Last season, portions of Idaho were among the few locales in the West that got normal snowfall, so hopes are high for an even better season in the Gem State.
Thanksgiving weekend will be especially tasty in the western United States and Canada with multiple helpings of snow storms.
We’re turning the calendar to November in this SnoCountry SnoCast, and with that comes more signals that winter is coming. A weather pattern featuring frequent storm systems will impact both the western and eastern areas this week.
As a new season begins, skiers and snowboarders head to the hills, always looking for what’s new at their favorite resort – and what improvements they might find if they venture to other areas.
Here’s a look at a quintet of resorts in Colorado, Idaho and California that expect to drop the ropes in early November.
With the proliferation of Smartphones and digital cameras, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture the beauty of the West – especially in the mountains.
A staple on the activity slate at many ski and snowboard resorts in the Rocky Mountains is the fast-chargin’, whip-turnin’ mountain coaster.
Summer vacationers often seek out lakefront property to cool off, and a number of ski and snowboard resorts across the West are blessed with a lake within spittin’ distance.
Summertime at ski and snowboard resorts in the Great Northwest packs in all manner of adventure, food and new perspectives.
Resorts all over the West put gravity mountain biking on the top of the summer attractions. Those who crank up the lifts in the off-season put on bike racks and bring riders to great heights.
The annual Masterfit Boot Test concluded after a 5-day ordeal in which some 35 volunteer testers donned 98 boot models and sallied outside to put them through their paces at Silver Mountain, Idaho.
A late-night fire at the Warm Springs Day Lodge at Sun Valley has caused heavy damage to the 25-year-old base lodge, but no one was inside at the time of the blaze as the resort closed four days prior.
Hittin' the deep stuff. (Schweitzer/Facebook)
Nestled high in the Selkirks of northernmost Idaho, Schweitzer has the feel of a locals’ mountain and a burgeoning destination resort. Its 2,900 acres sit 45 miles from the Canadian border and above lumber town Sandpoint and Lake Pend Orielle. In a season like 2017-2018, Schweitzer gets plenty of snow but conditions can be variable – and weather foggy -- because it’s fed by moisture-laden Pacific storms.
Plenty of trees to navigate at Lookout. (Lookout Pass/Facebook)
This season, the snow gods have smiled mostly upon the Northern Rockies, just in time to debut a new trail at Lookout Pass and produce optimism for planned upgrades.
More pow' in the trees at Tamarack. (Tamarack Resort/Facebook)
Early season snow storms are tracking right over the Cascades and Northern Rockies, and many resorts have already opened – some with improvements made over the summer.
Arcing a jump at Sun Valley terrain park. (Sun Valley/Facebook)
Keepin’ up with ever-changing terrain park trends presents a challenge to all resorts, and Sun Valley is one that is making sure it’s current … and cool.
Lookout Pass has popular Learn to Ski & Ride and Bring a Friend programs that run all season long. (Bob Legasa Freeride Media)
There’s never been a better time to find ski/snowboarding discounts, freebies, and deals.
Finding some freshies above Sun Valley. (Sun Valley Trekking/Facebook)
Heading into the backcountry transports skiers and rider into a world of powder, mystery and quiet – especially if the trip includes a night or two out in the woods.
A summer chairlift ride includes eye-popping views. (Schweitzer Mountain Resort/Facebook)
Idahoans and visitors alike escape the summer heat down below by heading into the mountains of the Gemstone state.
Payette River goes big near Tamarack. (Tamarack Resort/Facebook)
The winter may be over, but a solid reminder of what a good year it was in the West continues to play out in the rivers that are flowing bank-full out of the mountains this spring.
Mt Rose Ski Tahoe boasts the deepest overall base depth of any resort in the West with nearly 220" left on the ground, and a season total of nearly 750." There has been near record amounts of snow for the central Sierra Nevada range for the 2016-17 ski season. (Mt Rose Ski Tahoe/Twitter)
We continue to dig deeper into spring, but ski areas continue to press on. This week, we look to the Northwest U.S. for the best chance of new snow and fresh turns. But, cold enough temperatures at night in the Northeast may allow the ski season to continue for another week or more for some determined ski areas in the Northeast.
Here’s what to expect in the forecast for April 12 -17.
Western U.S.: We have to look to the Northwest part of the country to see fresh snow this week. Parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and some of Wyoming are in luck with this next storm system to roll through. Wednesday night through Thursday, expect snow to develop over the Sierra Nevada, Cascades, and northern Rockies. Snow levels will generally be at or over 5500’ for this system. Expect a general 4-8” of new snow at many ski areas, with locally a foot or more for the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and also the higher mountains in Idaho by the end of the week.
On a side note, it has been an incredible year for snow over the Western mountains. The Central Sierra have about twice normal precipitation levels for this time of year, near the record pace of the '82-83 season. This has left current base depths deep enough to keep the season going strong well into spring for many Western resorts.
To see all ski areas open:
In the Rockies, click here
In the Northwest, click here
In the Southwest, click here
Eastern U.S. / Midwest: As I alluded to in last week’s SnoCast, the seasons are choosing sides. The cold is still left in the West, but spring has thoroughly sprung for the east. It’s been an awesome run this year for northeast ski areas with plenty of big dumps, but unfortunately this week is going to make it tough for ski areas to hang on much longer with several resorts targeting their last days. Temperatures will continue to be warm and spring-like by day, but still dip near the freezing mark at night. For those determined ski areas that keep going, snow blowing may be possible a few nights this week in the northeast and New England, but little or no natural snow is expected in the forecast. Hey! The best news of all, for those apres-ski and pond skimming events coming up, the weather looks absolutely perfect!
To see all ski areas open:
In the Northeast, click here
In the Midwest, click here
There are no Southeast region ski areas still turning chairs this season. See ya next year .
Canada: Much like in the U.S., all the cold air this week will be confined to the western part of the country. Snow will overspread the mountains of British Columbia and Alberta Thursday, and continue periodically into the weekend. Generally 4-8” of new snow can be expected, with locally a foot or more over the higher peaks. Meanwhile, in the East, it’s going to be tough to get much (if any) natural snowfall in the next 3-6 days at least. Temps will be near freezing overnights, but reach into the 40s and 50s by day for Southern Ontario and Quebec for the next several days.
To see all the ski areas open in Canada, click here
Look above at the model snowfall forecast image for a peek at possible snow amounts for Western Canada.
Finally, we'll cap it off with a mid-range forecast. Here’s a look at the temperatures outlook for the 6 -10 day forecast (April 17-21, 2017) from the Climate Prediction Center. Looks like there will still be cold air left in the Northwest and California, perhaps to bring in more snowfall with each passing system. Also in New England, blue on the image means colder than normal air. Otherwise, spring warmth builds in for next week.
That's all for this week's SnoCountry SnoCast, skiers and riders! Enjoy it while it lasts!
-Meteorologist Kerrin Jeromin