Summertime at ski and snowboard resorts in the Great Northwest packs in all manner of adventure, food and new perspectives.
Epic Pass expands your horizons. (Epic Pass/Facebook)
The initial price of $899 is the same, but there’s plenty to choose from as the major multi-resort players put their best face forward in the season pass wars.
Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico plans to open December 8 and could get fresh snow just in time. (Angel Fire)
As December begins, some may have wondered, ‘Where is the snow?’ Well, there is some good news ahead for some fresh powder this week.
Brighton enjoys the buttery corduroy of their last few days of the season. Brighton expects to close for the season on Sunday, April 23 after an impressive season total of over 600" of snowfall. (Brighton/Facebook)
And we press on. The ski season is definitely winding down, but that won’t stop you die-hards from seeking out the last turns. If you plan to shred what’s left at the slopes, here’s what to expect weather-wise in this week’s SnoCast.
What's in store for next season. (Valemountglaciers.com)
A new resort is expected to open next season that would open up lift access to glaciers near Banff and Jasper National Parks that previously could only be reached by helicopter or a long, long hike.
Once all three phases of the project are done, the resort named Valemount will have the most vertical drop in North America – 6,857 feet – supplanting British Columbia neighbors Revelstoke and Whistler Blackcomb.
The resort is located in the midst of the glaciers that slide off the Premier Range near the town of Valemont, B.C. – part of the infamous Cariboos heli-skiing region. The highest peak is Mt. Sir Wilfred Laurier at 11,535, and skiing and riding will be year-round. Lifts will be designed so as to carry both skiers and ‘boarders, and sightseers.
The first phase of the project will focus on a gondola and chair that will bring skiers and riders to 8,300-foot high Twilight Glacier for 4,500 of vert down to where the resort village will be built. Subsequent phases will expand access in the Premier Range glacial fields and build out a resort village with nearly 2,300 beds, hotels, shops and an airport.
Valemount Glacial Destinations has an agreement with the provincial government to start construction this summer on the 37th resort in British Columbia. The nearest city is Calgary, Alberta – about a six-hour drive.
Developers expect to take advantage of the one-of-a-kind location in Western Canadian Rockies where many of North America’s glaciers exist.
“A combination of ideal climatic conditions and of mountains with the right elevations, great vertical and spectacular glaciers is only found in the narrow ranges of mountains on the western side of the trench that runs from Cranbrook to Prince George in British Columbia,” the resort’s master plan explained.
Stowe Mountain Resort boasts 5-6 inches of new snow in their most recent storm system. While the pattern doesn't favor "huge" storms in the East, there are still great conditions to be had. (Stowe Mountain Resort/Facebook)
In this week’s SnoCast, we dig into yet another active stretch for the western U.S. and continue to hope for a much colder change in pattern for the East.
North America's largest resort Whistler Blackcomb is now owned by Vail. (Whistler Blackcomb/Facebook)
Consolidation of ownership, ticketing and even between mountains highlighted the winter resort news of 2016 – all giving skiers and riders more bang for their buck.
Over 100" have already fallen at the higher mountains of British Columbia this season--including Whistler. (Whistler Blackcomb/Facebook)
While there will be some temp swings in the days ahead, there will be opportunities for snow in many areas. Looking in the longer term, it looks like the coldest air of the season will settle in to some of the country in the not too distant future.
Snowmaking is underway at Colorado's Winter Park Resort, which is planning a Nov. 23rd opening. (Photo: Winter Park Resort)
Old Man Winter is still wearing flip flops as Indian Summer has segued into a beautiful Indian Fall throughout much of North America - except Canada's Whistler Blackcomb, which is sitting on more than 50 inches of snow.
The forecast may not be ideal, but ski areas are determined to open. Loveland is set to spin chairs on Thursday, Nov. 10 and others hope to follow with help from Mother Nature. (Loveland/Facebook)
Still not exactly the weather pattern we all are hoping for in this week’s SnoCast. But, even if Mother Nature won’t deliver the big picture, we’ll find the small previews of winter weather to keep us giddy for what’s ahead. Here’s the breakdown of this week’s forecast.
Current Conditions: A strong ridge of high pressure still dominates the weather over much of the US, delivering mainly dry air and warm temps.
Forecast: However, small breakdowns of this ridge over the next week delivers a little moisture and brief windows of cold for snowmaking. Look for a brief colder period and a small coating of snow over northern New England/Quebec Friday into the start of the weekend (Nov. 11-12). In the west, two waves of moisture will bring mostly rain with the warmth, but some decent high elevation snow to British Columbia and some western peaks Friday night and again Sunday-Monday. Here's a look at one output from the GFS (American) model...overall, somewhat dismal outlook this stretch.
Canada: Look for some good accumulating snow over B.C. Friday night (Nov 11) - several inches likely for the coastal range, including Whistler Blackcomb which has already had an epic start this year for snowfall. Another wave of moisture brings several more inches to all B.C. ranges Sunday night to Monday (Nov. 13-14). A light dusting to two inches will also come with a period of cold and snowmaking opportunity for Quebec ski areas Friday-Saturday.
East: A brief shot of colder air fills into New England Friday-Saturday (Nov. 11-12) which coats the mountains with a dusting to two inches. You bet the mountains that can will be snowmaking in hopes of getting the season underway ASAP. Unfortunately, it’s a short window, and warmth will slide back in to follow through early next week. The overall pattern may shift colder looking ahead toward the days leading up to and around Thanksgiving.
West: While most of the western outlook is dismal at best, look for a decent shot of snow (likely several inches) over the Washington Cascades Sunday night-Monday (Nov 13-14). What I’ll be watching for here is the bleed in of that moisture and colder air to perhaps deliver snow to more of the western mountains approaching mid next week (Nov. 15-17) … but will need a little more time to develop more certainty on that and amounts, which I’ll do in next week’s SnoCast.
Despite a somewhat crummy hand of cards dealt from Mother Nature, some ski areas are still set to open this week. Check out Loveland Ski Area's plan to spin chairs. Until we can get a solid pattern change (which looks more likely in the last 10-12 days of this month) we will have to continue doing our snow dance, friends.
Think snowy thoughts, 'til next week's SnoCast!