2017-18 Ski Season Progress Report as of January 1, 2018

October 2017 snowfall was strongest in the higher elevations of western Canada and the northern Rockies with some lesser amounts in Colorado. First half of November snowfall was high in the Pacific Northwest and inland northern regions, resulting in some early openings and deep snowpacks. There was also an atmospheric river storm mid-November in California. Thanksgiving week brought widespread rain to 9,000 feet to the northern regions, degrading the snowpack at lower elevations. Thanksgiving snowpacks were still over 4 feet at Mt. Baker, Whistler and Grand Targhee. The farther south you go, the less November snow there was, and some opening dates were pushed back. The western US was under severe sustained high pressure for the first half of December. The week before Christmas brought substantial snow to the Northwest and spread inland to the Rockies as well. Northern Utah and Colorado got a couple of feet but still endured limited holday skiing similar to 2011-12 and are unlikely to reach full operation before February. The Southwest still has almost no natural snow on the ground and should be avoided indefinitely barring major dumps. Skiing in other regions acquired an adequate snowpack at higher elevations in November. Lower elevations had a lot of November rain, resulting in variable coverage and surfaces. But the week before Christmas snow brought most Northwest, western Canadian and northern Rockies area into midwinter form. These regions also got a foot+ of snow Christmas week.

California: An early November storm only snowed more than a few inches north of Lake Tahoe and over 8,000 feet. The second week's storm was much bigger though also snow mostly over 8,000 feet. Mt. Rose got 4 feet and Mammoth got 2+ feet at its Main Lodge snow plot but 5+ feet up top. Thanksgiving week had a bit of rain followed by warm weather resulting in spring conditions. A foot of snow in late November restored surfaces to the areas with an adequate base over 8,000 feet. With less than a foot of December snow, Mt. Rose and Mammoth continue to have the best skiing, but by now ungroomed snow is bumpy with more obstacles. Other Tahoe areas have marginal base depths around 2 feet on limited terrain, have been beaten up by holiday crowds and should be avoided until there is much more snow. See Current California Ski Conditions for more details on Southern California and Mammoth.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Squaw 8,000

62

44%

23%

Alpine Meadows

44.5

40%

24%

Mt. Rose

72

68%

78%

Heavenly

38

32%

17%

Kirkwood

37

37%

71%

Mammoth

39.5

36%

71%

Southern Cal

0

0%

0-48%

Arizona Snowbowl

2

3%

27%

Pacific Northwest: The region had some October storms but the rain/snow line was above all but the alpine sectors of Whistler and Mt. Bachelor. First half of November snowfall was widespread and many areas opened by November 18. The Thanksgiving week rain reduced the Mt. Baker and Whistler base depths from 6 feet to 4 feet. Base depths elsewhere were reduced to the 2 foot range. Late November snow improved surfaces and restored about a foot of base lost by the rain. Much of the Whistler alpine opened Dec. 9 after extensive avalanche control, resulting in twice as much open terrain as anywhere else in North America. The Northwest had a scattered foot of snow during the first half of December but in the second half of December it dumped 3 feet at Mt. Hood, 4 feet at Whistler and 5+ feet inWashington State areas. New Year's base depths are 4-5 feet at most areas, 6 feet at Whistler and 8 feet at Mt. Baker.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Whistler

196

120%

100%

Crystal Mt.

183

124%

92%

Stevens Pass

153

87%

100%

Mt. Hood

118

72%

74%

Mt. Bachelor

99

69%

46%

Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: Snowfall was abundant in this region from late October through mid-November. Thanksgiving week rain affected the Okanogan and Kootenay areas, though base depths declined only at Fernie, remaining near 3 feet at most other areas. With 2+ feet of snow in late November/early December, base depths reached the 3-4 foot range. Second half of December snowfall was a bit under 2 feet around Banff but 4+ feet in the Okanagan and Kootenay regions. Base depths are 4-5 feet and this remains the best overall ski region entering the new year. Silver Star and Sun Peaks were 2/3 open by mid-December and in full operation for the holidays.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Big White

111

99%

98%

Lake Louise

111

168%

92%

Sunshine

142

152%

88%

Revelstoke

152

107%

70%

Kicking Horse

156

155%

95%

Whitewater

135

95%

100%

Red Mt.

83

84%

87%

Fernie

145

107%

70%

Castle Mt.

172

187%

89%

U. S. Northern Rockies: Grand Targhee had 115 inches snowfall by mid-November, and thus opened 82% on Nov. 17 and 100% by Thanksgiving. Interior Northwest areas got the rain and December 1 base depths were in the 2+ foot range. Most areas got a little under a foot of snow in early December before the high pressure set in. Second half of December snowfall of 5 feet brought excellent holiday skiing to Schweitzer, Whitefish and the interior Northwest. Southern Montana and the Tetons got 3-4 feet, bringing Big Sky to 90% open. Overall ths region is close to full operation on 3-5 foot bases, except for Sun Valley which only had 3 inches of December snow.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Grand Targhee

186

113%

100%

Jackson Hole

140

104%

65%

Bridger

119

117%

100%

Schweitzer

155

153%

100%

Brundage

87

79%

100%

Sun Valley

46

66%

47%

Utah: Utah had minimal October snow and was on the edge of November storms. Some opening dates were delayed and any skiing is on limited snowmaking. An early December storm dropped up to 18 inches in the Cottonwood Canyons, a foot at Snowbasin and 6 inches in Park City, but only a little bit more terrain opened. After only a few inches here and there in mid-December, the Wasatch got 2+ feet just before Christmas, but holiday open terrain and season snowfall still fell just short of 2011-12 and were the lowest since 1980-81. Utah should still be avoided in January unless there is a major dump.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Alta

74

41%

75%

Snowbird SNOTEL

67

42%

23%

Brighton/Solitude

65

39%

64%

Park City (mid estimate)

45

46%

18%

Snowbasin

67

64%

50%

Brian Head

16

16%

18%

Northern and Central Colorado: A-Basin opened a run on snowmaking October 13 followed by Loveland on October 20. November snowfall was about half average and all skiing was on a manmade base of no more than 18 inches. A-Basin is 36% open. First half of December snowfall averaged about one foot. The Northwest storm track finally hit at Christmas with 2+ feet from Steamboat through the Continental Divide with less at Vail and Beaver Creek. However, as of New Year's only Steamboat and Winter Park are more than half open, with most areas only slightly better off than in 2011-12. Vail has less open than any New Year's since 1980-81. It still might take until February to get much advanced terrain open in this region.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Beaver Creek

41

36%

35%

Breckenridge

78

73%

50%

Copper Mt.

63

65%

40%

Keystone

70

89%

45%

Loveland

76

69%

31%

Steamboat

85

66%

78%

Vail

49

40%

23%

Winter Park

92

76%

73%

Southern and Western Colorado: This region has been driest of all so far with no end in sight, so all skiing is on limited snowmaking. The Rocky Mountain Biological Lab at Gothic (between Crested Butte and Aspen) had 17 inches in October and 44 inches since, the total being second lowest in 44 years of records. Even Wolf Creek has had just 53 inches (28 of it during the first week of November) and reports 90% open but on a sketchy 17 inch base. Taos is 12% open. Aspen/Snowmass has similar conditions as the northern and central areas above. Farther south, the first two months of the season have been so dry (the Christmas storm was 1.5 feet at Aspen and Crested Butte but less than a foot farther south) that these areas should be avoided before mid-February at the earliest. Advanced terrain is unlikely to be open before then unless there are major dumps. Taos' Kachina lift and much of Crested Butte's North Face, needing substantial snowpacks on steep terrain, are in some danger of not opening at all this season.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Aspen/Snowmass

42

53%

34%

Gothic Snow Lab

44

38%

N/A

Crested Butte

36

45%

33%

Telluride

19

22%

11%

Purgatory

22

26%

24%

Wolf Creek

53

43%

90%

Northeast: Killington was the first opening on November 8 as there was too much warm weather and rain in October. There was gradual terrain expansion on snowmaking since Thanksgiving but natural snow was mainly in northern Vermont. Second week of December snowfall averaged 3 feet in Northern Vermont and 2 feet elsewhere, setting up the region for a very good holiday season. The Northeast averaged 2 feet of snow during the second half of December, but there was bitter cold during much of the holiday period. Percents open: Okemo 99%, Stratton 80%, Sugarloaf 65%, Sunday River 73%, Hunter 83%, Tremblant 100%, Mt. Ste. Anne 99%.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Jay Peak (mid estimate)

121

115%

55%

Stowe

99

87%

92%

Sugarbush

50

55%

100%

Killington

62

76%

94%

Whiteface

74

110%

70%

Cannon

57

115%

93%

Le Massif

52

62%

65%

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