When the hustle and bustle gets too much down below, Californians head to the hills. And, the state’s ski and snowboard resorts shift into summer gear to provide the thrills, adventures and just plain relaxation that they are looking for.
Catchin' the corn is springtime ritual. (Squaw Valley/Facebook)
Like many regions in the West, skiers and riders had to wait until March before all the trails and slopes were open. In California, a trio of resorts hope they can make it last as long as possible.
More carving at Winter Park with new gondola. (Winter Park/Facebook)
Winter Park Resort has announced that it will replace the mountain’s workhorse Zephyr Express chairlift with a gondola – a move aimed to upgrade the mountain’s infrastructure and to shorten weekend and holiday lines.
Gathering for final run down High Rustler. (Alta/Facebook)
The coming of spring is a bittersweet time for skiers and riders. But it’s also time to party hearty at a plethora of spring festivals and fun dots the calendar during the final weeks of the year.
Loveland chairlift ready to be first open. (Loveland/Facebook)
It’s the time of year when the first snow hits the high ridges, the ski shows debut – and resorts begin to announce the day that the new ski and snowboard season will arrive.
Turns to be had at Snow Summit. (Snow Summit/Facebook)
Mid-winter doldrums gave way to a snow-filled spring that has kept many resort open longer than expected – and cranked up the end-of-season parties.
"Bury the Butte." (Crested Butte/Facebook)
Starting in the Sierra and moving across the Wasatch to the Colorado Rockies, a dozen Pacific-laden storms unleashed their largesse in January to set up skiers and snowboarders for the rest of the season.
Great pre-holiday snow at Wolf Creek Ski Area, which will end up with more snow leading into the holiday weekend (Rosanne H. Pitcher/Wolf Creek Ski Area)
The holidays are here! Gifts under the tree are cool and all, but look for the real gifts on the slopes this holiday weekend. Let’s dig into this week’s forecast and find out where the best conditions will be for hitting the slopes.
It will be an active stretch for the West, and a solid combo of pleasant days and snow shots for the Midwest and Northeast. Here’s what to expect by region and a few of my "best bet" picks for the areas receiving good snow this week.
Northeast: A weak system will bring a shot of light snow Thursday to New York’s Adirondacks and northern New England. While not a blockbuster, a few inches of snow can be expected at the higher elevations and make for nice, softer conditions. Another similar system may bring snow Saturday/Christmas Eve to the same locales before temps start generally rising Christmas Day through early next week. Some sun should break through on Christmas Day, providing pleasant conditions at ski areas for the holiday weekend. Best bets: Look to Whiteface, Jay Peak, and Sunday River.
Midwest: Well, we’ve survived the cold snaps, and this week looks great to get out. A complicated set up for our Midwest mountains this week. After a quick shot of snow Wednesday, Thursday should be pleasant to hit the slopes and get what’s left of the softer snow. Thursday and Friday, a brief lull before things get interesting. Weather models continue to show a strong storm developing around Christmas Day through Monday. Keep an eye on this one. Could mean snow, but also some mixed precip (like ice), high winds, and travel hazards.
Canada: Some fresh snow for western Canada Thursday will help add onto the snow we received earlier in the week. Some light, lingering snow showers in interior B.C and Alberta will carry us into the weekend with generally light totals. Watch for a more potent storm early next week Tuesday/Wednesday time frame which may bring more impressive totals to the coast range in British Columbia. In eastern Canada, low pressure tracks through Quebec to start the holiday weekend with light totals, and overall pleasant conditions for the Christmas holiday weekend.
West: A quick hit of snow for western Colorado Thursday into early Friday will help soften up the slopes with some fresh inches of snow. Given the moisture flow in from the Southwest, the San Juan Range in southwest Colorado could pick up some decent totals around 6-12”. A larger storm system will develop Friday off the Pacific coast, and plow into northern California/Oregon. The highest totals from this storm will be in the California Sierra Nevada with potential for 1-2 feet, maybe some three foot totals at localized peaks (yaa!) through Saturday. Snow will also fall for the higher elevations of the Washington and Oregon Cascades as snow levels lower Friday night. That storm system will then spread eastward, carrying in some new snow for much of the western interior mountains through the holiday weekend. Look for new snow over the mountains in Idaho , Wyoming , Colorado, and Montana through this holiday weekend. There are a ton of winter weather alerts in place from the National Weather Service. Best bets: While many mountains will be great, some of the highest totals should fall at Telluride, Purgatory, and Wolf Creek Thursday and early Friday. Then, any Tahoe area mountain and Mammoth Mountain should have snow dumping on Saturday.
Here's the snowfall forecast graphic from the National Weather Service but only through Friday evening. Many areas (text details above) will pick up more through the holiday weekend. Enjoy!
Finally, as always, a huge THANKS to the Lyndon State College students Christopher Kurdek, Amanda Stone, and Scott Myerson for their weekly contribution to the SnoCast content and forecasts. You guys rock! Also a special thanks to LSC professor Jason Shafer.
'Til next week's SnoCast, have a safe and happy holiday, all!
Tahoe’s Freakers Ball will have DJs, gogo dancers, laser lights, plus $10,000 in cash and prizes costume contest. (MontBleu Resort Casino Spa/Facebook)
While the snow starts to fall on the high ground – and the snow guns get fired up – there’s still a couple of non-winter celebrations to enjoy at mountain resorts, including favorite Halloween.
A number of resorts across the nation put up the haunted houses, game booths and scary rides in October to get the nerves on edge for the big night, Oct. 30.
Here’s SnoCountry’s list of a few hair-raising, scream-filled events at ski and snowboard resorts:
Lake Tahoe. The 38th annual Freaker's Ball, Lake Tahoe’s largest, oldest and most extravagant Halloween party, brings the wild with a four-ring costume circus under one room on Saturday, Oct. 29, at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa.
Nashoba Valley. The popular Witch’s Woods is open Thursdays through Sundays through Halloween at the eastern Massachusetts mountain. Admission ticket gets a ride on Haunted Hayride, entry into three haunted houses, and unlimited time in the Jack O’Lantern Jamboree and Horrorwood Chamber of Chills.
Cranmore. The Ghoullog has been going on in the Artist Falls Lodge for 10 years. Four “haunts” challenge with “chases through dark woods,” plus nighttime rides on a swing, zipline and Mountain Coaster. Runs weekend evenings through Nov. 5.
Bretton Woods. On Halloween weekend, the northern New Hampshire resort opens its Wicked Woods center for Halloween activities. Scheduled are costume parties for both young and old, game booths and annual Trunk or Treat Family Celebration.
Mammoth. Bring scooters, skateboards, roller blades or roller skates for an evening on Oct. 28 at Mammoth RecZone in Mammoth Lakes. Plenty of carnival games to play while circling the rink.
Copper Mountain. The Colorado resort combines Halloween scary fun with a fundraiser for a local infant with a brain tumor. Entrance fees donated to family – plus cover candy, games and freaky fun.
Summer 2016 brings new trails and a third lift to the Ramshead mountain area at Killington, scheduled to open by late July. (Chandler Burgess/Killington Resort)
At nearly 100 ski and snowboard resorts across America, the ski lifts provide access for a burgeoning number of mountain bikers who seek the same thrills as downhill skiers and riders: turbo-charged straightaways, high-speed turns and plenty of air.