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7 Spring Skiing Destinations with Great ‘00s Nostalgia

A great ski resort is one that has evolved with the times while maintaining a sense of itself throughout the decades. Which is precisely what these 7 resorts have done. If you’re looking for an old-school late-season ski vibe, you’ll find it here.

Nostalgia and skiing—name a more iconic duo. From chalets adorned with antique wooden skis, to retro beer advertisements from the 80’s filled with smiling skiers in neon jumpsuits and mad-scientist perms, undoubtedly one of the best parts of any ski trip is the crush of memory that goes with it. You can feel it in the air, smell it in the musty old condo, see it in the crusty old locals who are still out there getting first chair as they have done for the last 40 years.

A great ski resort is one that has evolved with the times while maintaining a sense of itself throughout the decades. Which is precisely what these 7 resorts have done. If you’re looking for an old-school late-season ski vibe, you’ll find it here.

But first, what is the 2000s ski vibe?

A person wearing 2000's outfits pond-skiing with a crowed in the backgroundOpens a new window(Opens in a new window)
Did someone say “pond skim”?? Photo by Patrick Breen

Everyone knows the 80s and 90s. Big hair, big mountains, big neon, and spandex for days. But what about the 2000’s? From Smashmouth blaring over every après speaker to the debut of Out Cold starring Zach Galifinakis, there are a few things that set 2000s-era skiing apart.

  1. Independent Vibe
    Like it or not, skiing is big business these days. With multi-resort ownership comes awesome perks like state-of-the-art infrastructure and immaculately-run operations. But have we perhaps lost a certain rugged and rogue je ne sais quoi?
  2. Tons of Snow
    As Bob Dylan famously never said, “Climes they are a-changin’.” The simple fact is, there was about 10cms more snow(Opens in a new window) on average during the 2000s compared to the 2010s.
  3. Cheaper Lift Tickets
    Inflation didn’t just hit your local grocery store aisle; it positively walloped most ski resorts.
  4. Party Atmosphere
    From tee shirts to tiki-themed pond skims, spring skiers in the 2000s knew how to have a helluva good time.

But fear not! These 7 resorts will bring you back to the good old days this spring.

Arapahoe Basin | Colorado

Considered by many the “King of Spring” for the Rockies, A-Basin(Opens in a new window) is what spring skiing dreams are made of. We’re talking vast terrain (with over 13,000 feet elevation, 700 acres, and 145 trails across north and south-facing bowls); heaps of late-season snow (with an average April/May snowfall of 66 inches), and a full-on party atmosphere. The legendary 'Beach' parking lot transforms into a lively après-ski scene, where grills sizzle and laughter echoes against the backdrop of descending skiers. A-Basin isn't just a ski resort; it's a spring skiing icon, a beacon of nostalgic vibes set amongst big-mountain runs and small-world camaraderie. Everyone knows everyone, and if you don’t, you will soon enough.

Wolf Creek Ski Area | Colorado

Three words: Snow, snow, and more snow. (Okay, that was technically more than three words, but who’s counting!) Nestled in Colorado's San Juan and Rio Grande national forests, Wolf Creek(Opens in a new window) is like a rip in the space-time continuum. It’s a throwback to a time when lift tickets were cheap and powder oh-so deep. Boasting an impressive 315 inches of annual snowfall, with a solid 63 inches in March alone, it's a haven for those chasing the mythical “Lost City of Pow.” Add to that the community-centric Local Appreciation and College Days, offering a slice of inclusive, retro fun, and you've got a spring skiing hotspot that's not just about the slopes but the very soul of skiing itself.

Bridger Bowl | Montana

Located just outside of Bozeman, Bridger Bowl(Opens in a new window) is a non-profit community ski area known for its reasonable prices and great terrain. It has a strong local feel and is renowned for its "cold smoke" powder—a lightweight, airy, fairy-dusted dream substance. The resort's commitment to preserving its old-school charm is evident in its lack of crowds, affordable lift prices, and focus on traditional ski values. If you’re looking for a more authentic, less commercialized skiing experience, where the focus is on enjoying the mountains and connecting with nature, you’ll find it at Bridger.

Timberline Lodge | Oregon

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Late season skiing at Mt Hood’s Palmer Snowfield. Photo by Smcd22

Not many ski resorts can boast being the backdrop of one of the best movies of all time (The Shining). Even fewer can also claim to be set atop an active stratovolcano. But contrary to the doomsday-horror scenarios, Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge(Opens in a new window) is actually serenity (and shred-ity) personified. Family-operated since May 1955, and with a 1930s-era lodge as your après basecamp, the old-school nostalgia here is practically oozing from the heavy timber walls and enormous stone fireplaces. Add in one of the longest ski seasons in the country, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a premier spring (not to mention summer!) ski party. Oh, and did we mention lift tickets barely break the $100 threshold? In short, Timberline has it all—late season snow, epic history, affordability, and a full-on good time.

Sugar Bowl | California 

Draped in nostalgia as deep as its snow, Sugar Bowl(Opens in a new window) is known for powder stashes and historic roots. Not to mention one of the rowdiest pond skim(Opens in a new window) parties in the country. Located near Lake Tahoe, Sugar Bowl was the first ski area in California to install a chairlift and the first on the West Coast to install a gondola lift. Today, it retains its classic vibe. The resort is known for excellent spring skiing conditions and has a rich history intertwined with the development of skiing in the American West.

Mammoth Mountain | California

A snowboarded hitting a red jump at a resort, with snow-covered peaks in the backgroundOpens a new window(Opens in a new window)
Hitting the Mammoth Unbound terrain park. Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan

What’s in a name? In Mammoth’s case, quite a lot. This place is gargantuan, massive, you might even say… mammoth. Boasting the highest lift-served terrain in California at 11,053 feet, Mammoth Mountain(Opens in a new window) ensures over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain well into the late season. With an impressive average April/May snowfall of 68 inches and a maximum snow depth of 133 inches, it offers exceptional conditions through May, and often into summer. Beyond skiing, the vibe here is top notch. For one, getting there is pretty difficult as there’s no major airport within a 5-hour drive, which weeds out a lot of folks who don’t want to “earn their turns” so to speak. Additionally, the village does a great job of toeing the line between manufactured cheesiness and self-aware kitsch. In other words, you can go the cookie cutter cocktail route or do dive bar shotskis with “Ol’ Crusty Rusty”—the choice is always yours. Plus, the combination of warm days, freezing nights, dedicated grooming, and rowdy atmosphere makes Mammoth a top choice for those seeking both extensive spring skiing and a taste of the old-school mountain experience.

Killington Ski Resort | Vermont

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A landscape view of a snow-covered resort ski hill, with pine trees dusted in snow and rolling mountains in the background

“An East Coast ski mountain?!” you balk. Yep, an East Coast ski mountain. But not just any East Coaster! Killington is the “Beast of the East”, the spring-season stalwart, the vanguard of Vermont skiing. With a season often extending into late May, Killington is the East Coast’s largest ski resort and has the largest vertical drop in New England. Sure, this doesn’t really hold a hand-warmer to its Western counterparts. But what it lacks in vert and terrain it more than makes up for with a reliable spring snowpack, a rowdy yet relaxed atmosphere with a number of fun festivals, and a classic Vermont ski vibe dating back to the 1950s.

All in all, if you’re looking for late season snow, sunny days, and sunnier dispositions this spring, then these resorts will do you right. Happy powder hunting!

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