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Summer Skiing In Vogue for 2011 Hot

SquawFireworks and freedom are expected to be celebrated in a very unusual way at some of America’s most famed mountains this Independence Day.

Record 2011 snowfalls all over the United States will keep runs at many resorts snow-packed and rider-ready well into the summer – even until the Fourth of July in a few locations.

Predominantly, the resorts extending their closing dates are situated in the American West; states such as California, Utah and Colorado are offering the chance for continued play in the snow at a time when the collective consciousness is keen on more characteristic leisurely pursuits.

Still, areas like Jackson Hole, Wyomign and Crested Butte in Colorado have closed, or will close their doors for the Winter season despite record snowfalls this year. Resort managers in similar locations cite scant patronage and the need to prepare their mountains for their summer offerings.

But, if you’re not quite ready to pack away your ski gear, and a ninth month of skiing in shorts and a t-shirt (and in some places, bikinis) sounds appealing, peruse the following list of resorts remaining open to fulfill your needs:

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area – Mammoth Lakes, California

Monstrous, record-setting snowfalls pounded Mammoth Mountain this year to the tune of 628-inches (almost 15-feet), leaving conditions near perfect at the resort. With a consistent base of 14 to 24-feet on the mountain, resort operators plan on staying strong as late as July 4. Mammoth is also ceasing the opportunity by offering patrons an early opportunity at purchasing their 2011-12 ski pass for $659, allowing use until this year’s season ends, probably sometime in July. According to reports, this would be the fourth time Mammoth stayed open until Independence Day in the past seven years.

Squaw Valley USA – Olympic Valley, California

Up north from Mammoth, Squaw Valley’s CEO, Andy Wirth has confirmed a May 30 closing date, with the possibility of an extension.“ We have so much snow that we will be examining the possibility of opening for the 4th of July, conditions permitting,” Wirth said. Conditions there are just as pristine as Mammoth’s, except Squaw Valley can boast even more snowfall this season – 700-inches!

U.S. Olympian Julia Mancuso kicked off the Spring ski season at Mammoth this past weekend with a ceremonial first ride and an appearance at Squaw’s first pool party. The New York Times rated Squaw as one of the top-five Spring skiing destinations and with $199 passes, it’s an optimal time to visit these famed former Olympic slopes.

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort – Snowbird, Utah

Over in Utah, Snowbird is just 57-inches short of the record 688-inches that fell during the 1983-84 ski season, thanks to more than six-feet of snowfall in the first ten days of April. Dave Fields, Vice President at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, believes the skiing now is some of the best all season and can last a lot longer, “La Niña storms keep lining up for [us], and at this rate we could be topping our snowiest and longest season on record.” The standing record was set in 2005 when Snowbird was open until the Fourth of July that year. It’s plausible, even possible the record could be tied or broken in 2011.

Arapahoe Basin – Keystone, Colorado

Typically one of the last bastions of skiing each season in Colorado, A-Basin is poised to make another run at being the last resort open in the Centennial State. Similar to its California and Utah compatriots, Colorado has experienced big snowfalls as well this year, especially in the high-country. There is currently a seven-foot pack at A-Basin and as long as weather permits, the resort will remain open into May or even June. The current enticement for resort-goers is a “3-Pass” for $138, which allows for three lift tickets during the Spring season for the price of two visits.

-Ryan O'Leary

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