A powerful winter storm hit the western U.S. over the Thanksgiving holiday, delivering huge snow totals from California to the northeast. While the storm caused trouble during the busy holiday travel days, the snow made skiers and riders very thankful.
Cinco de Mayo atop Snowbird. (Snowbird/Facebook)
This time of year, the snow is melting and bare ground begins to show. But the spring ritual of skiing and riding under a warm sun and on moist, soft snow is a fitting close to any ski and snowboarding season.
Skiing and riding underway at Mount Rose. (Mount Rose Ski Tahoe/Facebook)
California has two dozen ski and snowboard resorts, and the bulk of them have minimal lodging and rely upon skiers and riders who drive up for the day.
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.
Snowcats open up new powder stashes at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows (Squaw Valley/Facebook)
The storms have started to roll across the Sierra Nevada, giving skiers and snowboarders who venture to the Lake Tahoe region a taste of what is to come this season.
A pair of skiers punctuate the new season at Copper Mountain. (Copper Mountain/Facebook)
Just as doomsayers raised their voices, Mother Nature came to the rescue in the West and turned the conversation to, “When are you opening?”
For many resorts in the Rockies, Sierra and Cascades, the answer is a resounding “soon.” Yes, terrain will be quite limited – often a couple of runs in the beginner/intermediate areas – but many ski and snowboard areas put up cheap ticket deals to get people to the slopes as soon as possible.
Significant snowfall coursed across the northern tier of the Western mountains in the past week, dropping as much as a foot on Steamboat which opens this week. Most Colorado resorts that pushed back their traditional pre-Thanksgiving opening days have put a new date on the calendar. Colorado’s Keystone, Breckenridge, Winter Park and Copper Mountain all dropped the ropes this past week, after a week’s delay. Eldora is set drop the ropes this week.
Out west In SoCal, Mammoth Mountain has been open for a couple of weeks and, in the Sierra, both Boreal and Mount Rose began spinning lifts this past week while a slew of other Tahoe-area resorts plan to open for Thanksgiving.
Early snow has come fitfully to Utah, but Snowbasin plans to lead the pack with a Wednesday (Nov. 23) start, followed by Park City on Friday (Nov. 25). A bunch of Utah’s 15 resorts haven’t announced an opening yet.
Up in the Northwest, Mount Baker expects to win the race this season by kicking off the season on Nov. 23. Others have coverage, but await more.
OpenSnow forecasters see multiple storm systems rolling in off the Pacific in the next couple of weeks, bringing significant snowfall to the mountains and brightening the prospects for early-goers all across the West.
From British Columbia to Arizona – and most everywhere in between – you can hear the yips and yelps as the 2015-2016 western skiing and snowboarding season begins with a bang.
After several seasons of below-average snow, preseason storms have heartened Californian skiers and snowboarders and prompted resorts in the Golden Bear State to set opening dates.
After a snow-challenged 2012-13 season that came on the heels of an industry slowdown, the 14 resorts that ring Lake Tahoe kept upgrades modest this summer. Still, there are a number of improvements.
Plans for 11 beginner-intermediate runs and more snowmaking at Mount Rose, Nev. have received a preliminary nod from the U.S. Forest Service and now go out for public comment.