Since the beginning of January, storms have been rolling off the Pacific and feeding the mountains of the West. Selected areas have been getting pounded, like the five feet that fell on Utah's Wasatch Range in five days.
A storm that may end up being the largest from coast-to-coast is already underway. From blizzard conditions in California to feet in the East, we’ve got the entire breakdown here for where to ski and ride in the coming week.
In this week’s SnoCast, the weather calms down… briefly. After a hyper-active 1-2 weeks behind us, some light shots of snow will continue to add to an already outstanding season.
Christmas in the mountains runs deep with traditions. But a number of resorts try to work outside the box and be creative with their celebrations.
After an incredible November, more wintry conditions take us into December. We’ll kick it off with a cross-country storm system tracking low across the U.S.
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.
Bragging rights to long ski and ride seasons belong to a handful of resorts across the country and the fun-loving die-hards who enjoy some of the best turns of the year with goggle tans and fun parties to end the year.
Slopestyle skiers Maggie Voisin, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper are among the 15 athletes nominated to the Olympic Freeski Team. (Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski & Snowboard)
A strong and deep U.S. Olympic Freeskiing Team is headed to PyeongChang for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Deer Valley is Alterra Mountain Company's Utah destination. (Alterra Mountain Company)
The joint venture of affiliates of KSL Capital Partners and Henry Crown and Company that brought together Intrawest Resorts holdings, Mammoth Mountain, Deer Valley and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, now has a name: Alterra Mountain Company.
Mammoth's ski and ride season lasted 270 days last year. (Mammoth)
Skiers and riders love to talk about the weather, and where to find the perfect storm of great snow and value tops the SnoCountry.com news for 2017.
Crystal Mountain in Washington opened Wednesday. (Crystal Mountain/Facebook)
A powerful weather system delivers heavy snow across the West through Friday, then leads to lake effect snow during the weekend for the East.
Celebrations at Breck. (Breckenridge/Facebook)
As if to say auf wiedersehene to summer and willkommen to winter, Oktoberfest in the Western mountains is celebrated just as the seasons pivot away from fun-in-the-sun and toward the upcoming ski and snowboard season.
Good times kept rollin' at Mammoth. (Mammoth Mountain/Facebook)
It will take a record 270 days, but Mammoth Mountain will finally put an end to the 2016-2017 ski and snowboard season Aug. 6.
Hittin' the summer ski scene at Squaw. (Squaw Valley/Facebook)
After one of the best snow season in recent times, a quartet of Western mountains will keep the lifts turning well into what should be the season for sun-bathing and surfing.
Squaw-Alpine wants to stay open all summer. (Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows/Facebook)
A bonanza year in much of the Sierra Nevada and plenty of late-season snow in the Rockies will keep a dozen ski and snowboard resorts operating into May and beyond.
Aspen Skiing Company and KSL Partners are purchasing four California resorts, including Mammoth Mountain.
Moving quickly after purchasing Intrawest resorts, a new Aspen-based ownership group announced it has bought Mammoth Mountain and three other resorts in the Southern California mountains.
The heretofore unnamed entity, formed by Aspen Skiing Corp. and KSL Capital Partners, said it will close this fall on a sale of a quartet of areas including Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain.
The announcement comes on the heels of the group’s industry-rocking purchase of Colorado’s Steamboat and Winter Park, Quebec’s Mont Tremblant, Vermont’s Stratton, Ontario’s Blue Mountain and West Virginia’s Snowshoe. The four Aspen mountains and Squaw Valley-Alpine, a KSL property, will come under the umbrella of the new group but will continue to operate independently.
Because both purchases aren’t expected to be finalized until next fall, resort-specific season tickets will be honored for next season. So will the M.A.X. Pass, Rocky Mountain Super Pass and Mountain Collective that overlap into the partnership’s new portfolio in various ways.
“We had greater plans for Mammoth but the Great Recession and then some less favorable weather, interfered with our strategic aspirations in a finite life investment vehicle,” said Barry Sternlicht of Starwood Capital Group that owned Mammoth and the other resorts “We know Aspen and KSL have the experience, commitment, and balance sheet to help make our vision a reality.”
No upgrading plans have been announced yet, but indications are that the new entity has the capital to put into improvements at these resorts – for both winter and summer. However, official statements have noted that coordinating e-commerce technology among all the resorts will a high priority in order to expand the marketing capabilities of all the mountains.
The move by Aspen Skiing Corp. to acquire and consolidate some 15 resorts under the Aspen-KSL roof is seen by industry officials as a response to Vail Resort’s two-decade effort to acquire 14 resorts across the U.S. and Canada.
Deep powder prevails at Heavenly (Heavenly/Facebook)
Plenty of pow at Mammoth. (Mammoth/Facebook)
The sudden turn of fortune for Mammoth Mountain – and the rest of the Sierra – has prompted the California resort to stay open until the Fourth of July.
Officials said a record month in December, another 20 feet in January and more to come made the decision easy. This season’s July 4 closing is the first time since 2010-2011 season when nearly 56 feet – 668 inches -- piled up.
Not only are skiers and snowboarders stoked by the record snowfall, California water officials are too: The snowpack in the Eastern Sierra is 173 percent of normal – with several months of winter to go.
Since Mammoth opened for the 1969-70 season, there have been six seasons with more than 500 inches falling from the sky, according to stats from mammothsnowman.com. The bleakest winter at the California mountain came in 1976-77 when a mere 96 inches came down – with none in December!
Mammoth's mammoth weathers the storm. (Mammoth/Facebook)
After a month of January that put up to 20 feet on the ground in the Sierra, you’d figure things would calm down at bit. But before that happens, there’s a couple of more feet on the way.
OpenSnow.com forecasters say that snow at Tahoe-area resorts should drop between one and two feet this weekend – and storms will stick around for another couple of days beyond that. Up north, Washington and Oregon resorts should benefit as the jet stream shifts to a more northern route in February.
“We should see a break Saturday night into Sunday but with winds picking back up,” said OpenSnow’s Bryan Allegretto about Tahoe. “Then another storm moves in Sunday night into Monday. This storm also has snow levels near lake level until falling later Monday. We could see 3-10 inches at lake level, and 4-15 inches on the mountains by Monday night.”
For example, China Peak was expected to get more than a foot over the weekend, pause on Monday, and then get ready for up to four more feet next week, according to OpenSnow forecasts.
This on top of a month of January that recalled years gone by when double-digit snowfalls were standard. At Mammoth Mountain, the month included one-day dumps of 42 inches (Jan. 4) and 91 inches total in the week of Jan. 7-13. Total for the month topped 200 inches.
California water officials say that the month’s moist largesse helped replenish a third of the state’s “water deficit,” refilled reservoirs and setting up for a spring melt that would refurbish some of the state’s groundwater supply. But they warned that without consistent precipitation, the benefits of the winter’s snow bonanza will diminish fairly soon.