In January considerable snow has fallen in the Northern Rockies and also relieved some of the previously drought-stricken areas of Colorado and the Northeast.
California: The Sierra has seen no new snow since Dec. 21, and coverage may be wearing thin at low altitude or poorly exposed locations. After the holiday crowds, surface conditions are now likely better at high altitude areas such as Kirkwood and Mammoth or on groomed runs with snowmaking. Most Tahoe areas are in 90+% operation on 2-5 foot bases.
Season snow: Alpine Meadows, 110 inches, 81% of normal; Heavenly, 62 inches, 63% of normal, Mammoth, 88 inches, 62% of normal.
See Current California Ski Conditions for more details on Southern California and Mammoth.
Pacific Northwest: January has been fairly quiet, with mostly hardpack and spring surfaces. High altitude areas such as Mt. Bachelor will have better surfaces. Oregon base depths are 8-11 feet
Season snow: Mt. Baker, 369 inches, 136% of normal; Crystal, 205 inches, 126% of normal.
Whistler has received less snow than Washington and Oregon, but still has 90+% of its 7,000 acres open on a 7+ foot base in the alpine. Check Northwest Ski Reports for current surface conditions and the numerous December powder days.
Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: There has been continuing snow in January. Okanagan conditions are outstanding with far above average bases of 5-8 feet while the Kootenay areas have 4-9 foot bases. Banff area base depths are well above normal (4.5 to 6 feet) with mostly packed powder surfaces.
U. S. Northern Rockies: Idaho areas like Schweitzer are in good shape with bases of 5-9 feet . Sun Valley reports full operation on 2-4 feet. Grand Targhee and Jackson are now in full operation and experiencing their usual January powder days. Montana got the same storms, and Big Sky just opened Lone Peak. Overall, this region is now recommended, particularly compared with the skimpier conditions farther south.
Season snow: Schweitzer, 165 inches, 136% of normal; Sun Valley, 76 inches, 88% of normal; Jackson, 157 inches, 91% of normal.
Utah: The Cottonwood Canyon areas are 90+% open, but with base depths of only 4.5 feet. Alta had heavy snow in October, but only 120 inches, 59% of normal since Nov. 1. The Park City areas are about 70% open, but with meager base depths of about 30 inches. Skiers with flexibility should give Utah a few more weeks to accumulate snow.
Northern and Central Colorado: This region had its worst holiday season since 1980-81 but received above normal snow since New Year's. Steamboat has the most and is now in full operation. Winter Park is 75% open, Keystone is 90% open and Breckenridge 75%. Vail is now 85% open including China Bowl. It will take another couple of good snow weeks in Vail / Beaver Creek and Summit County for all advanced terrain to get adequately covered.
Season snow: Steamboat, 140 inches, 88% of normal; Winter Park, 119 inches, 77% of normal; Vail, 96 inches, 62% of normal.
Southern and Western Colorado: These areas were average or better through mid-December, but have seen only a little snow since Christmas. Regional leader Wolf Creek is in full operation on a 6 foot base. Purgatory, Telluride and Taos have most runs open on 4 foot bases, but some rocks are likely on the steeper terrain. Snowmass is 60% open and Crested Butte only 30% (worst start since 1989-90) and full operation is unlikely before February.
Season snow: Snowmass, 60 inches, 64% of normal; Crested Butte, 47 inches, 51% of normal; Telluride, 78 inches, 82% of normal; Taos, 113 inches, 100% of normal; Wolf Creek, big dumps in October , then 118 inches, 82% of normal since Nov. 1.
Northeast: January has brought the first big storms to New England, with some Vermont areas getting 3 feet or more. Most New England areas are over 3/4 open, including natural snow areas like Mad River Glen.
Season snow: Killington, 86 inches, 82% of normal; Stowe, 64 inches, 63% of normal.
November temperatures were above freezing as often as below, and Thanksgiving weekend brought the first significant (6-12 inches) natural snow to the northern areas. Skiing was almost reduced to square one by the warm spell of early December but snowmaking was nearly continuous for the rest of the month. As my report is an overview, I strongly recommend checking Scenes of Vermont Ski Page or New England Ski Guide's Weekend Forecast for up to date information in this region, where both weather and surface conditions can change so rapidly.
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