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The latest news, deals, and events from ski resorts throughout North America.

New ‘Glacier' Resort With Most Vert To Open In B.C.

New ‘Glacier' Resort With Most Vert To Open In B.C.

What's in store for next season. (Valemountglaciers.com)

A new resort is expected to open next season that would open up lift access to glaciers near Banff and Jasper National Parks that previously could only be reached by helicopter or a long, long hike.


Once all three phases of the project are done, the resort named Valemount will have the most vertical drop in North America – 6,857 feet – supplanting British Columbia neighbors Revelstoke and Whistler Blackcomb.

Entrance to town of Valemount (Valemountglaciers.com)

The resort is located in the midst of the glaciers that slide off the Premier Range near the town of Valemont, B.C. – part of the infamous Cariboos heli-skiing region. The highest peak is Mt. Sir Wilfred Laurier at 11,535, and skiing and riding will be year-round. Lifts will be designed so as to carry both skiers and ‘boarders, and sightseers.

The first phase of the project will focus on a gondola and chair that will bring skiers and riders to 8,300-foot high Twilight Glacier for 4,500 of vert down to where the resort village will be built. Subsequent phases will expand access in the Premier Range glacial fields and build out a resort village with nearly 2,300 beds, hotels, shops and an airport.

Map of Valemount Glacier resort (Valemountglaciers.com)

Valemount Glacial Destinations has an agreement with the provincial government to start construction this summer on the 37th resort in British Columbia. The nearest city is Calgary, Alberta – about a six-hour drive.

Developers expect to take advantage of the one-of-a-kind location in Western Canadian Rockies where many of North America’s glaciers exist.

“A combination  of  ideal  climatic conditions and of mountains with the right elevations, great vertical and spectacular glaciers is only found in the narrow ranges of mountains on the western side of the trench that runs from Cranbrook to Prince George in British Columbia,” the resort’s master plan explained.



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SnoCountry SnoCast: Making Turns Into April

SnoCountry SnoCast: Making Turns Into April

Nearly a foot of snow came down Monday at Alta Ski Area in Utah, and they are loving the forecast with more snow in the cards at the end of this week. (Alta /Facebook)

We turn the calendar into April in this week’s SnoCountry SnoCast. There’s still plenty of great skiing and riding to be had, with more snow in the forecast.


In this week’s outlook, I’ve got my eyes on a large storm system that will impact all areas from the Great Lakes to Northeast Friday-Saturday (March 31-April1) that will no doubt leave some bullseyes of deep snow in parts of New England and Quebec. In the West, a storm system drops in from British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest Thursday, before spreading inward by the weekend. Here’s what to expect by region for March 29 - April 3.

Eastern U.S. / Midwest: In the Northeast and Midwest, March is sure to go out “like a lion," as they say. A storm system/low pressure will track from Missouri on Thursday, east-northeastward, eventually scooting off the Southern New England coast by Saturday. On the northern side of this storm system, a swath of snow will fall from Eastern Wisconsin, to Central/Northern Michigan, then eventually spreading over parts of New York and New England. There is some discrepancy among weather models by the time this system reaches New York and New England. The trusty GFS (American) and European models disagree on exact placement of heaviest snow once the storm reaches the northeast. 3-6” is a “safe” forecast for now for most of the lower Adirondack slopes, southern Vermont and the southern White Mountains in New Hampshire, with nearly 10” in far southern Vermont and Massachusetts’ Berkshires. That forecast is more in line with the GFS.

The European is hinting at the system being a bit farther north, which would bring more widespread 6”+ amounts in the areas I just mentioned, and also spread farther north to cover more areas of northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine with snow. Given that difference, it’s important to check the forecast as the time gets nearer to seek out the deepest snow for your Friday/weekend ventures to the slopes. If I had to pick some early best bets, I’d say you can’t go wrong with some central and southern Vermont mountains, and even western Massachusetts Berkshire mountains by Saturday first chair. But again, keep an eye on that forecast because the storm can shift by the weekend.

European model forecast snowfall totals in Northeast and Midwest through April 2.

 American model forecast snowfall totals in Northeast and Midwest through April 2.

Western U.S.: The Western U.S. gets another system or two this week as energy moves into the Pacific Northwest Thursday, then eventually spreads inward by the weekend. This will mean more snow over nearly all of the higher mountains to finish March and start April. Look for anywhere from 4-9” for the Washington and Oregon Cascades, all mountains of Idaho (5-10"), and northwest Wyoming through Thursday. Then, look for new snow, probably higher totals, 6-12”, widespread for Utah’s Wasatch and Uinta Mtns, Wyoming and Colorado Rockies from Friday-Saturday. Locally higher totals will likely be squeezed out at the higher mountains, with up to 2 feet possible over the Colorado peaks. A good setup for the West into the weekend. Use caution, though, for those venturing into the Cascades. I do see high risk of avalanches after recent temperature fluxuations and wind. Ski areas typically maintain and control avalanche danger, but caution for those who seek out the backcountry.

American model forecast snowfall totals in West through April 2.

Now remember, what I've shown you in images is a computer forecast model. There always needs to be some human interjection to make a good forecast. Thats what I do! And also what the National Weather Service does. Here's a look at the actual forecast snowfall totals from the National Weather Service. This shows through the end of Saturday, April 1. No joke!

 

Canada: Plenty of new snow opportunities in Canada this week. The same storm I mentioned in the Midwest/Northeast section will bring fresh snow to our Eastern Canada mountains in Quebec and Ontario Friday-Saturday. Again, depending on storm track, forecast amounts may vary by the weekend. Generally, 5 – 10 cm looks achievable, with locally higher amounts if the storm sneaks a little farther north. Just enough to soften up the trails. In Western Canada, a storm system brings ample mountain snow Thursday (March 30). Many ski areas in British Columbia and Alberta will squeeze out 20-40cm from Thursday-Friday. Enjoy that!

Forecast snowfall totals in Western Canada through April 2.

That's all for this week's SnoCountry SnoCast, skiers and riders. Have a blast with any new snow in your area. As always, I'll catch you next Wednesday for the next edition of SnoCast right here on SnoCountry.com. 

Special thanks to Lyndon State College student forecasters Amanda Stone, Scott Myerson, and Christopher Kurdek for their weekly contributions and forecasts.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Officially Spring; Winter Weather Hangs On

SnoCountry SnoCast: Officially Spring; Winter Weather Hangs On

Breckenridge Ski Resort has been loving the spring-like conditions this past week, but more winter-like weather makes a quick return in the forecast. (Breckenridge/Facebook).

It’s officially spring time on the calendar, so we can now expect the weather to be even more “fickle” than in the winter. This week’s SnoCast will proves that winter weather is fighting to hang on as long as possible despite what the calendar says.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Making Turns Into March

SnoCountry SnoCast: Making Turns Into March

This is what 75" of snow in 7 days looks like at Snowbird. (Chris Segal)
We're turning the calendar into March, and still looking for some good turns on the slopes. While February was a blur, much of the country basked in warmer than normal temperatures. Looks like some colder air moves in for the start of the new month. 

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Three Thousand Buy A Piece Of Red Mountain Resort

Three Thousand Buy A Piece Of Red Mountain Resort

First chair at Red Mountain. (Red Mountain/Facebook)

British Columbia’s Red Mountain has always gone its own way – and soon it will have $10 million to upgrade facilities while maintaining its iconoclastic, anti-corporate spirit.


The Rossland, B.C., resort recently offered public shares in the mountain – through a “crowdfunding” method – and reached its goal of $10 million in February.

Next step is a legal equity offering, expected this fall, according to resort ownership.

Here’s CEO Howard Katkov’s pitch: “Why not join us on this big mountain, big community, love-driven adventure. We’ll keep investing in this community and these fantastic people with or without your help, but dropping in on this could change your life -- just like it changed mine.”

Some 3,000 people took up Red Mountain’s offer, reserving shares ranging from $1,000 minimum to $25,000. The higher the commitment, the more perks, like free season passes and equipment.

Red Mountain

If all $10 million reservations come through and the legal offering succeeds, Red Mountain will use the money for Paradise Lodge renovation, expanded snowcat terrain on Mount Kirkup, summer trail-building, and construction of new restaurant, private clubhouse and cabins atop Grey Mountain, according to resort management.

The mountain has more than 2,800 skiable acres served by seven lifts, plus another 1,200 acres that require either a hike or a snowcat ride. With nearly 3,000 vertical feet, Red Mountain tops out at 6,800 feet above sea level.

The resort has always gone counter to the flow, promoting itself as an alternative to “corporate resorts” that it contends have priced many families out of the sport.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: More Snow In The Forecast

SnoCountry SnoCast: More Snow In The Forecast

55 inches in just six days at Washington’s Crystal Mountain. (Crystal Mountain/Facebook)

Starting off with a bang in this week’s SnoCast! A nor’easter for the Eastern U.S., and the hits keep coming out West, too. February continues to bring excellent ski conditions to much of the country.


Here’s what to expect by region for Feb. 8- 14.

West: The hits keep coming for the Western U.S. With storm after storm lining up, there continues to be plenty of moisture/snow/rain for this week. Some trouble, though, with the storm finishing this work week. Snow levels are much higher than some other recent systems this winter. This will still mean heavy snow dumps at the highest peaks, but more wet and sloppy precipitation for the mid and lower bases for some ski areas. Expect the best snow to reach the highest Sierras in California, the Washington Cascades, Idaho, Western Montana, and Wyoming through Friday. Then by the weekend, the snow will shift to the interior Rockies with snow for Utah, Colorado, and perhaps sagging as far south as New Mexico’s peaks late in the weekend. Calmer weather with good breaks of sun for much of the West Sunday to early next week. Best bets: Mammoth (late Friday or early Saturday), Crystal Mtn northward to Mt Baker in Washington (Thursday-Friday), Schweitzer, Silver Mtn, Steamboat, Sleeping Giant  (weekend).

Forecast snow amounts through Friday, Feb 10 from the National Weather Service.    

East/Midwest: A nor’easter will bring significant snowfall, generally 6+ inches for the northeast Wednesday-Thursday. New snow will stretch from West Virginia all the way to Maine, with the “sweet spot” likely in the Berkshires of Mass to southern Maine where locally a foot of snow will likely fall. The track of this storm will likely bring heaviest snow to the I-95 corridor, so travel may be a little tough to make a long trip to the ski areas during the storm if you don’t live nearby. This storm will be quick, with the last of the snow wrapping up within 24 hours, done for all by Thursday evening. Calm conditions Friday will keep conditions pleasant (I’d recommend earlier in the day to get the freshest snow before it gets skied off).

Another light shot of snow dips over the Midwest/Great Lakes Friday, and toward New England Saturday. Weather models do show another larger storm brewing for the Northeast/New England Sunday into Monday (Feb 12-13), but the track of it may bring mixed precip and not all snow with that, so keep an eye to the forecast specifics closer in time to pick your best window. Best Bets:  Jiminy Peak , Mount Snow, Stratton, Mount Sunapee (Thursday-Friday).

Forecast snow amounts through Feb. 10. (National Weather Service)

 

Forecast model raw output of a possible storm for early next week.

Canada: A steady plume of moisture keeps the snow falling across Western Canada, especially Thursday and Friday. Conditions will be excellent (and goggles essential) for most mountains in British Columbia and Alberta to finish the week. In the East, a clipper system brings light snow amounts to the slopes beginning Friday and tapering off through early Saturday morning. Another storm will develop early next week and while the Northeast U.S. may see rain mix in, many Quebec ski areas will see great conditions and new snow. Keep an eye on the forecast for exact amounts closer to the storm. Best bets: Lake Louise, Whistler, Grouse, Big White (Friday or Saturday) 

Forecast model raw output of snow totals through Saturday.

 

'Til next week's SnoCast, enjoy these amazing conditions. As always, a shout out and thanks to Lyndon State College students Amanda Stone, Christopher Kurdek, and Scott Myerson for their weekly contributions and forecasts for SnoCast.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Calmer West, Colder and more active East

SnoCountry SnoCast: Calmer West, Colder and more active East

Jay Peak picked up some fresh snow earlier this week. The first sign as we turn to a colder, more active pattern in the Eastern U.S. (Jay Peak/Instagram)

What a ride it’s been the past week with continued record snowfall for the Western mountains and a messy mix of snow, sleet, and (ick) ice for some of the East. The weather pattern is changing for all regions this week. Let’s dig into this week’s SnoCast. 


The changes we can expect this week (Jan. 25-31) feature a much more tranquil scene for the Western U.S. Meanwhile, for the Eastern U.S., a colder pattern will take over again, with potential for patchy snowfall with any storm system that develops. For all areas, even in a warmer than usual Canada, there will be fair conditions to make snow, if needed. In the image below, you're looking at the higher elevation temperature map into this weekend - notice the blue areas indicate colder than normal air, and red indicates warmer than normal.

 January 29 temperatures as compared to average. Blue is colder, red is warmer.

Here’s what to expect by region for Jan. 18-23:

West: After record snowfall at so many locations through the month of January, high pressure will generally dominate the Western weather this week. This will generally mean that snow will be limited, but that’s OK at this point, as some ski areas are having a tough time turning the lifts after so much snow fell. Just check out this image tweeted out by Kirkwood in California earlier this week.

Snow at Kirkwood

Good news is that the weather ahead should allow some great stretches of sunshine and bluebird days to look forward to. Any snow that does fall in the West this week will generally be very light and spread out over several days, and mainly squeezed out at the highest peaks. Totals could range anywhere from 2-6 inches from Thursday through the weekend for Colorado and Utah peaks, and between 1-4 inches for most other mountain tops. A quick front will dip into the Pacific Northwest Sunday night-Monday allowing for some better snow in the northern peaks of the Washington Cascades

East: In the east, following mild temps and snow melt the past two weeks, the tables are turning (and the lifts will be, too!). A large atmospheric trough will build in, allowing colder air to settle in for most of the Great Lakes region, and down the Eastern seaboard. Cold is, of course, the first thing we need to set the stage for snow.

I’d keep my eye on a couple of things. A quick moving, weak low pressure system Wednesday-Thursday treks from the Midwest, northeastward into Quebec. This will bring a mix of snow, sleet, and perhaps some chilly rain to some of our Midwest ski areas, New York’s Adirondacks, and New England ski areas. Behind this system is when much colder air is ushered in by a persistent west/northwest wind. That wind and leftover moisture should allow upslope snowfall Friday and Saturday against the Adirondacks, Green and White Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire, and perhasps into Maine’s peaks, too.

A cold front dips into northern New England Sunday, which will bring a few more inches of fresh snow once again. Best bets: Whiteface, Jay Peak, Stowe. Here’s the snowfall forecast through Friday evening, keeping in mind another 3-6 inches may fall in the Northern mountains over the weekend.

Snowfall forecast through Friday evening, Jan. 27.

Canada: After some fresh snow earlier this week in Quebec (~20 cm at Le Massif), we head into a warm stretch for much of Canada this week. Much warmer than average temperatures will prevail over most of the country for this forecast period we’re talking about. Check out the forecast model image below by the “European” ECMWF forecast model. The orange and red colors indicate above normal temperatures, which covers most of the country.

Much warmer than normal temperatures will prevail in Canada this week.

Despite this fact, temps will still be cold enough to support snow. With a large trough/active pattern over the Eastern country, I'd expect some light snow in the Quebec mountains through the weekend, perhaps 5-10 cm. Also in the West, a small area of exception to the warmer temps will likely be across the far southwest of the country in British Columbia. Expect new snow over the weekend as coastal moisture streams into British Columbia, allowing some wet snow for these ski areas, likely between 25-35 cm.

Happy skiing and riding! 'Til next week!

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Still Find Summer Skiing In Lower 48

Still Find Summer Skiing In Lower 48

Timberline’s Palmer Express lift usually operates June 1st through Labor Day for summer turns on Oregon’s highest peak. (Timberline/Facebook)

Some skiers and riders just can’t get enough, and they aren’t satisfied with wind surfing, whitewater rafting or plain ol’ hiking in the summer. For them, there are options out there that require some travel, a bit of hiking and plenty of sunscreen.

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Whistler Blackcomb Sets $8 Million For Improvements

 

Whistler (Photo: Eric Berger, Whistler Backcomb, BC)Whistler Blackcomb is investing $8 million into winter and summer projects, on and off the mountain. Plans include enhancements to the ski and snowboard learning areas on Whistler Mountain, major upgrades to the Roundhouse Lodge deck and Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC) patio, and improvements to the summer hiking trails and infrastructure on both mountains. All of the projects are expected to be completed by the start of the 2016-17 ski season.

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New Freestyle Training Centre Coming To Whistler Blackcomb

Freestyler 2014 Jr. National Championships (Whistler Backcomb)British Columbia's Whistler Blackcomb has signed an agreement with the Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club (WBFSC) and the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association (CFSA) to build a national training centre for freestyle skiing. It will be on the right side of the upper pitch on Catskinner run on Backcomb Mountain.They are planning to break ground for the centre this spring.

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