More and more Front Range skiers. Same number of coveted parking spots. That’s the dilemma local ski resorts face each year. And it’s getting worse.
As lift lines get longer and trails more crowded, many a skier and rider looks longingly past the ropes into the untouched terrain beyond.
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.
The snow guns are firin’, the supply chain is hummin’ and everyone is primed for a new ski and snowboard season across the West.
Fall and the first tastes of winter continue to duke it out across North America. With occasional bursts of cold and spurts of snow continuing in this week’s forecast, it’s a reminder that winter, truly, is not far away.
While it looks like Colorado’s Wolf Creek Ski Area will win the #RaceToOpen this season, but numerous resorts are also preparing early openings for the 2018-19 season.
Some of the images coming from the Rocky Mountain region have us excited, but also taking a double look! More snow will fall along some of the range, which we’ll discuss, and also how this winter looks to shape up.
Copper Mountain Resort officially kicked off the 2018-19 snowmaking season early Sunday morning near the top of the Excelerator lift on Andy’s Encore trail. Meanwhile, Loveland Ski Area received three inches of new snow, and just over the Continental Divide, Arapahoe Basin also reported a fresh coat of snow.
As summer fades to fall, skiers and snowboarders across North America are chomping at the bit to strap on the boards when Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area, Vermont’s Killington Resort and Maine’s Sunday River prepare for the annual #racetoopen for the 2018-19 season.
Powder Alliance, the so-called “off-beat” combined pass, is now a partnership of 19 resorts in U.S., Canada, Japan and Chile with the addition of Sugar Bowl, Loveland and two mountains in the Canadian Rockies.
Leapin' off the ridge on bluebird day. (Loveland/Facebook)
Many of the original ski areas in Colorado went up hard by the snow-grabbing Continental Divide. Born in 1937, Loveland Ski Area is one of them, where above-tree line skiing and riding means never the same line twice … and the snow just keeps on comin’.
Loveland could see a few more inches this week. (Loveland/Dustin Schefer/Facebook)
Welcome into the week of Halloween! I don't want to spook you, but blizzard conditions are possible in parts of the country. Let's talk about what we can expect.
Not long before it's like this at Loveland. (Loveland/Facebook)
Ever since 1936, Loveland Ski Area has been among the first mountains to open for the winter season. And 2017-18 is no different for the Continental Divide ski and snowboard area.
Cheers for the new ski and snowboard season. (Arapahoe Basin/Facebook)
The annual friendly competition to see which Colorado mountain starts up first is over for 2017-2018.
Young skiers at Ridge Cat pickup. (Loveland/Facebook)
At Loveland Ski Area – like all mountains -- a day ticket or season pass gets you onto all the lifts on the mountain. Unlike most others, your ticket at Loveland also puts you in line for a few snowcat rides into powder country.
The forecast may not be ideal, but ski areas are determined to open. Loveland is set to spin chairs on Thursday, Nov. 10 and others hope to follow with help from Mother Nature. (Loveland/Facebook)
Still not exactly the weather pattern we all are hoping for in this week’s SnoCast. But, even if Mother Nature won’t deliver the big picture, we’ll find the small previews of winter weather to keep us giddy for what’s ahead. Here’s the breakdown of this week’s forecast.
Current Conditions: A strong ridge of high pressure still dominates the weather over much of the US, delivering mainly dry air and warm temps.
Forecast: However, small breakdowns of this ridge over the next week delivers a little moisture and brief windows of cold for snowmaking. Look for a brief colder period and a small coating of snow over northern New England/Quebec Friday into the start of the weekend (Nov. 11-12). In the west, two waves of moisture will bring mostly rain with the warmth, but some decent high elevation snow to British Columbia and some western peaks Friday night and again Sunday-Monday. Here's a look at one output from the GFS (American) model...overall, somewhat dismal outlook this stretch.
Canada: Look for some good accumulating snow over B.C. Friday night (Nov 11) - several inches likely for the coastal range, including Whistler Blackcomb which has already had an epic start this year for snowfall. Another wave of moisture brings several more inches to all B.C. ranges Sunday night to Monday (Nov. 13-14). A light dusting to two inches will also come with a period of cold and snowmaking opportunity for Quebec ski areas Friday-Saturday.
East: A brief shot of colder air fills into New England Friday-Saturday (Nov. 11-12) which coats the mountains with a dusting to two inches. You bet the mountains that can will be snowmaking in hopes of getting the season underway ASAP. Unfortunately, it’s a short window, and warmth will slide back in to follow through early next week. The overall pattern may shift colder looking ahead toward the days leading up to and around Thanksgiving.
West: While most of the western outlook is dismal at best, look for a decent shot of snow (likely several inches) over the Washington Cascades Sunday night-Monday (Nov 13-14). What I’ll be watching for here is the bleed in of that moisture and colder air to perhaps deliver snow to more of the western mountains approaching mid next week (Nov. 15-17) … but will need a little more time to develop more certainty on that and amounts, which I’ll do in next week’s SnoCast.
Despite a somewhat crummy hand of cards dealt from Mother Nature, some ski areas are still set to open this week. Check out Loveland Ski Area's plan to spin chairs. Until we can get a solid pattern change (which looks more likely in the last 10-12 days of this month) we will have to continue doing our snow dance, friends.
Think snowy thoughts, 'til next week's SnoCast!
Loveland's snow guns have been blasting in the last couple of weeks. (Loveland/Facebook)
UPDATED Wednesday, Nov. 9: Loveland Ski Area becomes the second ski and snowboard mountain in the Rockies as the resort is all prepped and ready for opening on Thursday (Nov. 10).
Snowmaking in the Northridge Area at Killington Resort kicked off October 10, 2016. (Killington Photo / Chandler Burgess)
Vermont’s Killington Resort threw it’s hat into the #RaceToOpen ring when it began snowmaking operations early Monday morning, October 10, in anticipation of kicking off the 2016-17 ski and snowboard season.
Colorado's Loveland Ski Area started making snow on Monday, October 3. (Photo Dustin Schaefer / Ricoh Imaging)
It’s snow time!
Colorado’s Loveland Ski Area, Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain Resort have all started making snow in preparation for kicking off the 2016-17 ski and snowboard season, and to welcome to U.S. Ski Team and back home.