The 11th annual Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, going on now, has a new twist. Resorts across the U.S. are gearing up for a special celebration Friday, Jan. 11 – the first National Learn to Ski or Snowboard Day.
Early on, above-freezing temps kept snowfall down in the Pacific Northwest. But lately, the temps have dropped and the depths have risen. Pacific storms have stayed north, pummeling the Cascades and intermountain region with snowfall measured in feet.
Everyone knows what a rush it is to have a full day of skiing and riding, but often you still have the rhythm in your bones even after the lifts close. Enter the apres-ski music scene at mountain resorts.
SnoCountry scanned the West and came up with a sampling of apres-ski spots where the rockin’ goes on long past the final run of the day.
The options for skiing and riding in Oregon range from the one-lift town hill to the only year-round mountain in the United States – with all kinds of variety in between.
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.
The snow guns are firin’, the supply chain is hummin’ and everyone is primed for a new ski and snowboard season across the West.
The first snow storms of the 2018-2019 season have coursed across the Pacific Northwest, and a number of resorts are gearing up for November openings.
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.
Summertime at ski and snowboard resorts in the Great Northwest packs in all manner of adventure, food and new perspectives.
Iconic mountain lodge has it all. (Timberline Lodge/Facebook)
Only one resort in North America spins its lifts in all four seasons. That’s Timberline Lodge Ski & Snowboard Area, hard on the slopes of Oregon’s Mount Hood and beneficiary of both high elevations and the largesse of the Northern Pacific storms.
Cutting a deep carve near base of Bachelor. (Mt. Bachelor/Facebook)
Looming into the skies in central Oregon, Mt. Bachelor sits on the east side of the Cascade divide – the dry side – but captures tons of Pacific moisture while still boasting up to 300 days of sun a year.
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.
Ready to carve the first turns of the season at Timberline. (Timberline Lodge/Facebook)
The ski and snowboard season is officially underway as Timberline on the slopes of Mt. Baker will crank up a chairlift on weekends.
Hittin' the early jibs at Mount Bachelor. (Mt. Bachelor)
First-to-be-open honors for the 2017-2018 season may have to go to Mt. Bachelor, as the Oregon mountain dropped the ropes on a terrain park after a foot of early snowfall.
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.
Cheers to a great season. (Mt Hood Meadows)
Ryan shook his head. "Why would you want to go to Portland when we have great snow in Utah?" he asked. My boyfriend doesn’t get out much and apparently he doesn’t follow the weather. It’s been snowing in Mt. Hood Meadows; a lot. The snowpack at the Oregon resort has surpassed 200 percent of normal. You might wager that Hood has gotten snow at least three days a week, every week this season. The reports of massive dumps began rolling in around Christmas time and kept on rolling.
Nearly a foot of snow came down Monday at Alta Ski Area in Utah, and they are loving the forecast with more snow in the cards at the end of this week. (Alta /Facebook)
We turn the calendar into April in this week’s SnoCountry SnoCast. There’s still plenty of great skiing and riding to be had, with more snow in the forecast.
In this week’s outlook, I’ve got my eyes on a large storm system that will impact all areas from the Great Lakes to Northeast Friday-Saturday (March 31-April1) that will no doubt leave some bullseyes of deep snow in parts of New England and Quebec. In the West, a storm system drops in from British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest Thursday, before spreading inward by the weekend. Here’s what to expect by region for March 29 - April 3.
Eastern U.S. / Midwest: In the Northeast and Midwest, March is sure to go out “like a lion," as they say. A storm system/low pressure will track from Missouri on Thursday, east-northeastward, eventually scooting off the Southern New England coast by Saturday. On the northern side of this storm system, a swath of snow will fall from Eastern Wisconsin, to Central/Northern Michigan, then eventually spreading over parts of New York and New England. There is some discrepancy among weather models by the time this system reaches New York and New England. The trusty GFS (American) and European models disagree on exact placement of heaviest snow once the storm reaches the northeast. 3-6” is a “safe” forecast for now for most of the lower Adirondack slopes, southern Vermont and the southern White Mountains in New Hampshire, with nearly 10” in far southern Vermont and Massachusetts’ Berkshires. That forecast is more in line with the GFS.
The European is hinting at the system being a bit farther north, which would bring more widespread 6”+ amounts in the areas I just mentioned, and also spread farther north to cover more areas of northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine with snow. Given that difference, it’s important to check the forecast as the time gets nearer to seek out the deepest snow for your Friday/weekend ventures to the slopes. If I had to pick some early best bets, I’d say you can’t go wrong with some central and southern Vermont mountains, and even western Massachusetts Berkshire mountains by Saturday first chair. But again, keep an eye on that forecast because the storm can shift by the weekend.
Western U.S.: The Western U.S. gets another system or two this week as energy moves into the Pacific Northwest Thursday, then eventually spreads inward by the weekend. This will mean more snow over nearly all of the higher mountains to finish March and start April. Look for anywhere from 4-9” for the Washington and Oregon Cascades, all mountains of Idaho (5-10"), and northwest Wyoming through Thursday. Then, look for new snow, probably higher totals, 6-12”, widespread for Utah’s Wasatch and Uinta Mtns, Wyoming and Colorado Rockies from Friday-Saturday. Locally higher totals will likely be squeezed out at the higher mountains, with up to 2 feet possible over the Colorado peaks. A good setup for the West into the weekend. Use caution, though, for those venturing into the Cascades. I do see high risk of avalanches after recent temperature fluxuations and wind. Ski areas typically maintain and control avalanche danger, but caution for those who seek out the backcountry.
Now remember, what I've shown you in images is a computer forecast model. There always needs to be some human interjection to make a good forecast. Thats what I do! And also what the National Weather Service does. Here's a look at the actual forecast snowfall totals from the National Weather Service. This shows through the end of Saturday, April 1. No joke!
Canada: Plenty of new snow opportunities in Canada this week. The same storm I mentioned in the Midwest/Northeast section will bring fresh snow to our Eastern Canada mountains in Quebec and Ontario Friday-Saturday. Again, depending on storm track, forecast amounts may vary by the weekend. Generally, 5 – 10 cm looks achievable, with locally higher amounts if the storm sneaks a little farther north. Just enough to soften up the trails. In Western Canada, a storm system brings ample mountain snow Thursday (March 30). Many ski areas in British Columbia and Alberta will squeeze out 20-40cm from Thursday-Friday. Enjoy that!
That's all for this week's SnoCountry SnoCast, skiers and riders. Have a blast with any new snow in your area. As always, I'll catch you next Wednesday for the next edition of SnoCast right here on SnoCountry.com.
Special thanks to Lyndon State College student forecasters Amanda Stone, Scott Myerson, and Christopher Kurdek for their weekly contributions and forecasts.
Sunday River is still loving the season with sweet corduroy turns and bluebird skies as of late. Sunday River has over 450 acres of open terrain to enjoy. (Sunday River/Facebook)
Each week, you have been (hopefully) enjoying our weekly "snow finding" weather blog, SnoCast with me, Kerrin Jeromin. But, this week, I'm going to let a few other folks take the forecasting reigns to find out where the best ski and ride conditions will be for the week of March 8-13.