to celebrate the end of the season and show appreciation to their guests for their support throughout the winter months. From live music and après-ski specials to fun-filled events and competitions, closing-day parties offer a unique and festive experience for skiers and snowboarders alike.
Top Closing Day Parties in North American Ski Resorts
Aspen Mountain, Colorado Aspen Mountain in Colorado is renowned for its legendary closing day party, known as "Schneetag" (German for "snow day"). This event features wacky costumes, live music, and a thrilling pond-skimming competition, where participants attempt to ski or snowboard across a pond without falling in. It's a fun and festive way to bid farewell to the ski season in style.
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada, is known for its epic closing day party, known as the "World Ski & Snowboard Festival." This 10-day event features a variety of music concerts, film screenings, and art exhibits, culminating in a massive outdoor concert and fireworks display on closing day. It's a celebration of all things winter sports and a must-visit for anyone looking for an unforgettable closing-day experience.
Snowbird in Utah is known for its infamous "Bikini Slalom" closing day party. Skiers and snowboarders don their best beach attire and race down the mountain in a fun and festive atmosphere. The event also features live music, BBQs, and après-ski specials, making it a perfect combination of skiing and partying to close out the season.
Mount Bachelor, Oregon
Mount Bachelor in Oregon hosts a closing day party known as "The Great Ski Race." This event features a costume race, where participants dress up in creative and humorous outfits and race down the mountain. The event also includes live music, food and drink specials, and a festive atmosphere, making it a popular choice for closing-day celebrations.
Insider Tips for Closing Day Parties
- Plan Ahead Closing day parties can get crowded, so be sure to plan ahead. Arrive early to secure parking and get a good spot for the festivities. Check the resort's website or social media pages for event details and schedules.
- Dress Up Many closing day parties have a costume theme, so don't be shy to dress up and join the fun. Wearing creative and humorous outfits can add to the festive atmosphere and make for great photo opportunities.
- Stay Safe As with any event, it's important to stay safe during closing day parties. Drink responsibly, be aware of your surroundings, and follow all resort rules and regulations. Remember that skiing or snowboarding under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous and not recommended.
- Capture the Moment Closing Day parties are unique experiences, so be sure to capture the moment with photos and videos.
These are just some of the many closing day parties and events that take place at ski resorts across North America, offering a fun and festive way to bid farewell to the ski season while enjoying spring skiing conditions and après-ski celebrations.
April 6–9 and 15: Reggae Fest and Pond Skimming Championships, Sugarloaf, Maine
It’s not closing day, per se, but this spring bash is one of the best festivals of the season, and if you can get in some turns, too, you can’t go wrong. Musical highlights this year include Mighty Mystic, DELA & Rock Steady Easy, and Soul Rebel Project. Closer to closing day, Sugarloaf is also the home of the East Coast Pond Skimming Championship on April 15, which takes place on the pond just above the ski beach.
April 8–9: Cardboard Classic and Spring Splashdown, Steamboat Resort
Steamboat pulls out all the stops during its Springalicious mega fest that officially winds down the season. The highlights are the Cardboard Classic on Sat., April 8, where skiers cobble together homemade snow crafts from boxes, and the Splashdown pond skim on Sunday, April 9, complete with costumes and prizes.
April 9: Downhill Dummy, Tahoe Donner, Calif.
Look to the community hills for some of the best events, like the Downhill Dummy at this Tahoe-area mountain. What’s a downhill dummy? Pretty much anything you want, mounted on skis or snowboard, and sent careening down the hill. This year’s theme is superheroes, and prizes will be awarded for best design, fastest time, longest air, and best crash.
April 15: Elk Camp Surf and Snow Beach Party, Snowmass
Don your best spring costume, try your hand at the pond skim, then warm up in the slopeside hot tubs at Elk Camp during the 4th annual Surf and Snow Beach Party. Looking for next-level spring hijinks? Hop on a margarita blender bike, a stationary bike that you can self-powder to blend your après beverage to perfection. You have to see it to believe it.
April 15: Pump House Beach Party, Jay Peak Resort, Vt.
This untraditional closing day party takes place inside, at the resort’s Pump House Water Park, with bikini- and board shorts-clad revellers enjoying the facility’s poolside vibe after their last day shredding the slopes of Jay.
April 15-16: Loveland Derby, Loveland Ski Area
This beloved community race weekend is an annual tradition put on by the Loveland Ski Club and is open to racers and the race-curious alike. There’s a non-competitive course, called Switchback, as well as a competitive one, Twist. Switchback is open to kids in the U8-U14 age groups, while Twist is designed for adults and older kids (U14 and up). The deadline to sign up is Thursday (April 13).
May 22: Slush Cup, Banff Sunshine
One of the longest-running pond skims on the continent, celebrating 95 years this spring (with two years off during the pandemic), this iconic event traditionally takes place on Banff Sunshine’s last day of the season. Skiers attempt to cross an icy pond while dressed in the wildest costumes they can think up. Plan to continue the celebration afterwards at Mad Trapper’s Saloon at the base, with live tunes and drink specials.
May 27: Spring Splash, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows wraps up the season with its Spring Splash, an event that features a pond skim, live music, and festive après-ski vibes. Participants can dress in costume and attempt to skim across the pond, followed by a party at the base area with music and drinks.
May 28: The Slush Huck, Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin, known for its long season, hosts The Slush Huck, a pond skim event that takes place on Memorial Day weekend. Participants can show off their creativity with costumes and attempt to skim across the pond, followed by live music, food, and drinks at the base area.
Fun facts about pond skimming and spring ski resort events
- Pond skimming has a long history: Pond skimming events, where skiers or snowboarders attempt to skim across a pond of water, have been around for decades and have become a popular tradition at many ski resorts. Some events, such as the Slush Cup at Banff Sunshine in Alberta, Canada, have been running for 95 years, making them some of the longest-running pond skims on the continent.
- Creative costumes are a big part of the fun: Participants in pond skimming events often don creative costumes to add to the fun and entertainment of the event. Costumes can range from silly and humorous to elaborate and creative, with participants dressing up as superheroes, animals, or in themed group costumes. The more outrageous the costume, the more fun and memorable the event!
- Après-ski festivities abound: Spring ski resort events often include lively après-ski festivities, with live music, food, and drinks to celebrate the end of the ski season. These festivities can create a festive atmosphere and provide an opportunity for skiers and snowboarders to socialize, relax, and enjoy the springtime ambiance.
- Unique event combinations: Some spring ski resort events, such as the Beach'n Egg Hunt at Mount Bachelor in Oregon, combine skiing or snowboarding with other activities to create a unique and memorable experience. In this case, participants can search for hidden Easter eggs while enjoying the slopes, adding a fun twist to the traditional ski resort event.
- Weather and conditions can vary: Spring skiing conditions can vary greatly depending on the location and weather. Some ski resorts may have warm and sunny weather with slushy snow conditions, while others may still have colder temperatures and firmer snow. Participants in pond skimming events may encounter different challenges depending on the conditions, adding an element of unpredictability and excitement to the event.
- Sustainability and environmental awareness: Many ski resorts now incorporate sustainability and environmental awareness into their spring events. This may include using biodegradable materials for costumes or event decorations, promoting Leave No Trace principles, and raising awareness about environmental issues affecting mountain communities.
Overall, spring ski resort events and pond skimming are fun and festive traditions that bring skiers and snowboarders together to celebrate the end of the ski season in a unique and entertaining way. From creative costumes to après-ski festivities, these events offer a memorable way to say goodbye to winter and welcome the arrival of spring on the slopes.