Spring is officially here to stay, so what better time to be outside? But don’t put your skiing equipment away just yet—you can still finish off the season on the peaks of Colorado, followed by river rafting in California, and so much more.
1. Red Rock Rendezvous
CANYON NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA, NV
Thousands of climbers flock to this Nevada conservation area to celebrate the climbing life with expert-led, on-the-rock workshops and all-night parties. When you’re not on the rock, go slacklining, mountain biking, and trail running—or just lose yourself in the festival atmosphere while rubbing elbows with climbing royalty like Hans Florine, Dawn Glanc, and Peter Croft.
2. Paris-Roubaix Challenge
The day before the pros take on the bone-rattling cobblestones of France’s famed “Hell of the North,” amateur cyclists can brave the muddy, rugged 100-some-mile course from Compiègne to the Roubaix Velódrome. As you curse through 30-plus jarring miles, take heart in knowing that aid stations are quintessentially French (think: Belgian waffles with your fruit) and that, at the end, there’s beer and wine to wash the mud off your teeth.
3. Ski the Corn Snow
As ski season ends in the Rockies, lift lines vanish, warmer days feature a mix of powder and corn, and spring parties definitely heat up. Maybe the biggest bash in Colorado ski country is the annual “Spring Back to Vail,” with a live concert, a mountain luau, and the outrageous World Pond Skimming Championships all on closing day. Start the a.m. with powder, arc through velvety corn in the afternoon, then bid farewell to winter with a drink in hand at dusk.
4. French Broad River Classique
Now in its seventh year, the French Broad Classique draws paddlers worldwide for one of two downriver races: a hard-charging 18-miler and a more daredevil 50-miler that takes all day to finish. Whichever you choose, it’ll be a gorgeous spring day on the swift-flowing French Broad, its dark, ancient waters set against bright green leaves and flowering dogwoods. At takeout, at the Asheville Outdoor Center, a picnic and craft beer await.
5. Run the North Stan
In early spring, snowmelt and rains swell the North Fork of the Stanislaus River from a mere trickle to a pulse-pounding rafter’s delight, with many of the Sierras’ most technical Class III-V rapids flowing beneath a canopy of towering pine, fir, and giant sequoia trees. The magic lasts only a few weeks, even in a good year—drought’s impacted the river the past two seasons—but recent El Niño conditions are setting up a potentially wild ride.
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