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Big Sky April Skiing

Big Sky in April: Overview


  • Big Sky usually stays open through the third week of April and sometimes longer, making it a good bet for skiers looking for a dependable place for late-season turns.
  • Fewer crowds: As the ski season comes to a close, the number of people on the slopes at Big Sky decreases, which can make for a more pleasant and less crowded experience. Big Sky isn't what we'd normally categorize as a crowded mountain, but the base area does get busy during the warm spring break weeks in March. April is a wind-down.
  • Big Sky's northerly latitude and its relatively high elevation—it's both further north and has higher elevations than Jackson Hole—can keep snow colder than other Rocky Mountain locations in April. In addition, 37% of Big Sky's terrain faces north, which further shields it from the sun.
  • Warmer weather: April is typically the warmest month of the ski season at Big Sky, which can get bitterly cold in the heart of winter. The warmth of April can make for more comfortable skiing conditions for kids and provide some primo beer drinking opportunities for adults, if one is so inclined.
  • Spring corn snow: Look to Big Sky's east-facing runs, which comprise 36% of the mountain, for the most consistent corn, which will usually be around lunchtime.
  • Discounted rates: As the ski season comes to an end, skiers can find offers and discounts on lift tickets, rentals and lodging at Big Sky. Rates on VRBO—see map below—are often 50% what they are earlier in the winter.


  • Big Sky is a great candidate for April skiing. The downsides are generally the same for any ski area in April: it can be warm during the day and cold at night, leading to freeze-thaw conditions.
  • To avoid skiing on ice, seek out the mountain's high elevation north-facing terrain, or focus on skiing east-facing terrain after the sun has warmed the snow into forgiving corn after a few hours.

Big Sky snow in April

Data show April is the fourth best month Big Sky for overall snow quality when considering the following factors:

  • Snow quantity at Big Sky
  • Snow quality at Big Sky
  • How much snow is required for proper terrain coverage at Big Sky—steeper resorts require more snow to get 100% open.
  • Big Sky's snow frequency (standard deviation)
  • Big Sky's elevation
  • Big Sky's latitude
  • Big Sky's slope aspects - more north-facing slopes protect snow later into winter

Big Sky has a larger standard deviation than most Rocky Mountain ski resorts, which means it can go longer stretches without snow. It does not receive as much snow as comparable mountains further south in the Rockies chain (Targhee, Jackson, Utah and much of Colorado). But Big Sky is way north and it has high elevations that protect snow in April. And by April at Big Sky, the threat of thin cover or not enough snow is almost nil, which makes Big Sky a great bet.

April is a great time to try and hitch a ride on the Lone Peak Tram and ski some of the upper terrain at Big Sky, such as the Big Couloir. The Tram's normal lines, which usually stretch out to an hour, dissipate in April and the snowpack is usually quite stable at this time of year.

Big Sky snow score by month, April in focus

What matters when it comes to snow for April skiing:

The rules of thumb in place for better skiing in March—high elevations and lots of north-facing terrain—hold true in April as well. The difference between April and March is that most ski resorts close up for the year by the second Sunday in April. After that, skiers have a much smaller cohort of ski resorts they can target for trips. Many ski resorts, especially those that are easily driveable from the metro areas of Denver, Salt Lake, San Francisco (Tahoe area) and Seattle (Crystal and Stevens Pass) will alter their close dates depending on the quanitity of snow that remains on their slopes in March. More snow means later closing dates.

One of the ski resorts best known for its April skiing is A-Basin, which enjoys myriad factors in its favor. It has exceedingly high elevations, good amounts of north-facing terrain, and it's easily driveable from Denver, which keeps its slopes crowded—and the revenue flowing to resort coffers—well into May.

There are other gems, too, however. Snowbird is an excellent bet, as is Copper Mountain, whose high elevations and preponderance of north-facing terrain means that its conditions don't peak until late March, and the surfaces at Copper tend to hold up well through April. Telluride closes earlier in April because its location doesn't draw many skiers in cars, but that week or two in April that it is open usually offer good conditions, as the resort's high elecations and north aspects keep upper reaches of the mountain chalky, with the slopes to town giving skiers good corn conditions.

For skiers planning ahead for an April trip, just know that it could be quite warm. But sometimes those April days, especially when a big snowstorm creeps in, can be the best of the year, with fewer skiers competing for the snow and fun days that finish with warm après vibes and cold beer. For the record, this writer's best ski day ever was on April 26, in Utah's Little Cottonwood Canyon, at Alta. The mountain had closed in mid April, but then it snowed six feet in four days, and Alta announced it would reopen it's doors on a Friday. Not many people were there, but I was. Laps and untracked all day.

To find out more about where to target for April trips, see our snow rankings page.

Big Sky skiing by month:
Big Sky
By Month