The Beginning of the End

Keystone Celebrates Closing Weekend 2022

The first of four Summit County resorts kissed the 2022 ski season goodbye with style on Sunday, April 17th. In keeping with annual tradition, the resort marked closing weekend with an entire day of fresh snow, making the end even more bittersweet. Most of the resort’s 3148 acres and 20 lifts were still open for the day, and there were no crowds and no lift lines keeping skiers from enjoying powder stashes that just kept growing.

Keystone's official closing weekend clip reel.

This was a special time in the world, with Passover, Ramadan, and Easter all coinciding. There is something about the major religions celebrating simultaneously that should remind us of a kind of universal humanity. A Pink Moon peaked on Saturday, punctuating the weekend and adding a bit of beauty and drama as the moon lit up the snow. The moon this season is not named for color, but because the timing coincides with the blooming of the creeping phlox, a bright pink flower. Other names for this moon include the “Pesach” moon for its proximity to Passover and the “Paschal” moon for Easter.

Keystone Resort's A51 Terrain Park, Spring 2022

Keystone A51 Terrain Park

Saturday at Keystone was also fantastic, with spring conditions and great snow from earlier in the week. There was a rail jam and music, followed by a great apré scene at The Snake featuring local DJ JustinCredible. On Sunday, a DJ also celebrated in Keystone’s Mountain House Base area, and after two years away, the Keystone Slush Cup returned with a vengeance. Cooler temps did not stop competitors from jumping and sliding their way across the icy water in colorful costumes. Representing event sponsors, the Toyota Yeti joined into the festivities and was the final competitor to land in the icy water.

Keystone kicked off this season on October 22nd of 2021, so in a short six months, they’ll be hosting skiers again. Until then, the snowy slopes will feed the rivers, and the two-county kayak parks will be firing! Heart-thumping rapids will create some epic whitewater rafting opportunities. The snowmelt powers local breweries and distilleries, and funnels into the Dillon Reservoir. The idyllic hiking and biking trails start to dry up. Keystone opens back up for bikers on June 22nd, with lifts and gondolas equipped to carry bikers and their gear to the top. Keystone’s downhill biking is some of the best in the country, with runs from green to black and tons of well-maintained, man-made features.

Copper Mountain will keep the festivities going next weekend with the 10 Barrel Hosted “Hella Hectic” event. The competition promises to be a pond skim on steroids, with a course of banked turns, rollers, step-ups and drops leading to the pond. Spectators at Copper’s Center Village can see the whole thing as competitors crash or sail across the water feature. Copper’s closing weekend features free live music from bands Letters to Cleo and American Authors, swag giveaways, and a scavenger hunt for a free set of Nokian tires.

Meanwhile, locals celebrated at Keystone’s mid-mountain lake area with a DJ of their own until they were escorted to the bottom by ski patrol. While this season had some of the sparsest snow in recent memory, there’s always a twinge of sadness at the end of a season, as the locals, the seasonal workers, and the thousands of visitors to the resort close out one more chapter. Every winter season is unique, offering different conditions and sights from the season before. Locals will spend the summer predicting what the next winter’s snow season might bring, but no one will be right.

Breck will host a pond skim on April 30th with live music, but that’s not the end of this season. The resort will stay open this year until mid-May, with about 1,000 skiable acres! They’ll also be the first to reopen for summer festivities this year. The lifts start turning again on June 17th, with access to Breck’s Epic Summer Fun Park. The park features a coaster and alpine slide, mini-golf, trampolines/bungee jumping for the kids, 4×4 tours, and more. They also offer a bike haul and a downhill trail system for bikers.

Winter is still going strong at the Legend, and Arapahoe Basin has yet to announce a closing date. Their epic mid-mountain pond skim should start to develop around the middle of May this year and keep growing. Watch skiers and boarders skim the pond as you ride the lift up and then give it a try! Every Saturday, finish the day with one of their awesome free concerts and celebrate a brew festival on May 29th, and pride weekend on June 4th. When the snow gets too thin, sometime in June, A-Basin will decide when the Colorado ski season officially ends this year. 

The Beach at Arapahoe Basin

The Beach at Arapahoe Basin

Brand new mountain bike runs and the excitement of a Via Ferrata course await in the summer, but for now, the ski season is far from over. There is nothing like skiing or snowboarding on perfect snow, high in the Rockies, in a t-shirt in the spring at A-Basin. Snow conditions would still beat most places in the country, most time of year. Air temps reach around 70 degrees, but the spring weather is punctuated by squalls of fresh powder a couple of times a week. “The Beach” at the base becomes a party zone, where locals gather and celebrate the close of the season with kegs and cases.

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