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Jill Sanford | 05.30.2017

Heavy winter and spring snows mean there’s good news for backcountry skiers and split boarders. With a little effort, planning, and flexibility, it’s totally possible for you to keep skiing through the summer and fall this year. You can read all about the Big Snow and Spring Impacts if you want to get a feel for the 2016 and 2017 winter that put an end to the drought conditions in the West with one big bang of a season. 

This information is geared toward the experienced backcountry skier and boarder. For more information about where to get started in the backcountry, check out Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety to learn about what kind of gear you need and education you should have before you venture out of bounds.

This spring felt more like winter thanks to the crazy storms that just wouldn’t stop coming, but it’s finally summer in the Cascades, Olympics, and Sierra Nevada. In places with the highest elevations, however, you can expect snow to stick around for quite a while.

You will find that earlier is better, both for better snow and safety in these warmer conditions. Keep an eye out for wet slides and start your day as early as possible. It’s best to skin up in the morning and try to ski down before the sun melts the snow.

Hopefully the 2017 and 2018 season will be just as much fun for winter sports enthusiasts. While we’re waiting for winter, you can still get after these places that, with good luck, will still be skiable through the summer and into the fall. Keep in mind these are not beginner tours and might even require some mountaineering skills.

California:

  • Eastern Sierra
  • Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe (This is the year to do the aptly named 4th of July Bowl off of Mount Tallac, an iconic spot that hasn’t seen a lot of snow in recent years. Jake's Peak is another popular one in this area.)
  • Mount Shasta
  • Lassen Peak
  • North Peak, Inyo National Forest near Yosemite

Oregon:

  • Palmer Glacier, Mount Hood
  • Cinder Cone near Mount Bachelor  
  • The Wallowa Mountain Range

Washington:

Alaska:

  • Thompson Pass, Valdez

Montana:

  • Beartooth Pass

Colorado:

  • Torrey’s Peak

Idaho:

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