Spring officially arrived on Monday, which — unfortunately for skiers and snowboarders — means that the end of the ski season is approaching.
And while it’s sad to see the snow slowly melt away, the approach of warmer weather also brings the joyous return of one of the most hallowed traditions in mountain towns: the end-of-season party.
Resorts across the country have different ways of celebrating the memories the past ski season has provided, but they generally involve sunshine, cold beer and hopefully a little live music.
Here, in no particular order, is our roundup of four of the best end-of-season parties from across North America:
Spring Back to Vail: April 14-16, Vail, Colorado
If there’s one activity perhaps most associated with the end of the ski season outside of drinking and wearing less clothing on the slopes, it’s pond skimming. And no resort elevates the high art of the pond skim quite like Vail Mountain Resort.
Every April, the resort hosts Spring Back to Vail, a weekend of parties, concerts and contests set amidst the beautiful backdrop of Vail Valley. And while all of the weekend’s events are fun, the crown jewel is undoubtedly the World Pond Skimming Championships.
Each year, 75 skiers and snowboarders don their finest costume, and bomb down the slopes at Vail’s Golden Peak in an attempt to make it across a pond in style. It’s open to anyone willing to pay the $75 registration fee, and the winner receives a free Vail Resorts Epic Pass for the upcoming season and a brand new pair of Liberty skis.
World Ski and Snowboard Festival: April 7-16, Whistler, British Columbia
There may be no bigger end-of-season bash than the week-long World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF) in Whistler.
With a packed seven-day schedule, the WSSF offers everything from film screenings and art shows to DogFest — a parade of hundreds of dogs through the village.
But if you’re really looking for a unique experience, take in the Scar Wars Roller Derby event.
It’s a fundraiser to help out local roller derby clubs, it’s held in a ballroom and offers you the chance to drink beer and watch people on roller skates hip check each other. What more could you want?
Fourth of July at Mammoth Mountain: July 4, Mammoth Lakes, California
Celebrate Independence Day the way the founding fathers would have wanted you to with fireworks, live music and top-to-bottom runs at Mammoth Mountain.
In the midst of a banner year, Mammoth announced back in February that it will stay open until at least the Fourth, giving snowboarder and skiers the opportunity to get some super late season turns in while showing off a little patriotic pride.
The days surrounding the Fourth are filled with a handful of fun events, including the Last Call party at the Summit and the Footloose Freedom Mile race in town. It’s all capped off with the annual fireworks show at Crowley Lake.
The Nor’Beaster at Killington: April 9-May 1, Killington, Vermont
No mountain on the East Coast does après quite like Killington, and no Northeastern resort closes out the season with as much panache as the Beast of the East, with their annual Nor’Beaster celebration spanning over four weekends.
Every year, Killington hosts the Bear Mountain Mountain Mogul Challenge, pond skimming, Dazed and Defrosted music festival and the May Day Fun Slalom in successive weeks through April and into May to celebrate the longest ski season on the East Coast.
The competitions are all about having fun (the Mogul Challenge excludes any former or current U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association members from entering) and at each event the beer flows like water. There’s live music galore, and a crowd infused with all the pent-up energy that the long, bitterly cold Northeastern winters instill in residents. It gets wild.