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.
Vail Resorts launched another salvo in the battle to own the winter destination market and a larger slice of the ski marketplace with the purchase of Vermont’s Okemo Mountain Resort, Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire, Crested Butte in Colorado and Steven Pass in Washington Monday.
Looking for a landing spot. (Ruby Mountain Heli-Experience)
Whenever favorite stashes get carved up, or the maddening crowds threaten your first tracks, it may be time to shell out the bucks for a helicopter ride deep into Powder Country in the West.
Smoke darkens base area at Crystal Mountain (Crystal Mountain Resort)
A rapidly expanding forest fire has forced the evacuation and closure of Crystal Mountain facilities, and fire fighters remained in place Monday (Sept. 11) to protect any structures.
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.
Crystal Mountain returns to local owner. (Crystal Mountain/Facebook)
In an era of consolidation, Crystal Mountain is going against the grain, as its longtime CEO has purchased the largest resort in Washington state from Boyne Resorts.
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
Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine is loving this Spring so far with a fresh 5-10" of snow from Tuesday-Wednesday this past week. A good base depth is essential to keep the lifts turning into this second week of April (Sugarloaf/Twitter)
Spring keeps on springing surprises at us! In this week’s SnoCast, Old Man Winter makes a return to western US, while Mother Nature insists Spring is on the way in the east.
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.