There was only one snowy week in the western US during November. No ski area more than 100 miles south of the Canadian border received as much as half its normal November snowfall. Another red flag is that snow stashes such as Alta, Grand Targhee and Wolf Creek are still closed or extremely restricted. The best current skiing is to be found at Sunshine Village (80% open on a 51 inch base) and Whistler (50% open on a 48 inch mid-mountain base). US skiers expecting to ski at Christmas should concentrate on areas with extensive snowmaking. High December snowfall will be needed to change this holiday forecast. Much of the West does expect some new snow later this week.
California: The Sierra got 1-3 feet of snow in November, providing an assist to ongoing snowmaking. Similar to last year's La Nina, the most snow has fallen north of Tahoe. Kirkwood has had only 22 inches and Mammoth 14. Heavenly has upper runs in both states open on snowmaking. See Current California Ski Conditions for more details on Southern California and Mammoth.
Pacific Northwest: After steady rain for much of the month, there has been up to 2-3 feet of snow in the last 2 weeks. Whistler Blackcomb has 3,400 acres open on a 46-inch base, the most in North America so far. Mt. Baker reports a 34-67 inch base, with some of the latter left over from last year's world record. Mt. Bachelor reports limited operation on an 18-inch base.
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 65 inches. Louise is over half open, but a deeper base is needed for the expert terrain. Sunshine has some of the advanced Goat's Eye runs open. Sun Peaks opened about 15% of its terrain recently. Other Okanagan and Kootenay areas have about 2 feet on the ground and should open in a week or two.
U. S. Northern Rockies: Regional leader Grand Targhee has only a 9 inch base from recent storms, very unusual for the only North America ski area with perfect Christmas reliability over the past 25 years. Jackson Hole's snowfall has totaled 27 inches. Big Sky and Bridger are unlikely to see full operation before mid-January. Conditions are better near the Canadian border, where Big Mountain has received 22-51 inches snow and is partially open.
Utah: Alta has received 31 inches so far in November, about half normal. Christmas in Utah this year is likely to be like Thanksgiving of a normal year. I would not expect full operation in the Park City region until well after New Year's. Park City lost its World Cup race to Copper Mt. because it was too warm to make snow most of November.
Northern and Central Colorado: Season-to-date snowfall here is also less than half normal (22.5 inches Vail, 24 inches Steamboat and 25.5 inches Winter Park, 3 of the high natural snow areas). Most areas are around 10% open, but it's strictly on snowmaking. It will take a high snow December to get advanced terrain open by Christmas. The high altitudes do permit nearly continuous snowmaking in Summit County, where Keystone is 20% open.
Southern and Western Colorado: This is the most severely drought impacted region, with less than 1 foot natural snow in November, even at Wolf Creek. In normal years advanced terrain is often not skiable until January. This year (like last) I would not expect full operation until February. Decent skiing for the holidays is a longshot.
Northeast: New England got up to 1.5 feet of snow in mid-November. Then a week of warm weather wiped most of it out. Snowmaking has resumed the last 2 days, and while most open areas have only a couple of runs now (Sunday River has the most, 10), more terrain is expected before next weekend. 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.