The champagne powder might be gone but spring skiing in Alberta is just revving up. Cue warm sunny days, live music on weekends, a beer or two on an outdoor patio and a party time atmosphere on the ski hill. It’s not so much about the skiing but the fun, camaraderie and that heady feeling of being in the mountains on a bluebird day. And in my books it’s a treat that you never get cold.
Should you be one of those people who actually care more about spring skiing in Alberta than partying on the hill then you’ve hit the jackpot this spring. The snow has been falling consistently since November with Castle Mountain Resort in southern Alberta receiving over 1,000 cm – and the season isn’t even over. All the other Alberta ski resorts in the mountains have also had exceptional years with Sunshine Village Ski Resort receiving 746 cm to date.
What should you wear when you’re spring skiing in Alberta?
Gone are the days of jeans and golf jackets – my go to spring apparel in the ’70’s. While some resorts have you bust out that ugly one piece brightly coloured ski suit from the 80’s for a special event, I’d recommend the following – all available from Sporting Life in Calgary or online. It’s an excellent time to shop as almost all ski wear and accessories are on sale. I’m not including shorts and t-shirts in the recommended list. Wear those if you’re slathered in sunscreen and don’t plan to fall.
Helmet – Just because it’s getting warm outside doesn’t mean you should forget the helmet. Buy one that’s ventilated.
Ski goggles or sunglasses – Check out the line-up from Oakley. I love the optics and natural light through the reflective lenses. For sunglasses Ray-bans are awesome – comfortable and lightweight and the company really stands behind its products should you ever break something. (Their turnaround service is fast.)
Soft shell pants – The Arc’teryx Sentinel Pants for women in azalea pictured below are waterproof thanks to Gore-tex (great if you fall in slushy snow), windproof, breathable and boast side zips for ventilation.
They also have a soft brushed liner that provides lightweight insulation so on very warm days you wouldn’t need to wear any long underwear beneath them. As a side note wash and dry any of your Gore-tex clothing every 10-12 days after heavy activity and every 20-30 days after light activity.
Lightweight Jacket – The Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody Jacket is exceptional for spring. I skied in it on a less than spring like day and with a fleece underneath I was surprisingly warm.
Nix the fleece on a warm day. The hood is a bonus. This would be a great piece to wear hiking in the backcountry as well. An alternative jacket would be the Arc’teryx Raveena though it’s quite a bit more expensive. What it offers is a drop hood and a powder skirt to keep the snow out. For spring skiing I think the Gamma does the trick quite nicely.
Mitts or gloves – Spring skiing is the one time that I actually like gloves over mitts. And there are days that you need nothing at all.
Where to go spring skiing in Alberta
There are five ski resorts in the mountains that offer spring skiing in Alberta. Check out the links below to figure out which special event you want to attend.
There’s literally something for everyone including Easter egg hunts to the infamous Slush Cup at Sunshine. At Marmot they have an Aloha Cup with Hawaiian skirts and coconut bras while Lake Louise has a Bikinis for Breast Cancer day at the end of April.
You can be spring skiing in Alberta all the way through to the May long weekend. Here are the specific closing days for the mountain ski resorts.
- Castle Mountain Resort in southern Alberta is open until April 8th, 2018.
- Mount Norquay near the Banff townsite is scheduled to close on April 15, 2018.
- Sunshine Village Ski Resort will be open until May 21, 2018!
- Lake Louise Ski Resort is scheduled to stay open until May 6, 2018.
- Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park will close on May 6, 2018.
Further reading about adventures in spring
- 5 Early Season Mountain Hikes near Calgary
- A Sea Kayaking Trip in the Broken Group of Islands
- Biking the Dinosaur Trail near Drumheller
Click on the photo below to pin.
Thank you to Sporting Life for making this post possible.