Ski Season Calendar

When does ski season start?

The summer solstice is, by our thinking at NYSkiBlog, the farthest point from the ski season in New York. From this day forward we move closer to winter. We smile just a little bit wider as the days get shorter.

Eleven years ago, for the first time, we published our Ski Season Calendar, a list of milestones for skiers on the longest day of the year. It’s become a tradition to feature it on the home page and update it as necessary.  Last year at this time we naively predicted (hoped) that life would return to normal by the time it started to snow. But this past year was clearly different. Still, mixed in with all the rules and reservations and distancing we had some excellent days.

One thing that didn’t happen last year, was the race to open between Killington and Sunday River.  We’re counting on it this year.  One thing that did happen, after many NY skiers were vaxed, there was a return to Vermont to enjoy Superstar season at Big K.


The Ski Season Calendar

DATEMILESTONE
VariesOff Season Begins
VariesFirst Pass Deadlines
June 20Summer Solstice
July 20Northern Hemisphere Begins Cooling
(Aug 10)(First Issue Powder Magazine* RIP)
Labor DayUnofficial End of Summer
Sep 21Fall Begins
OctoberKillington vs Sunday River
ThanksgivingStart of Ski Season in NY
Dec 21Start of Calendar Winter
Jan 1Mid-winter Begins
2nd Weekend in JanNYSkiBlog Annual Meeting
Presidents WeekOptimist’s Halftime
March 15~ Start of Spring Skiing in NY
March 21Start of Calendar Spring
VariesLast Day of Lift Service in NY
MayBeast and Tux Season
VariesLast Day of Skiing

There was some good that came out of the season.  With Vermont out of reach for many New Yorkers, skiers explored NY like never before. Skier visits in the state were up significantly and our front page featured several NY ski areas. We also enjoyed an incredible run of cold and snow that featured some truly excellent skiing.

It’s our greatest hope that we can return to normal. One thing the pandemic made clear to us, was the importance of the social aspect of skiing. Riding lifts alone, and limited mid-winter après celebrations, created deeper appreciation for each other.


*It is our sincere hope that someday, the printed version of Powder Magazine, will return.


Traditionally, we use the off-season to look for ways to upgrade the site and we highlight changes in this post.  This year, we’re most excited about building out the NYSkiBlog Directory, especially our section on NY Historical Weather Data.

Here is this year’s summer solstice ski season calendar update. Do you have a ski calendar in your head? If so, how do you mark annual milestones? What changes from this most unusual season should be added to the calendar as permanent fixtures?

If you’ve got something you think we should add, post it in the comments.

40 comments on “Ski Season Calendar

  1. In a normal year anywhere from the Catskills north, I wouldn’t expect the beginning of spring skiing until at least mid-March. This past season was obviously at least two weeks ahead of schedule.

  2. March typically is the month with the most snowfall in New England…but I think due to climate change, the snowfall has been dropping off substantially over the years.

    Late March is the beginning of spring skiing…early March is still mid-winter, which begins sometime between MLK and Prez week. MLK used to be mid-winter, but lately it is still early season with snowmaking underway and not the whole mountain open.

  3. Add this to the calendar –

    Late August: the real stoke begins when the first issue of Powder Magazine hits the newsstand.

  4. James… I looked into our past TRs from March. If you throw out this year — which was insanely hot — I found a mix of winter and spring conditions in the time period. I did find some good Weather Data for Belleayre on MSN that backs up what you are saying. I guess I was struggling with calling March “mid-winter.”

    SBR… consider Powder added.

  5. I don’t think 2 warm snow less Marches make a trend..3 years ago we were buried up to our necks during the months of March and April..

  6. @ Steve: It’s an enviable calendar for sure. What would you say is the “average closing date” for Tux? Opening?

  7. Greetings from Virginia. Banana Belt Ski Calendar:

    Early Nov: hit the local ski show, except they stopped holding one in our area a couple years ago:-( Nonetheless, some form of this entry should appear on your Ski Season Calendar above for everyone.

    Dec 10 (approx): Ski season starts for most mid-Atlantic resorts

    Christmas Week: In a good year the more aggressive snowmakers have the majority of their slopes open

    Jan 15: Right about now we’re due for a January thaw

    Feb 1: Most likely opening in the narrow window for some local powder

    Feb 15 (approx):Crowds peak for President’s Day Weekend, then drop off the table

    Mar 1: Spring skiing could last from the first week to the third week of March, crowds gone, lower prices, sunny soft bumps, living is good.

    Mar 15 (approx): Majority of local resorts close with 80% of their terrain open, if slushy. But no customers.

    After Mar 15: Head somewhere North or West for a week of “reward” skiing:-)

  8. You’re going to ski earlier many other places than Tux. Even in December it’s not skiable really, it takes a long time to cover the junk. Fortunately, we get it all back on the other side.

    I wonder if K and SR will race again to run the lifts this October.

  9. Here’s another date: Early October: the huge stoke you get when ski areas post pics/video of turning on the snow guns for the first time in the season. My local resort, Snowshoe, the past few years has posted a slickly edited video with cool music of them cranking up the snow guns and blowing the mice out. They put it on their website and facebook prominently, and link to it with an email blast. Last year’s video was so well done, it almost brought tears to my eyes. People see that, and book a ski trip.

  10. September and October are probably the most painful months out of the year. When Sunday River opened in October this past year, I can’t tell you how tempted I was to hop in the car and make that 7+ hour trip up there.

  11. Spring skiing?… depends on the season. Last year, I skied [cross-country] on hard wax instead of klister on March 30. This year, we may as well not have had winter.

    Missing the winter of…. I think it was 2001, when Bennington VT’s Prospect Mt received 9 feet of snow in March. You read that right. Nine FEET!

  12. I guess all the dates vary. Two years ago the first issue of Powder came on August 20 and this past season it was on the 10th. This past year by March 15th it was close to 80 degrees and there was little left. By 3/18 most of the NY mountains were closed. Even the summer solstice changes from year-to-year.

  13. Well, one I have in my brain is Jan. 3 to about 5 or 6, when the holidays are finally over and the stupid crowds who only come out at xmas/new years go home and then winter really sets in.

  14. June & July – get the house ready for ski season
    Aug – medical recert training begins.
    Sept – Prep for fall refresher programs, begin training the rest of the regional patrols.
    Columbus day weekend – race team pro night
    Oct – Gore patrol refresher
    Turkey day – Mountain opens
    Nov – April: ski, ski, ski.

  15. Lateski in the past we’ve changed the site banner on NYSB on November 1 and May 1. That’s something I do, and this year I couldn’t bring myself to make the switch with Killington, Jay and Sugarbush still spinning. Thanks for the shout out though… it’s cool to have our header status lumped in with the events listed in the calendar.
    🙂

  16. Another event that over the last 7 or 8 years has become a tradition on the ski calendar: on the weekend after President’s Weekend I attend a gathering of online friends. We rent a ski house or two and often represent a half dozen or more different home states. We have a great time on that one weekend making the shift from virtual ski buddies to real ski buddies! Good conditions are most welcome, but surprisingly, almost immaterial to the fun we have skiing and hanging together.

  17. While driving home from work the other day, the third of July to be exact. In the torrent of thunderous rain, it began to hail. Frozen precipitation. Some pulled off the road on fear. I pushed my pedal down hard smiling at the roar of the frozen, white, ice pounding my Jeep. Because, if it’s frozen, it’s good, and in the blink of an eye, I could feel the snow under my feet, the cold rush of winters air in my hair and I knew that summers days are numbered and just perhaps, Mother Nature will blanket us in white fury.

  18. As much as anything this season, I’m looking forward to December when the Powder Magazine article on the Catskills comes out!

  19. I start getting excited when the August tent sale at Alpine Sport Shop happens. I don’t expect it but will usually start watching the weather carefully mid to late September and a heavy frost might get me out in October. My earliest ski day was October 1 in 1992. I still have the Kmart tee shirt.

    Earliest NY is my profile picture, October 17, 2015. I thought was going to be the best ski season and ended being the worst, although I skied until May 21 lift served. This season was crazy, next to last weekend at Gore was winter and the last weekend was one of the best spring skiing in a while. The following Sunday, which I had planned early in the week as the better of the two days at Whiteface…I drove 3.75 hours from our camp on Oneida lake…to find mist down low but a raging snowstorm up high…made for an incredibly surprising powder day (ok fat guy powder but I loved it, I fought patrol for one more run) end my lift served season…no Kmart or Tucks this years. Thinking one more day I put my a frame together, grabbed my dog and went up Gore from the ski bowl. 13 turns…Rocky took a tumble otherwise I would have gone again…he was ok.

    I still want to ski October to June. In the new normal weather…maybe July or September you never now…all I know is Summer Sucks! There are no bugs or allergies in winter.

  20. Ski season never ends.

    I’m on my boards every day of the week, on every sidewalk on which I stride, every pedal of my bicycle, my ski playlist lives all year long, my boards are always in eye sight as is my boot bag.

    I’m never off season, I’m just waiting to catch the next chair.

  21. Last week I had the great fortune of boot packing with my teenage kids up Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, and introducing them to summertime turns and high altitude backcountry skiing. Or as my daughter put it, “shredding the summertime gnar”. It was a totally out of the blue opportunity, and I was thrilled that the kids jumped at it without hesitation. It also showed me that they are ready to ski at a moment’s notice, no matter the time of year, no matter the gear. They got that right!

  22. Count me as another one who is excited for the Catskills article in Powder. I was there on the day those guys came to Plattekill, and what a day it was!

  23. I’m always thinking of skiing, no matter what the calendar says. To mark the summer solstice this year, I bought a pair of GS race skis today! First pair of real racing skis I’ve had in about 20 + years. I’m stoked!

  24. get on some roller blades or a longboard and hit some smooth pavement, the off season is full of opportunity, or just ski on wet grass… green jello style

  25. For me, June 21th marks the day that I had my staples removed, the result of a total hip replacement. I damaged this hip spring skiing at Killington in 1988 and after years of deterioration, I finally decided it was time for it to go.

    As I write this comment, my timer is counting down that I have 159 days, 22 hours, 7 minutes and 18 seconds to recondition myself for Gore opening day. I’m going for it!!

  26. You can blame the optimism on me Benny. This next year will clearly be different, hopefully the following year will be closer to normal.

    How does the calendar change in this environment? What are the milestones we should add?

  27. I’ve always really looked out for the August arrival of the ski mags. Unfortunately, those publishing dates have been pushed back over the years, and some of the best ones have folded. Still, that’s my cue that everyone else is finally thinking about skiing as much as I have been all summer.

  28. New date on my ski season calendar as of 2019 is Sept. 1. That’s when the Indy Pass sales start.

  29. Man this thread goes back a few years, I’m just trying to figure out the best skiing times in New York this year.

  30. Becca… that post was kind of an offseason musing, not intended as an evergreen forecast. Obviously it varies but this year, I’d say the later the better. February or March?

  31. What a nice blast from the past! I fondly remember the anticipation of the drier air and cooler nights of August heralding the impending end of summer and beginning September weather of the Catskills. The Fall kicked off with the annual Potter Bros. Ski sale right after Labor Day Weekend which also signaled time to start an exercise regimen. I guess my personal calendar was focused on a more nuanced observation of changes in the weather reflecting, perhaps, my rural location in upstate NY.

    In addition to the increasing frequency of hard frosts, frozen puddles and occasional dusting of snow above 2,500’ elevation, the signature Fall event was the release of the new Warren Miller ski film in late October. Miller’s films served to whip up a rabid frenzy of downhill sliding desire to coincide with the early November opening of Hunter and the Thanksgiving weekend openings of Belleayre, Highmount, Catskill, Windham, and Plattekill even, possibly, Big Bear/Roxbury and Phoenicia (Simpson-Only 17 miles away!). The Catskill ski areas operating on natural snow tended to open fully by the Christmas holidays back then. Crowds decreased with the January cold snap, but reappeared with the thaw which appeared anywhere from week two to four. February could be a feast or famine, with great snow that could be followed by rain and capped by a cold snap. A half inch of ice on top of a foot of powder was miserable. We took solace in the fact that those conditions would add to the base and prolong the season.

    We looked forward to the milder temperatures of March with great snow and abundance of bluebird ski days and Grade A Fancy Maples syrup. The festivities of Spring conditions always seemed slightly melancholy as the warmer days slowly eroded the snow but added the challenge of finding new and unique ways of linking the remaining patches of snow as one picked their way downhill. We could amuse ourselves by hiking high into remote parts of the Catskills facing North to follow the last remaining patches of snow into Memorial Day. Unfortunately, the patches were never long enough to make hauling ski equipment through the dense bushwhack worthwhile. It was always fun to “discover” that last remaining patch of snow. Nevertheless, there was always the hope that next year would have several days that would live on in one’s memories as “The best skiing ever.”

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