How Long Is A Typical Ski Season?

Ski enthusiasts would love to go skiing all year round. Who wouldn’t want to forget the worries of life, escape to snowy mountains and take in the beautiful views of Mother Nature? 

However, it is best to go skiing at the peak of skiing season for the ultimate experience. So, how long is a typical skiing season?

Ski resorts can only be open sometime in the year. A ski season can have different lengths and times according to various reasons. If you wish to ski all year round, you may have to visit other parts of the world, which is an adventure on its own.

Because ski seasons can vary a lot, it’s always a safe idea to research and check the lengths of ski seasons in different areas of the world or your own country before planning your yearly vacations or ski trips. Read to learn more.

Related: Snowboarding vs. Skiing For Beginners

Ski Season Length Around The World

How Long Is A Typical Ski Season

The exact length of a ski season depends on the quantity of snow and the local Climate. It also depends on the ski resort and how profitable they are to stay open beyond a certain point in the year.

  1. Europe and USA 

For most ski resorts, a typical ski season is between five to six months. The season usually starts in November and goes on till April or May. 

  1. Chile and Argentina

In the Southern hemisphere, the skiing season runs almost the exact opposite. For example, Chile and Argentina’s season runs from mid-June to mid-October.

  1. Other Areas

Following is a general overview of the lengths of ski seasons in different countries worldwide. Of course, these vary according to the weather and the requirements of the resorts. 

  • France: November – April/May
  • Japan: December – March/April
  • New Zealand: June – October
  • Australia: June – October
  • Argentina: June to October

When Do Ski Resorts Open?

Most ski resorts open in October or November. However, some may open earlier or later due to the local weather and the quantity of snow.

Usually, when there is enough snow, ski resorts will decide and open for the first day of the season. Because ski resorts will be studying weather patterns, they usually figure out a day before the opening. 

This day would likely have enough snowfall from past practices to make snow machines work. 

When Do Ski Resorts Close?

Most ski resorts close in April or May. Some alternatives have a higher altitude and have more snowfall, or south-facing ones can stay open until early June or even July.

Main Factors That Affect Ski Season Length

A ski season might open or close earlier than planned for many reasons. We have a lot of uncontrollable variables that mother nature throws at us, leaving us helpless. Here are a few factors that affect the season’s length:

Local Climate & Latitude

The local Climate plays a crucial role in how much snow falls. Snowfall is necessary for resorts to open, and the quantity of snow determines the length of the season.

  1. Ski Resort Altitude

Resorts with higher summit elevations tend to have snow for longer. It is because the temperatures take their time to rise and melt the snow. For example, the resort Sierra Nevada in Europe lies high. Therefore, the season extends to early May.

  1. Percentage Of Slopes Facing Toward The Sun

Slopes in Northern Hemisphere face away from the sun and so are naturally colder and shaded and tend to have much more snow. As a result, the snow lasts longer, so the ski season is longer. The resorts that extend their ski season have most of their slopes away from the sun.

  1. Profitability

Many ski resorts usually close at their planned closing date, even with plenty of snow. It is because the cost of running a ski resort is also an essential factor to consider.

After Easter, the number of resort visitors keeps dropping, and not enough revenue justifies the expense of running the lifts.

Minimum Snow For Ski Resorts To Open

  • Minimum snow

Each resort is different and has different requirements. At a minimum, a snow base of around 20 inches is best. Ideally, double that before the leading groomers can open.

  • Rockier terrain

You will need more snow to cover the terrain if the terrain is rockier. It happens in usually in resorts at higher altitudes.

  • Grassy terrain

On the other hand, if the terrain is grassy, you need less base of snow to open the slopes.

Why Do You Need A Base Snow?

With a base of snow on the ground, it helps fresh snow to stick easier. It includes artificially produced snow by snow machines. Ski resorts are increasingly relying on snow machines to meet the requirements.

Ski resorts can also open without any snow. However, if the temperatures are cold enough, such places utilize groomers to start the season.

Do Ski Resorts Stay Open If There Is Snow?

Resorts can continue to stay open if they have enough staff and visitors to manage the costs of running the resort and also turn a profit. But, unfortunately, most resorts will not. Because skiers rely on previous years’ patterns, they can make intelligent decisions. 

They have enough snow to last them longer if there is a massive spell of snowfall in the middle of the season. A resort may decide to extend the season ahead of time.

What Is The Best Time To Go Skiing?

Avoid Public Holidays

Christmas time is usually the busiest period. If you have the choice to visit apart from public holidays that would be a good decision. Skiing mid-week, you will have more space on the slopes and less wait time at the lifts.

Early Or Late Season

Early-season or late-season skiing is a great way to save money and have more space on the piste. Ski resorts announce discounts during this time to attract visitors. The downside is that the snow conditions need to improve, and parts of the mountain may be closed.

Anytime You Want

With a busy schedule, the best time to go skiing is whenever you can go to the mountain.

What Countries Can You Visit?

Depending on the time of the year you plan your holidays, you can visit either the Southern or Northern Hemispheres. Here is a list of a few countries skiers often visit:

Southern hemisphere countries

  • Chile
  • Argentina
  • New Zealand
  • Australia

Northern hemisphere countries

  • France
  • Italy
  • Switzerland
  • Japan

Final Word

A ski season can last 5 to 6 months. The opening season depends on the locality’s Climate and the resort’s altitude. Resorts in Southern Hemisphere generally run from June to October, while those in Northern Hemisphere run from November to May. 

It gives skiers an excellent variety to plan their trips according to their free time. However, some resorts close or open resorts keeping their profitability in mind. So, always research if you are planning your yearly vacations.

Mitchelle Lynn