The short spring and fall here in the mountains are given the nickname “mud season” for good reason. In late April as snow begins to melt off of the peaks, mountain paths go from frozen to wet and sloppy. The weather becomes more unpredictable, and afternoon thunderstorms are more frequent. By the time the first official day of summer rolls around the trails have dried, summer activities like golf courses and bike hauls begin to operate, and tourists begin to arrive. The summer season ends around mid-September when the weather begins to turn colder and more volatile and rain gives way to winter snow. While summer and winter are both great fun, mud season might be even better.
Mud Season Is the Best Season
Celebrating Spring in the Mountains
Keystone's official closing weekend clip reel.
The seasons are slightly different, but they have a lot in common. The spring season is muddier than normal as the snow melts and flows towards the lakes. The ski areas close down one by one as the season progresses. Fall is drier as the grass and vegetation die off, but storms start to be more common. During the fall you can count on an afternoon thunderstorm or two to be the area, although they are usually relatively short. The weather is usually mild during these months, staying a moderate 65-70 degrees F during the day. Nights can still be chilly, dropping to 30 or 40 degrees.
Keystone Resort's A51 Terrain Park, Spring 2022
One of the most well-kept secrets in this county is spring skiing. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to ski or snowboard in a T-shirt, this is your time of year. Arapahoe Basin stays open into June, and now Breckenridge stays open almost as long. What you may not know is that both resorts often have heavy snowstorms through the month of May! Also going into fall the resorts often have the best base they’ve had all season. That means killer snow conditions, sun, and tons of fun left to be had on the resorts, with far fewer people.
Copper Mountain's closing weekend Hella Hectic event.
As the rest of the country turns their attention to summer sports and beach and lake vacations, the slopes are almost completely empty starting April 1st. That leaves two weeks at Keystone, three at Copper, and now a month and a half at Breck to enjoy great conditions without competition. If you have a pass to A-Basin you can ski well into the month of June, with sun, live music, and fantastic conditions lasting until closing day.
The only drawback to a spring visit is that hiking is more unpredictable than any other time of year. In the winter you can hike the trails in snowshoes or cross country skis, and in the summer and fall, they are dry and packed. Spring can be an awkward time to hike as the melting snow makes trails muddy and unpassable, and conditions can change quickly. Make sure if you do hike, you check trail conditions ahead of time and have waterproof boots.
Spring is a great time to score deals on lodging with less competition, and you can get a full condo with a private hot tub for half of the peak-season rates. There is a more laid-back vibe around town as the locals stop working endless hours, and you can find space at local bars and restaurants that are no longer crowded with tourists. Some shops and restaurants do start to close for the offseason, but many more stay open, and there is still plenty to see and do. Check out local ski shops to get clearance deals on last year’s gear or the used rental fleet.