The last US ski area on the Epic Pass is being forced to close two weeks earlier than hoped due to warm weather.

Breckenridge in Colorado (pictured top in 2018) reported that after 185 days of skiing and riding this season they’ll end their 60th anniversary season on Sunday, May 15th, a little over a fortnight earlier than planned.

“While our teams have worked hard to keep the skiing and riding rolling into mid-May, Mother Nature has the ultimate say. We’ve been experiencing warm daytime temps (in the 60s) and our night-time temps haven’t been dipping below freezing, so this has caused snow to begin to melt very quickly,” a statement from the resort explains.

The centre had hoped to stay open to the American Memorial Day holiday long-weekend, closing on Monday May 30th.

The early closure means that all of Vail’s more than three-dozen US resorts will be closed from mid-May, although their Whistler Blackcomb resort in Canada has another week of the season left to run.

This is a small factor in the battle between the two giant multi-resort ski passes, Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass and the Alterra Group’s Ikon pass.

Along with adding more and more ski areas around the world to each pass, there has also been a battle to offer the longest seasons, with Vail Resorts stressing in recent years that snowmaking upgrades could lead to an early October opening of Keystone (although this doesn’t appear to have changed much since the announcement) and continuing then for nearly eight months to the end of May. Winter 21-22 is now working out about a month less than that.

The Alterra Group also aims for an October opening for Ikon Pass holders and by contrast currently has four US resorts still open through and in some cases possibly past Memorial Day that they either own or have a partnership arrangement with. – Mammoth and the Palisades in California, Snowbird in Utah and Crystal Mountain in Washington State.