After an extremely warm and dry November, many regions of the West received normal or better snowfall during the first 3 weeks of December. The dry weather returned for the rest of December. Only in Canada was season snowfall before New Year's above average. The Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies had enough snow in December for nearly all terrain to open, and these regions plus Utah had major dumps in the first half of January. From mid-January onward the Sierra and much of Colorado got major dumps to recover from the slow early season. Only the Southwest remains in drought-limited operation.
Just a few areas post season-to-date snowfall on their websites. At the end of the regional sections, I list selected Ski Central or RSN month-to-date snow totals for other resorts, making educated guesses as to which resorts have supplied complete data for the month.
California: The Sierra received several small storms by the first half of December, followed by 4 dry weeks. There has been at least 9 feet new snow in the last half of January, with more at higher elevation. Conditions may be variable at lower elevations, as there was some rain below 7,000 feet. Heavenly's Mott Canyon is now open.Kirkwood's year-to-date snow is now 183 inches (76% of normal) and Mammoth's 207 (113% of normal), with both areas in full operation. Southern California and Arizona remain in extreme drought, with less than one foot of natural snow and the only skiing being on snowmaking. See Current California Ski Conditions for more details on Southern California and Mammoth.
Ski Central December Snow: Squaw 29, Sugar Bowl 31, Northstar 23.
RSN January Snow: Squaw 100, Sugar Bowl 111, Heavenly 103, Northstar 102.
Pacific Northwest: These areas received the most snow in early December, and after a dry holiday, major new snow in the first half of January. Whistler Blackcomb is 100% open on a 94-inch base. Mt. Baker's 155-205 inch base still leads North America. Mt. Bachelor reports a 116-123 inch base.
Ski Central December Snow: Alyeska 53, Whistler 66.5, Baker 144, Stevens 105, Crystal 66, Hood Meadows 79.
Ski Central / RSN January Snow: Whistler 65, Baker 151, Stevens 106, Crystal 82, Hood Meadows 106, Mt. Bachelor 105.
Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: Lake Louise and Sunshine were the only western areas to get substantial snow before mid-November. Total snowfall at Louise is now 131 inches, 101% of normal. Louise (54-57 inch base) , Sunshine (67 inch base) and the Okanagan areas are in full operation. All areas have received just light snow in the past 2 weeks after bigger storms earlier in the month.
Ski Central December Snow: Silver Star 29.5, Red Mt. 31.5, Fernie 60 since Dec. 9.
RSN January Snow: Red Mt. 57, Fernie 81
U. S. Northern Rockies: The northern areas had January weather similar to their Canadian neighbors, while the Tetons had heavy snowfall all month. Jackson Hole's YTD snow is 262 inches, 118% of normal. Grand Targhee's base is now 49-144 inches. Big Sky opened Lone Peak at Christmas. Big Mountain and Schweitzer are 100% open on 6-8 feet. Sun Valley (YTD snow 90 inches, 81% of normal) has been in full operation since about January 10.
Ski Central December Snow: Schweitzer 77, Big Mountain 64, Big Sky 75, Targhee 61.5.
RSN January Snow: Schweitzer 54, Big Mountain 76, Big Sky 85, Targhee 100.
Utah: Most areas have received 6 feet of snow in January, finally regaining most of the ground lost in November. Alta's year-to-date snow is now 256 inches (95% of normal) and all Cottonwood areas are in full operation. The Park City areas and Snowbasin are all 95+% open (Jupiter Bowl opened Jan. 7).
Ski Central December Snow: Snowbird 96, Brighton 57, Brian Head 45.5, Park City 29.5, The Canyons 36.
RSN January Snow: Snowbird 74, Brighton 74, Park City 61, The Canyons 69.
Northern and Central Colorado: This region received substantial snow in mid-December, average snow in early January, and bigger dumps later in the month. The northern track of earlier storms brought outstanding conditions to Steamboat (YTD snow 216 inches, 107% of normal). Vail has had 174 inches, 90% of normal, Winter Park 183 inches, 95% of normal, and Breckenridge 153.5 inches 103% of normal. Only a few isolated sectors of expert terrain, such as Vasquez Cirque, are not yet open.
Ski Central December Snow: Copper 66, Keystone 63, Loveland 80.
RSN January Snow: Copper 37, Keystone 48, Loveland 50.
Southern and Western Colorado: This region was severely drought impacted, with less than 1 foot natural snow in November plus about half normal snow in December. Aspen and Crested Butte have received much of the same January storms as Northern Colorado. Snowmass is now 83% open, but CB's North Face is still not open. Despite recent new snow at the southern areas, there is still a better than 50% chance that much advanced terrain will never open this season. Base depths at Wolf Creek are only 40 inches. Taos reports but 6 of its 44 expert runs open. As snow tends to accumulate gradually in this region, skiers should avoid advance commitments this season, pending further improvement in snow conditions.
Ski Central December Snow: Aspen 28, Crested Butte 19, Telluride 34.
RSN January Snow: Aspen 50, Crested Butte 62, Telluride 46, Taos 34.
Northeast: New England had only about half its normal November / December snowfall, but most of the usual snowmaking leaders were over half open for the holidays. Unfortunately, a severe thaw and some rain degraded conditions after New Year's. The East has finally received major snow in the last half of January, and current conditions are very good. As my report is an overview, I strongly recommend checking Vermont No-Bull Ski Report 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.
Ski Central/RSN December Snow: Jay 64, Sugarbush 38, Killington 36, Lake Placid 16, Snowshoe, WV 31.
RSN January Snow: Jay 109, Stratton 53, Killington 36, Sugarbush 35, Sugarloaf 48, Snowshoe, WV 54.