If you've been hopping with us for awhile, you know we frogs like to visit theme parks when crowds are at their lowest. OK, really, who doesn't? When it comes to hitting the slopes, we're no different. We like to pick the best time to ski so that there is plenty of powder and we're not having to fight for space on the slopes or afterwards at the après spots.
With a shorter season, families don't have quite as many options when deciding the best time to ski — but overall there are better times than others. Just like with theme parks, kids' school schedules and holidays are the biggest predictors of crowd levels — and prices! If you can schedule your ski trip around times when the tadpoles are in school, you'll find fewer crowds, more hotel availability and better rates. Now that we're selling discount hotels and lift tickets to some of the top family-friendly ski resorts in the U.S., we thought it would be a most excellent time to talk about the best time to ski in Colorado, Utah and Lake Tahoe, Calif. Let's go!
Busiest Times to Ski
Before we get into the specific best dates for the 2018-2019 season, we'd like to talk more generally about the busiest times to ski. These are the days after Christmas and through the New Year, around Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President's Day. Generally these three times are considered peak season. Spring break is also a popular time to hit the slopes, but because it varies by school district, it isn't always considered peak peak season. The week of Christmas is also a busy time and an especially expensive time for booking a hotel, but it's not quite as busy as these others.
Least Busy Times to Ski
Not to be confused with the best time to ski, the least busy times to ski and the least expensive times to ski are generally at the beginning and end of every ski season. While the resorts have powder-making capabilities, we generally wouldn't plan a full-on ski vacation months in advance for November or early December. You just can't predict mother nature!
The same can be said for mid- to late April. Sometimes there is a lot of powder and the season can get extended, like in Lake Tahoe two seasons ago when at least one resort was open into summer, but that's not something you can plan ahead for. We like to think of it as a bonus — perfect for a last-minute getaway or a way to get a little more milage out of those Epic passes.
2018-2019 Predicted Vail Resort Opening & Closing Days
Here are the predicted ski season opening and closing dates for the Vail ski resorts. Note that all open and close dates are tentative and subject to change!
Resort — Opening Day-Closing Day
Vail — 11/16/2018-4/21/2019
Beaver Creek — 11/21/2018-4/21/2019
Breckenridge — 11/9/2018-4/21/2019
Keystone — 11/9/2018-4/21/2019
Park City — 11/21/2018-4/7/2019
Northstar — 11/16/2018-4/14/2019
Heavenly — 11/16/2018-TBD
Kirkwood — 11/21/2018-4/7/2019
Whistler Blackcomb — 11/22/2018-TBD
Best Time to Ski
Generally early January through early March (minus the holidays) is the best time to ski. It's peak powder time, and the slopes are less crowded. Some of the resorts closest to major cities such as Breckenridge will see more crowds from local skiers on weekends, but generally it's smooth sailing. January tends to be the coldest month. Late February and early March are perfect because of warmer temps, more sunshine and more snowfall.
Now that we've outlined the general best time to ski in Colorado, Utah and Lake Tahoe, let's look at what we expect to be the best dates and the busiest dates for the upcoming ski season.
Busiest Days to Ski in 2018-2019
New Year's Eve — Dec. 26, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019
MLK Day — Jan. 18-21, 2019
President's Day — Feb. 15-24, 2019
Moderate Ski Crowds in 2018-2019
Christmas — Dec. 19-25, 2018
Spring Break — March 8-April 7, 2019
Best Days to Ski in 2018-2019
Jan. 7-17, 2019
Jan. 22-Feb. 17, 2019
Feb. 25-March 7, 2019
Now you know the best time to ski if you're headed to Colorado, Utah or Lake Tahoe this winter. Need help deciding on the best places to ski? Look no further than our handy ski resort matrix, created with families in mind! Then book your discount hotel and lift tickets with us.