Alterra Mountain Co. has announced it has an agreement to purchase Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington – the first Pacific Northwest holding for the Denver-based resort conglomerate and its Ikon Pass.
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.
Cruisin' at Snoqualmie. (Summit at Snoqualmie/Facebook)
Everyone else seems to be doing it, so why not joint season pass programs for the ski and snowboard resorts in the Pacific Northwest?
With an unrestricted season pass in hand from one of the three Washington state resorts for 2017-2018, skiers and snowboarders can add on three days at each of the two other mountains for $199 – if purchased before May 31 – or $33 a day.
Each resort is within a couple hours’ drive of the Seattle area, so the goal of the program, according to officials at the three mountains, is to “give skiers and snowboarders living in the Puget Sound more reason to stay local.”
Resorts across the Northwest are ramping up discounts on 2017-18 passes. At Stevens Pass, the first layer of discounts has begun. A renewal costs $549, a new pass $599 for a limited amount. When the “first tier” of passes is sold out at Stevens Pass, the price goes up.
Crystal Mountain and Snoqualmie have yet to put next season’s passes on sale. Three resorts in the Northwest link into the Colorado-based M.A.X. Pass, which offers five days of skiing and riding at 44 resorts around the country. Included are Mt. Bachelor, Crystal Mountain and Snoqualmie.
Cruisin' at Snoqualmie (Summit at Snoqualmie/Facebook)
Cascadia Pass works at Stevens Pass. (Stevens Pass/Facebook)
More pow' days at Crystal. (Crystal Mountain/Facebook)
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.
This is what 75" of snow in 7 days looks like at Snowbird. (Chris Segal)
We're turning the calendar into March, and still looking for some good turns on the slopes. While February was a blur, much of the country basked in warmer than normal temperatures. Looks like some colder air moves in for the start of the new month.
Loon Mountain picks up another 5-7 inches Wednesday. (Loon Mountain/Facebook)
Looks like more snow will fall for many North American ski areas in this week’s SnoCast. With Presidents’ Day weekend and an influx of people hitting the slopes, read on to find out where best conditions will be.
Watch this week's SnoCast video here:
Read about what to expect by region for Feb. 15 - 21.
East/Midwest: Yet another round of big snow will impact the far Northeast Wednesday through Thursday (Feb 15-16). Expect fresh snow and great conditions across Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine these days with many ski areas getting at least 4-8 inches of new powder; some peaks may see as much as 12-16 inches.
Get out and enjoy, because it looks like accumulating snowfall takes a break for a while after this. No other “big” storms are expected through mid next week. Temperatures will climb for much of the Midwest beginning Friday, before the warmth heads to the Northeast over the holiday weekend. Expect daytime temps above freezing each. Should keep the snow soft and pleasant for the weekend, and maybe even allow you to ditch a layer or two.
West: Three juicy storms are in store for the Western U.S. in this week’s outlook. Snow depth remains above normal for most of the Sierra Nevadas and Cascades, and we will add to that this week.
Storm #1 is an area of Low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska, pumping in snow to the higher elevations of California, Washington and Oregon later Thursday (Feb. 16), then spreading into the mountains of Idaho Thursday night-Friday. With lower elevations seeing rainfall, look to the higher mountain peaks for best conditions.
Storm #2 will be a little farther south and more potent, pushing into California Friday with snow levels (again) a little higher than we’d like, with most snow accumulating over 6000-foot elevation, but potential for more than a foot for the central and southern Sierra range. This system will eventually spread inland to the interior Rockies over the weekend- should bring some new snow to the slopes of Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and Colorado.
Finally, storm #3 plows into the far Pacific Northwest/British Columbia on Monday (Feb. 20) which will bring moderate to heavy snow to the higher terrain from the Washington/Oregon Cascades and Sierra Nevada first, before spreading into the interior Rockies through the early part of the week.
Tough to blanket a total snowfall amount through the weekend, due to the range in snow levels with multiple systems. Look to your local NWS office to seek the best time frame for your nearest mountain. Also, given recent heavy snow and changes in temps, be sure to check avalanche conditions in your local area.
Canada: Active weather for Western Canada this week with multiple Pacific origin storms. Look for a big shot of accumulating snow to the coastal and interior ranges of British Columbia on Thursday and tapering off Friday (Feb. 16-17). A lighter round of snow showers overspreads British Columbia and Alberta’s peaks late Saturday-Sunday (Feb. 18-19). Another very potent storm brings accumulating snow to the same areas by early next week- watch Monday-Tuesday for great conditions and fresh snowfall.
Meanwhile, Eastern Canada has really packed on the snow over the past week. With Low pressure wrapping in snow to the ski hills of Quebec Wednesday-Thursday, I’d expect decent conditions into the upcoming weekend. Expect temperatures to build over the weekend, with temperatures at or above 0C through early next week.
'Til next week's SnoCast...happy skiing and riding, SnoCountry readers!
As always, a big shout-out and 'thanks' to Lyndon State College students Amanda Stone, Christopher Kurdek, and Scott Myerson for their weekly contributions and forecasts for SnoCast.
55 inches in just six days at Washington’s Crystal Mountain. (Crystal Mountain/Facebook)
Starting off with a bang in this week’s SnoCast! A nor’easter for the Eastern U.S., and the hits keep coming out West, too. February continues to bring excellent ski conditions to much of the country.
Here’s what to expect by region for Feb. 8- 14.
West: The hits keep coming for the Western U.S. With storm after storm lining up, there continues to be plenty of moisture/snow/rain for this week. Some trouble, though, with the storm finishing this work week. Snow levels are much higher than some other recent systems this winter. This will still mean heavy snow dumps at the highest peaks, but more wet and sloppy precipitation for the mid and lower bases for some ski areas. Expect the best snow to reach the highest Sierras in California, the Washington Cascades, Idaho, Western Montana, and Wyoming through Friday. Then by the weekend, the snow will shift to the interior Rockies with snow for Utah, Colorado, and perhaps sagging as far south as New Mexico’s peaks late in the weekend. Calmer weather with good breaks of sun for much of the West Sunday to early next week. Best bets: Mammoth (late Friday or early Saturday), Crystal Mtn northward to Mt Baker in Washington (Thursday-Friday), Schweitzer, Silver Mtn, Steamboat, Sleeping Giant (weekend).
East/Midwest: A nor’easter will bring significant snowfall, generally 6+ inches for the northeast Wednesday-Thursday. New snow will stretch from West Virginia all the way to Maine, with the “sweet spot” likely in the Berkshires of Mass to southern Maine where locally a foot of snow will likely fall. The track of this storm will likely bring heaviest snow to the I-95 corridor, so travel may be a little tough to make a long trip to the ski areas during the storm if you don’t live nearby. This storm will be quick, with the last of the snow wrapping up within 24 hours, done for all by Thursday evening. Calm conditions Friday will keep conditions pleasant (I’d recommend earlier in the day to get the freshest snow before it gets skied off).
Another light shot of snow dips over the Midwest/Great Lakes Friday, and toward New England Saturday. Weather models do show another larger storm brewing for the Northeast/New England Sunday into Monday (Feb 12-13), but the track of it may bring mixed precip and not all snow with that, so keep an eye to the forecast specifics closer in time to pick your best window. Best Bets: Jiminy Peak , Mount Snow, Stratton, Mount Sunapee (Thursday-Friday).
Canada: A steady plume of moisture keeps the snow falling across Western Canada, especially Thursday and Friday. Conditions will be excellent (and goggles essential) for most mountains in British Columbia and Alberta to finish the week. In the East, a clipper system brings light snow amounts to the slopes beginning Friday and tapering off through early Saturday morning. Another storm will develop early next week and while the Northeast U.S. may see rain mix in, many Quebec ski areas will see great conditions and new snow. Keep an eye on the forecast for exact amounts closer to the storm. Best bets: Lake Louise, Whistler, Grouse, Big White (Friday or Saturday)
'Til next week's SnoCast, enjoy these amazing conditions. As always, a shout out and thanks to Lyndon State College students Amanda Stone, Christopher Kurdek, and Scott Myerson for their weekly contributions and forecasts for SnoCast.
Jumpin' at White Pass. (White Pass/Facebook)
The Snow Gods have been spreading the wealth around the country this season, and now is the time for the Pacific Northwest to count its blessings.
After a decent start to the season – though nothing historic -- the ski and snowboard resorts in Washington and Oregon gathered steam in late January and early February. OpenSnow.com reports that the jet stream that dumps on Lake Tahoe, Utah and Southern Rockies has slipped northward – good news from the resorts of the Cascades and beyond – but Pacific storms may soon take a break.
Always critical in the ocean-sensitive Northwest is the rain-snow elevation, but skiers and riders from the region know how to adjust to widely varying conditions.
“Heavy snow, spotty freezing rain, a rain/snow mix (above 5,500 ft.) – then back to snow,” reports OpenSnow’s Larry Schick. “A low with a warm front is moving in from the Southwest. This system is the causing of the variety of precipitation and this wild weather transition.”
The first weekend of February brought double-digit snowfalls to many resorts, including Summit at Snoqualmie, Stevens Pass and White Pass with at least three feet. But, again, the threat of thaw has been ever present. At Crystal Mountain, some 250 inches have fallen but the settled base is 77-88 inches.
In Oregon, a few dumps came early but resorts have had to make do with intermittent snowfall throughout the first two months of the season – and fluctuating temperatures around freezing. For example, Mount Hood SkiBowl reports 209 inches of snowfall this season, settling to about 80 inches of base.
The long-term forecast doesn’t have any major dumps on the horizon, but OpenSnow predicts colder temps and modest snowfall that to keep base depths on the mountain longer.
“Between February 13-17, the western U.S. and most of Canada will experience high pressure, sunshine, and mostly dry weather,” said OpenSnow’s Joel Gratz.
With over 20 feet of snow in January, Mammoth Mountain set a new monthly record for snowfall. More snow in the forecast here turning into February. (Mammoth Mountain/Twitter)
It’s shaping up to be an active week across the U.S. ski areas with plenty of opportunities for snow. And after an unusually warm January in Canada, colder weather (and snow) return to the forecast picture, too. Check it out in this week’s SnoCast.
More snow on the way turning the corner to 2017. Read on to see what's cookin' in this week's SnoCast with meteorologist Kerrin Jeromin. (National Weather Service)
We’re saying “peace out, 2016”, and hello to a beautiful new (hopefully snow-filled) 2017. Our resolution to ski and ride more in 2017 will be no problem with a Nor’easter in the East to finish this week, and a more active pattern digging into the West after the turn of the new year.