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SnoCountry SnoCast: "Chilling" Like Mid-Winter

SnoCountry SnoCast: "Chilling" Like Mid-Winter

Layers will be key as you hit the slopes this week! With the right precautions, nothing can stop skiers and riders from getting the fresh snow at Jay Peak Resort where a quick hit of arctic cold air is followed by some fresh snow for the weekend. (Photo: Christopher Kurdek)

We are going to see some temp swings both in the East and West in this week’s outlook. From warm ups to January-like cold snaps, and snow in between, here’s the breakdown of the forecast in this week's SnoCast.


 

We’re in mid December, the holidays are coming right up, and the ski conditions look great. Last winter was (not so fondly) "the winter that wasn't" for a lot of the East, no thanks to very warm temps. This year...much better! About 40 percent of the U.S. has snow on the ground, and nearly 100 percent of Canada. Compared to this time last year, many ski resorts are happy leading into the holidays. 

Snow cover comparison from this year to last year.

This week's outlook (Dec. 14-19) is quite a different story. Unlike last year with warm temps, we are in for some really chilly snaps that will have you digging for the layers before hitting the slopes in some areas. Oh, and snow, too. Here's what to expect by region.

Northeast: It seems we keep getting hit after hit of snow in the Northeast. While each system is generally small and quick moving, it has helped generate good early season skiing and riding. It’s going to be brutally cold (like, lots of layers and frequent 'pop-ins to the lodge’ cold) to finish this week. Most ski areas will have temps below zero in the mornings in New York and New England, and daytime highs in the single digits Friday. That arctic chill breaks a bit for the weekend, though, as a system moves through the Great Lakes. Expect a few inches of fresh snow on the mountains Saturday. Get out early before milder temps build back in through the day (and maybe a little mixed precip). The numbers below show the GFS model output, but do not account for any melting after as temps climb Saturday-Sunday. Look for another quick cold snap behind that system for early next week.

Snow forecast from the GFS (American) model

 

MidWest:A forecast with “book-end” arctic air for our Midwest ski areas this week. Bone-chilling mornings and mid-winter like days finish this work week. Look for a small shot of natural snow later Friday night into Saturday as a quick moving system drops a few inches of snow. That system pulls in yet another taste of arctic air to follow for early next week. One word: layers.

West: Western ski areas may also have some temperature swings to deal with this week. A storm system moving through northern California has tons of moisture with it Wednesday-Thursday (Dec. 14-15), but snow levels will be very high as warmer air comes in from the Pacific. As that system pushes inward, there will be enough cold air to get snow over Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming mountains Thursday and lingering into the start of the weekend. Look for the highest amounts, a foot or more, over the Wasatch of Utah and the Wyoming Wind River and Teton Ranges. Get out Friday for best conditions, since bitter cold air pours in by the weekend for a lot of the interior west mountains. Another quick shot of snow comes into the Pacific Northwest (Washington/Oregon Cascades) Sunday with a few more inches.

Snow forecast from the European ensemble output model.

Canada: Certainly enough cold air to go around now. Very cold, arctic air will dip through eastern Canada finishing this work week. Another pocket of cold, arctic air also swings through central Canada over the weekend. So, where’s the snow? The storm system mentioned in the Northeast section will deliver several inches of snow for ski areas in Ontario and Quebec Saturday. There will be plenty of time to make snow for ski areas with ample cold in place. Look for deeper moisture over British Columbia, the coastal range and Rockies by the end of the weekend and especially early next week. This will likely bring big accumulation over several days, really picking up intensity sometime mid next week. We’ll be talking about that in next week’s SnoCast. 

Cold temps remain in place for Canada over the next 5 days 

That's all 'til next week's SnoCast.

Special thanks to Lyndon State College students Amanda Stone, Chris Kurdek, and Scott Myerson for weekly contributions and forecasts.

 

 

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Let It Snow

SnoCountry SnoCast: Let It Snow

Let's fill these chairs! Jay Peak Resort boasts a foot of fresh snow in the past 72 hours.  (Jay Peak Resort/Facebook)  

So far, I like the look of December. Now that it’s cold enough, several systems will help build up our snow totals and keep smiles on your faces! Let’s dig into this week’s SnoCast.


December promises to bring more cold and snow. Check out how the snow cover has improved over the past week. We're building up the snow all over the place- (check latest snow reports here). A sure sign winter is off to a solid start. Snow depth over the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia still dominate the maps, and will (again) have some of the most snow in this week's outlook.

Snow cover across the US and parts of Canada

Here's the forecast breakdown by region for the next several days:

West: Coming off a pretty cold couple of days and fresh new snow at so many mountains, another storm system will bring big snow through the end of the week (especially the higher peaks) for the mountains of California Thursday, then press northward to Oregon, Washington,and Idaho through the end of the week.This area already has some of the country's deepest snow depth- check local avalanche conditions (it's that deep). Generally 4-8” for many northwest mountain bases, but look for higher totals 1-2 feet through Saturday over the higher Cascades in Washington and Oregon, and also in the high terrain of the Sierra, perhaps near Tahoe.

That system and energy eventually presses into Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado through the weekend, leaving behind several inches of fresh snow for the weekend for many ski areas. With a fast west to east flowing jet stream up above, systems will be quick, and dump snow, but timing will be a big challenge, so forecasts beyond the weekend are going to be "iffy." Check the forecast often for early next week's outlook. 

National Weather Service forecase snowfall map through Friday, December 9 for the western US.

Midwest/Northeast: The Northeast continues to build up the base with shots of snow. A cold front drops in from Canada Friday, allowing cold air to fill in. This will help generate lake effect snow off the great lakes (good news for the Adirondacks in New York), and will also help generate a light snow in New England’s mountains through the end of the week. A few inches of upslope snow will create a soft coat on what’s already on the ground.

Watch for another system early next week (Monday, Dec, 12) as a stronger storm moves into the Great Lakes region/Northeast. This one could bring higher totals for our slopes.

National Weather Service forecast snowfall map through Dec. 9 for Eastern U.S. (NWS)

Canada: So far this season, most of the love from Mother Nature has been over western Canada. Some of the deepest snow in north America lives over B.C., including at Cypress, Mt Seymour, and Whistler. To the east, pleasant changes in the forecast. Recent mild temperatures over Ontario and Quebec will be replaced by much colder weather in the days ahead. Snow showers for eastern Canada through the end of this week as low pressure pulls away through Hudson Bay. Look for a more potent system early next week (Monday, Dec 12) over eastern Canada, which will likely bring higher totals to the ski areas of Quebec and Ontario. Also, colder air will help aid in snow making.

Upper atmosphere pattern for late week shows troughing/colder air returning to eastern Canada and northeast. This should stay into next week

This colder pattern in eastern Canada and the eastern U.S. will set the stage for storms to drop the goods. If you buy the European model ensemble output for the Northeast/Canada, we shouldn't have any bare ground left by early next week. Forecast image below shows snowfall from today (Dec. 7) through Tuesday, Dec. 13. While actual totals will (no doubt) end up being different, this paints a nice chance of almost all areas here getting snow on the ground. 

 snowfall from Dec. 7 through Dec. 13

'Til next week's edition of SnoCast! Let it snow!  

And a special thanks for contributions each week from Lyndon State College students, Scott Myerson, Amanda Stone and Christopher Kurdek!

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SnoCountry SnoCast: December Arrives, Cold Not Far Behind

SnoCountry SnoCast: December Arrives, Cold Not Far Behind

Over 100" have already fallen at the higher mountains of British Columbia this season--including Whistler.  (Whistler Blackcomb/Facebook)

While there will be some temp swings in the days ahead, there will be opportunities for snow in many areas. Looking in the longer term, it looks like the coldest air of the season will settle in to some of the country in the not too distant future.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Gobbling up the forecast

SnoCountry SnoCast: Gobbling up the forecast

Snow cover has really improved just this past week. We'll add to it in many areas with an active weather pattern ahead.

It may be the Thanksgiving week, but Mother Nature is going to deliver like it’s Christmas for some parts of the country. Check out the forecast details in this week’s delicious SnoCast.


 

Here’s the setup: A fairly active pattern lies ahead, with a few storm systems in the west providing ample moisture over the next seven days. Add in enough cold air at that means **snow** to many of our western ski areas, especially over the peaks of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. In the east, a solid pre-Thanksgiving week has ramped up the snowpack and base depth. A fickle forecast will provide windows of snow/cold to help build those bases as more ski areas look to open over the next two weeks.

Watch SnoCast video below, or keep scrolling for forecast info.

West: A storm system located off the Pacific Northwest coast will pump in moisture for Thanksgiving Day over the Washington Cascades and Canadian Rockies. This one delivers anywhere from 6-18” for many mountains in this area. Another potent storm plows into northern California Friday-Saturday, providing another 10-20 for the higher peaks of the Cascades, Coastal Range, and Sierra Nevada of California, Oregon, and Washington. Who needs shopping Friday when you’ve got fresh snow on the slopes? Look for another system over the Cascades then eastward into Idaho early next week (Nov. 28)- keep an eye on the forecast for amounts as we get closer. Take a look at snowfall forecast totals through Friday (Nov. 25).

Raw model forecast snow totals through Friday evening

East: After the first solid snow storm of the season only days ago, northeast ski areas are loving this change in the weather. Quite a few ski areas have opened up recently in the northeast, including Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. Check out this tweet on opening day, but more importantly, check out the snow! 

tweet from Loon

A brief shot of snow Thanksgiving day for the New York Adirondacks and northern New England peaks comes in advance of a brief warm-up Friday-Saturday. Recent snow will settle in a bit with this milder weekend. BUT, keep an eye on a storm system lurking near the southern New England coast through the weekend. While there's a lot of uncertainty still in exact position (as coastal storms are always a forecast challenge), if the low pressure stays close enough to the coast, we could wrap in little more fresh snow over the higher elevations of Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire Saturday night-Sunday. At the very least, colder air will fill back in following this system to allow some snow making Sunday to Monday of next week.

tropical tidbits.com

 

Best Bets: There will be a lot of mountains that get fresh snow this week... so, three cheers for that (hip hip hooray)!  Your best bets will be any of the open ski areas for turns through the weekend. Check out who's turning lifts by visiting our open resorts section here on SnoCountry.com. 

Check back in next Wednesday for the next SnoCast! -Kerrin



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Squaw Valley Clears Development Hurdle

Squaw Valley Clears Development Hurdle

This rendering shows what the base area will look like after redevelopment (Squaw Valley Tomorrow)

Squaw Valley officials say completion of final design and plans for the multi-decade project can get underway after Placer County approval of its ambitious development plans for the base area.


 

The project at the Lake Tahoe resort reflects a trend among Western resorts to upgrade into order to keep up with their international and domestic competitors. Officials recognize that the pre-eminence of Squaw Valley in the 1960s and 1980s has waned, due greatly to the lack of concerted updating and reinivigorating the property.

About 90 percent of the project lies on existing parking lots, according to resort officials, and calls for an overhaul of existing retail outlets, and construction of about 1,500 new beds in some 750 lodging units. The initial work on the project would include ski in/ski out lodging, fractional cabins on the west side of the base area, and the Mountain Adventure Camp – a 90,000 square foot rec center that sits partially on the previous center’s footprint.

The timeline for completion of the $1 billion project extends out as far as 25 years, and initial work won’t begin until planning approvals can be secured for each portion of the development.



“Each lot that is to be developed will be subject to a similar public review and approval process that includes opportunity for community input, so nothing is immediately going to start in the way of construction,” Squaw’s Jess VanPernis Weaver told SnoCountry.com, noting that actual construction may not begin for a couple of years.

The project sits on 22 parcels owned by KSL Capital Partners, which bought the resort in 2010 from closely held interests that stretch back to the 1949 opening of the mountain. Recently, Squaw Valley and neighboring Alpine Meadows joined forces.

Opening day for the 2016-2017 season is slated for Nov. 23, weather permitting.

Squaw Valley 


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SnoCountry SnoCast: Treats, No Tricks In This Week's Forecast

SnoCountry SnoCast: Treats, No Tricks In This Week's Forecast

At least 100 guns on top to bottom Northern Lights, Borealis, Aludra, Lights Out, Lower Downdraft, and Paradigm at Maine's Sunday River. (Sunday River/Facebook)

As we transition into November in this week’s SnoCast, winter weather is making a more frequent appearance at our mountain tops. We’ll get shots of chilly air and snow at many mountains, both in the east and the west, so let’s dig in.

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Making Snow In East; Stormy Northwest

SnoCountry SnoCast: Making Snow In East; Stormy Northwest

Jackson Hole may see snow at upper elevations from the coming storm. (Jackson Hole Mountain Resort)

Get ready, skiers and riders. There are more early signs that the season isn’t far away.

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When Snow Melts, Watery Thrills Await With Whitewater Rafting

When Snow Melts, Watery Thrills Await With Whitewater Rafting

Browns Canyon along Arkansas River is not for the faint of heart (AVA Rafting/Facebook)

Every spring, the high country sends cascades of frigid cold, roaring water down mountain rivers. While the runoff signals the end of the ski and snowboard season, it also means that it’s time to hop into a raft and keep the thrills coming.

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California Dreamin’ Comes True For Ski Resorts In Summer

Snow Summit mountain bike parkWe all know that “summer” and “California” are inexorably linked, but it’s not just beaches and surf at ski and snowboard resorts up in the mountains.

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Mountain Resorts Heat Up With Summer Fitness Events

Killington's Race to Peak (Chandler Burgess)Health, fitness, and well-being are hot topics today. Once ski season winds down, the active outdoors lifestyle trend heats up at mountains resorts. Events like Spartan races and Tough Mudders challenge participants to be fit and mentally tough.

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Tahoe Donner Land Purchase To Open More Nordic Terrain

Tahoe Donner NordicThe sale of 640 acres near Donner Pass will allow Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area to reopen terrain that has been roped off to Nordic enthusiasts.

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Spring Storms Let More Resorts Extend Seasons - SoCal To NW

Snow Summit SpringJust when we thought El Niño has petered out on the mountains of the West, the metrological maiden has come on with force to put down as much as two feet as April begins.Thus, a number of resorts in the West have decided to stay open a bit longer. 

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Tahoe Resorts Push To Late Closing Dates; Too Good To End

Mt. Rose SpringIt’s just been too good at Lake Tahoe resorts this season – and so much better than recent years -- not to stay open longer than planned.

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USSA Proposes Squaw Valley For 2017 Women's World Cup

Squaw Valley 1960 OlysThe U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) has selected Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows as the proposed site of an Audi FIS Ski World Cup in 2017. U.S. Ski Team officials are supporting the return of World Cup ski racing to the Olympic venue of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows for the first time since 1969.

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Lifts To Keep On Churning In West; Mammoth Aims For Memorial Day

El Niño’s largesse has fallen mostly on Sierra and Pacific Northwest resorts this season, prompting several to extend their seasons and others just happy to make it to their usual closing date.

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SoCal's Mountain High Temporarily Closed; Snow Valley Honors Passes

Mountain HighUnusually high temps have forced Mountain High to shut down it lifts until conditions improve, but one of its SoCal neighbors has stepped in to help.

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Tahoe's Homewood To Run Snowcat Tours; Colorado, Utah Tours Flush With Powder

Homewood snort toursA number of Rocky Mountain resorts and companies run off-piste snowcat powder tours, and now Homewood Mountain Resort will become the first in California to haul powderhounds to their heaven.

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February Weather Flop Coming Up

ForecastFor the first part of winter, Western mountains have received abundant snowfall, while areas in the Midwest and Northeast have seen warm temperatures and little snowfall.

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Shaun White Returns To SoCal Freestyle Roots; Buys Into Mammoth Resorts

Shaun WhiteBy age six, Shaun White was riding the rails at Big Bear Mountain -- and catching the eye of promoters of the new sport of freestyle. At age seven, the San Diego native had a sponsorship, and was tearing up the terrain parks at Mammoth Mountain.

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Storm Track To Deliver Big Snow To West, Upper Midwest

ForecastGroundhog Day (Feb. 2) may be one that skiers and snowboarders would like to relive day after day as an active storm track is set to move a pair of systems out of the Rockies and into the Upper Midwest, delivering potentially huge snowfall totals.

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