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 the most snow in the first half of January. Since mid-January the Sierra and much of Colorado got major dumps to recover from the slow early season. This trend continued into March, finally opening most terrain in previously drought-stricken Arizona and New Mexico. In mid-March, the storm track shifted north similar to the early season. In late March, there were frequent moderate storms in the Rockies, but very little on the West Coast. Early April snowfall has not been major, so the best conditions can be expected at the usual high altitude and north exposed areas. Many destination resorts are closed, but a few more than normal will hang on for the late Easter April 23.
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 was at least 9 feet new snow in the last half of January, with more at higher elevation. There was 9-15 feet new snow in February, bringing base depths at high elevations to 12 feet or more. There was another 2-3 feet early in March, but nothing for over a month, so all terrain turned to spring conditions. Kirkwood's year-to-date snow is now 428 inches (98% of normal) and Mammoth's 395 (120% of normal). Southern California and Arizona had 4-6 feet of snow in February to open most terrain, plus 2-4 feet in early March. SoCal lost its natural snow runs over the past month of warm weather, but Arizona had 7 feet of snow in March and thus a strong finish. See Current California Ski Conditions for more details on Southern California and Mammoth and updates after April 10.
Ski Central December Snow: Squaw 29, Sugar Bowl 31, Northstar 23.
RSN January Snow: Squaw 100, Sugar Bowl 111, Heavenly 103, Northstar 102.
RSN February Snow: Squaw 110, Sugar Bowl 186, Heavenly 92, Northstar 117.
RSN March Snow: Squaw 33, Sugar Bowl 39, Heavenly 31, Northstar 28.
See the California regional table for snow preservation tendencies.
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. Since then, snowfall was below average for over a month, but picked up again in mid-March. Whistler Blackcomb has a 101-inch base. Mt. Baker's 203-262 inch base is now ahead of Kirkwood's (96-180) in California. Mt. Bachelor reports a 118-130 inch base. The really big late-season dumps were in Alaska.
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.
Ski Central / RSN February Snow: Whistler 24, Baker 92, Stevens 52, Crystal 68, Hood Meadows 60, Mt. Bachelor 70.
Ski Central/RSN March Snow: Alyeska 162, Whistler 47, Baker 106, Stevens 70, Crystal 56, Hood Meadows 43, Mt. Bachelor 56.
See the Pacific Northwest regional table for snow preservation tendencies.
Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: Lake Louise and Sunshine were the only western areas with a strong early season. Total snowfall at Louise (75-78 inch base, Whitehorn now open) is now 203 inches, 103% of normal. Sunshine (83 inch base) and the Okanagan had far above snowfall in March. Kootenay areas had snow, but also warm weather with more spring conditions.
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
RSN February Snow: Big White 32, Red Mt. 35, Fernie 60, Sunshine 43
RSN March Snow: Big White 54, Red Mt. 40, Fernie 47, Sunshine 72
See the Interior Canada regional table for snow preservation tendencies.
U. S. Northern Rockies: The northern areas had January weather similar to their Canadian neighbors, while the Tetons had heavy snowfall all month. February snow was below average, but heavy March snow brought two weeks of good powder. Spring returned for a week, followed by more snow in late March. Jackson Hole's snow was 381 inches as of April 2 closing, 106% of normal. Grand Targhee's base is now 62-169 inches. Big Sky opened Lone Peak at Christmas and will stay open through Easter. Big Mountain and Schweitzer closed April 9 on 5-8 feet. Sun Valley (YTD snow 137 inches, 79% 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.
RSN February Snow: Schweitzer 22, Big Mountain 39, Big Sky 59, Targhee 64.
RSN March Snow: Schweitzer 30, Big Mountain 60, Big Sky 68, Targhee 60.
See the Northern Rockies regional table for snow preservation tendencies.
Utah: Most areas received 6 feet of snow in January, finally regaining most of the ground lost in November. Utah had 6-10 feet new in February, bringing base depths to 9+ feet in the Cottonwood Canyons and 6-7 feet elsewhere. Alta's year-to-date snow is now 481 inches (98% of normal) and all areas are in full operation (Jupiter Bowl opened Jan. 7). March brought 4-6 feet new snow to the Wasatch, plus another foot in early April.
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.
RSN February Snow: Snowbird 120, Brighton 106, Park City 75, The Canyons 77.
RSN March Snow: Snowbird 72, Brighton 77, Brian Head 83, Park City 68, The Canyons 51.
See the Utah regional table for snow preservation tendencies.
Northern and Central Colorado: This region received substantial snow in mid-December, average snow in January, and above average snow in February. The northern track of earlier storms brought excellent conditions to Steamboat (YTD snow 355 inches, 115% of normal). The central and southern track of February/ early March generated frequent snow throughout the region, and since then the region has been getting its typical several inches per week. Vail has had 299 inches, 90% of normal, Winter Park 316 inches, 95% of normal, and Breckenridge 248.5 inches 96% of normal. Base depths of 5-6 feet throughout the region should now ensure a normal spring season. The Continental Divide region has received over a foot of new snow so far in April.
Ski Central December Snow: Copper 66, Keystone 63, Loveland 80.
RSN January Snow: Copper 37, Keystone 48, Loveland 50.
RSN February Snow: Copper 53, Keystone 46, Loveland 51.
RSN March Snow: Copper 52, Keystone 42, Loveland 45.
See the Northern and Central Colorado regional table for snow preservation tendencies.
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 received much of the same January storms as Northern Colorado. February storms were more substantial, allowing Snowmass' Hanging Valley and CB's North Face to open (base now 42-50 inches). Purgatory and Telluride got 2 feet in late March, in the same storms which hit Arizona and Brian Head. Aspen, Snowmass and Wolf Creek will stay open to Easter.
Ski Central December Snow: Aspen 28, Crested Butte 19, Telluride 34.
RSN January Snow: Aspen 50, Crested Butte 62, Telluride 46, Taos 34.
RSN February Snow: Aspen 40, Crested Butte 69, Telluride 47, Taos 30.
RSN March Snow: Aspen 50, Crested Butte 48, Telluride 65, Taos 38.
Snow preservation is excellent in this region once the terrain is adequately covered. See the Southern and Western Colorado regional table for details.
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 had excellent skiing with high snowfall from late January through most of February. The last week of February saw a thaw and partial meltdown, so some areas were down to 50-60% operation. Most runs reopened on new snow in early March, but ongoing warm weather reduced most areas to 50-60% again by the end of March. A few northern areas remain partially open with some help from a foot of new snow in early April. As my report is an overview, I strongly recommend checking Vermont No-Bull Ski Report for up to date information in this region, where both weather and surface conditions can change so rapidly. Surface conditions are much more a function of recent weather in the East, as opposed to altitude and exposure in the West.
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.
RSN February Snow: Jay 143, Stowe 89, Killington 57, Stratton 61, Sugarloaf 50, Snowshoe, WV 21.
RSN March Snow: Jay 37, Stowe 30, Killington 21, Stratton 31, Sugarloaf 38, Snowshoe, WV 13.