When Does The Ski Season End? Resort Closing Dates Around The World (Surprising Results)

by Travis McCullough | Posted On: August 31st, 2022
skier relaxing

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In a perfect world, ski season would never end and we would swim through waist-deep powder all summer.  The length of a ski season varies depending on the region, snowpack, weather, and a resort’s profitability, so what does a typical ski season look like across the world?

Ski resorts in the northern hemisphere are generally open from October-April/May.  Seasonally, this is the same in the southern hemisphere, but their winter begins in June and their spring ends around October or November.

cat ski
Photo by John M licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Major Factors That Influence Ski Season Length

All of the factors that decide how long a resort will be open are in mother nature’s hands, except for two:

  • Altitude
  • Latitude
  • Snowpack
  • Snowmaking facilities
  • Slope aspect
  • Resort profitability
  • Property leasing

Even though nature typically dictates ski season length, the decision ultimately comes down to a resort’s profitability during the late spring and whether or not it has a permit to operate outside of a regular ski season.

Profitability

This factor is one of the two that human beings actually have control over when it comes to ski season length.  Ski resorts are generally busiest during the winter and even more so during holiday weekends like Christmas (the major holiday for ski resorts) or Spring Break late in the season.

Val Thorens Resort
Photo by Richard Allaway under CC BY 2.0

For a resort to consider staying open later into the spring, they would still need to be able to make a profit.  This is more difficult in the spring partially because the weather will be warmer, requiring more work from the snowmaking and trail maintenance departments.

On top of this, many skiers have hung their gear up for the season.  Higher overhead costs coupled with fewer customers create a situation where most resort owners don’t want to risk a massive financial loss. 

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Property Leasing

Many ski resorts lie on public lands, such as national forests, which means that the ski resort owners don’t actually own the land it sits on.  Generally, the resort will lease the property for a few months, after which the land becomes public property once again.

This means that even if a resort wants to stay open later into the spring or summer, there is a good chance that they wouldn’t be able to do so, at least without having to reapply for another lease.

ski resort in Meribel

Altitude

Generally, resorts that sit at a higher altitude will operate for a larger portion of the year.  High elevation mountains get cold quicker in the fall and stay cooler into the spring and summer, this means earlier preseason snowstorms and lower spring temperatures that can sustain snow for longer.

Latitude

A ski resort’s latitudinal location will also help determine the length of its operating season.  Higher degrees of latitude in either direction means a further distance from the equator and usually a colder climate. 

Snowpack

This one is obvious but essential nonetheless.  Ski resorts need snow to operate, but the length of their season depends more on receiving steady snowfall throughout the year than on a late-season storm or two.

france snow ski

As the spring wears on, resorts need a solid store of snow built up to combat warmer temperatures that are constantly melting a resort’s base – even if snowmaking machines help.

Slope Aspect

The direction in which a slope is facing significantly affects how it will hold snow, especially in warmer months.  Just how prevalent this effect is will also depend on which hemisphere the ski resort is located.

In the northern hemisphere, south-facing slopes receive more direct sunlight and melt out faster than north-facing slopes.  This is the opposite in the southern hemisphere, where north-facing slopes receive more direct sunlight – due to the position of the Earth relative to the Sun’s rays.

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When Does The US Ski Season End?

Skiing in Utah
Photo by Lietmotiv licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The United State’s skis season can fluctuate dramatically, depending on what part of the country you are located.  Typically, resorts in the central US have the shortest ski seasons, followed by resorts in the Northeastern part of the country, and resorts in the Western US have the longest ski seasons.

A typical US ski season lasts about six months, ranging from November to April or May.  Resorts in the central part of the country will be shorter (December-March), while western mountains can stay open until August or September.

Timberline Lodge consistently has the longest ski season out of any US resort.  They are located on top of Mt. Hood in Government Camp, Oregon which is the tallest mountain in the state.

Believe it or not, they were open for the 2021-2022 ski season until August 28, which will give them a 259 -day-long ski season or just over 70% of the entire year.

Longest Projected US Ski Seasons 2022/2023

Resort/LocationOpening DayClosing DaySeason Length
Timberline Lodge – OregonSept. 27, 2022May 31, 2023246 Days
Arapahoe Basin – ColoradoOct. 22, 2022June 4, 2023225 Days
Mammoth Mountain – CaliforniaOct. 29, 2022June 4, 2023218 Days
Palisades Tahoe – CaliforniaNov. 5, 2022May 29, 2023205 Days
Loveland Ski Area – ColoradoOct. 29, 2022May 7, 2023190 Days
Source

When Does Canada’s Ski Season End?

british columbia canada ski

Canada’s ski season looks very similar to that of the United States in duration.  Since Canada is so far north of the equator, there isn’t much fluctuation in season lengths between years, with the majority of resorts open in November or December, extending through April or May.

The world-renowned Whistler Blackcomb Resort holds Canada’s title for the longest ski season. Even though the main mountain is only open for about 180 days per year, the Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb Mountain opens exclusively from the beginning of June through the middle of July for a one-of-a-kind summer skiing experience.

Longest Projected Canadian Ski Seasons 2022/2023

Resort/LocationOpening DayClosing DaySeason Length
Whistler Blackcomb – British ColumbiaNov. 24, 2022July 14, 2023222 Days
Sunshine Village – AlbertaNov. 10, 2022May 21, 2023192 Days
Lake Louise – AlbertaNov. 5, 2022May 7, 2023183 Days
Sommet Saint-Sauveur – QuebecNov. 18, 2022May 1, 2023164 Days
Marmot Basin-Jasper – AlbertaNov. 19, 2022May 1, 2023163 Days
Source

When Does The European Ski Season End?

St Anton Austria
Photo by Johannes Gruber licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0)

Europe has a whopping 41 countries with ski areas, making it the most skiable continent on the planet.  Even though Europe is brimming with ski resorts, it doesn’t necessarily mean their ski season is any longer than the United States or Canada.

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Like the US and Canada, Europe’s ski resorts lie in the northern hemisphere, and many sit along the same longitudinal lines.  Most resorts open toward the end of November and operate through the middle of April, although some higher elevation resorts offer year-round glacier skiing.

Average European Ski Seasons 2022/2023

CountryNumber Of ResortsAverage Season Length
Albania2December-March
Andorra8December-April
Armenia4December-March
Austria80December-April
Azerbaijan2December-April
Belarus1December-April
Belgium3December-February
Bosnia & Herzegovina8December-April
Bulgaria21December-April
Croatia3December-April
Cyprus1January-April
Czech Republic49December-March
Denmark1November-April
Estonia2December-April
Finland35December-February
France416December-April
Germany690December-March
Greece24December-March
Hungary4December-March
Iceland7November-April
Itlay288December-April
Kosovo2December-March
Latvia17December-April
Liechtenstein1December-April
Lithuania4December-April
Montenegro3December-April
North Macedonia7November-March
Norway24November-April
Poland12December-April
Portugal1November-April
Romania45November-April
Serbia13December-April
Slovakia28December-April
Slovenia17December-April
Spain45December-April
Sweden38November-May
Switzerland>100November-April
Turkey20December-April
Ukraine6November-May
UK11December-April
Source

When Does Asia’s Ski Season End?

ski in japan

Surprisingly, Asia holds a wealth of ski resorts that can hold their own when compared to resorts around the world.  Asia is a vast continent, so the ski seasons vary quite a bit in length.  Most countries advertise their ski seasons lasting from 3-6 months.

CountryNumber Of ResortsAverage Season Length
Armenia4December-March
Azerbaijan2December-April
China9November-March
Georgia4December-April
India11January-March
Iran23January-March
Japan>500November-April
Kazakhstan4November-March
South Korea15December-March
Kyrgyzstan3October-April
Lebanon6December-April
Mongolia1November-March
Pakistan9January-March
Russia171December-April
Syria1January-March
Tajikistan1December-March
Turkey20December-April
Turkmenistan1December-March
UAE1Year-round (Indoor)
Uzbekistan1December-March
Source

When Does The Ski Season End In South America?

Valle Nevado Chili ski

Believe it or not, some of the best and most technical skiing in the world happens in South America.  Argentina and Chile are both world-class destinations for powderhounds and mountaineering enthusiasts alike.

CountryNumber Of ResortsAverage Season Length
Argentina10June-October
Chile19June-October
Source

When Does The Ski Season End In Australia/New Zealand?

New Zealand skiing

Like South America, Australia and New Zealand offer great “summer” skiing opportunities.  The typical season runs from June until October, which makes year-round skiing possible if you travel between the Northern and Southern hemisphere.

Resort/LocationOpening DayClosing DaySeason Length
Whakapapa – New ZealandJune 3, 2022Oct. 24, 2022144 Days
Cardrona – New ZealandJune 11, 2022Oct. 16, 2022128 Days
Mt. Buller – AustraliaJune 3, 2022Oct. 2, 2022122 Days
Mt. Hutt – New ZealandJune 17, 2022Oct. 16, 2022122 Days
Perisher – New ZealandJune 4, 2022Oct. 2, 2022121 Days
Source

When Does Ski Season In Africa End?

Skiing at Oukaimeiden, Morocco Africa
Photo by Jørn Eriksson licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you asked someone whether or not you can ski in Africa, most of their responses would be “No way!” or “Absolutely not!”  This simply isn’t true though, Africa has ski resorts in multiple countries in the Northern and Southern hemispheres with combined ski seasons that last from June until March!

CountryNumber Of ResortsAverage Season Length
Algeria2December-March
Egypt2Year Round! (Indoor)
Lesotho1June-August
Morocco5December-March
Namibia1June-November
South Africa3June-August
Source

Summary Of Average Ski Season Length By Continent

ContinentAverage Number Of Skiable MonthsNumber Of Potentially Skiiable Months
Africa1012
Asia712
Australia/New Zealand56
Europe812
North America812
South America33
Source
skiing at Chamonix 
Photo by James licensed under CC BY 2.0

Final Thoughts

Even though most of us aren’t lucky enough to live in an area that offers year-round skiing, there are more than enough travel options out there to make it happen.  Whether you live in the Southern or Northern hemisphere, there are plenty of places to ski no matter the season.

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