2017-18 Ski Season Progress Report as of December 1, 2017

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 is predicted to be under sustained high pressure for the first half of December. Utah and Colorado should be avoided before January. Skiing in other regions is at least above average at higher elevations. Lower elevations have seen a lot of rain, so have variable coverage and surfaces. Top ski conditions for the holidays will likely be at Grand Targhee, Whistler, Banff/Lake Louise and Mammoth. Jackson and Big Sky are in limited operation now but have 3 foot bases and rate to expand substantially by Christmas.

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. 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

52

91%

19%

Alpine Meadows

36.5

89%

5%

Mt. Rose

58

135%

78%

Heavenly

29

58%

5%

Kirkwood

34

56%

24%

Mammoth

35.5

76%

50%

Southern Cal

0

0%

0%

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 has improved surfaces and restored about a foot of base lost by the rain. The Whistler alpine is loaded with snow and should open soon.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Whistler

148

193%

33%

Crystal Mt.

83

129%

60%

Stevens Pass

79

103%

10%

Mt. Hood

77

107%

15%

Mt. Bachelor

74

116%

23%

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 nearly 2 feet of snow in late November, base depths are in the 3-4 foot range and this is the best overall ski tegion for the early season.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Big White

52

94%

40%

Lake Louise

89

253%

68%

Sunshine

102

219%

51%

Revelstoke

87

123%

Dec. 2

Kicking Horse

109

208%

Dec. 8

Whitewater

93

150%

Dec. 9

Red Mt.

48

111%

Dec. 9

Fernie

82

138%

25%

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 base depths are in the 2 foot range. Jackson is 26% open and Big Sky 20% but both have above average snowpacks and look promising for the holidays.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Grand Targhee

135

194%

100%

Jackson Hole

93

152%

26%

Bridger

51

113%

Dec. 8

Schweitzer

83

188%

19%

Brundage

53

111%

Dec. 8

Sun Valley

43

135%

12%

Utah: Utah had minimal October snow and was on the edge of November storms. Some opening dates have been delayed and any skiing is on limited snowmaking. With only about 6 inches expected during the first half of December, Utah could have its second worst early season in 50 years and should be avoided before January.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Alta

23.5

27%

Dec. 2

Snowbird

23

31%

3%

Brighton

29

36%

11%

Park City (mid estimate)

16

36%

2%

Snowbasin

29

57%

Closed

Brian Head

0

0%

2%

Northern and Central Colorado: A-Basin opened a run on snowmaking October 13 followed by Loveland on October 20. November snowfall has been about half average and all skiing is on a manmade base of no more than 18 inches. A-Basin is 12% open, Beaver Creek 4% and Vail 1%. Some snow is expected this weekend, but with the ensuing dry spell holiday skiing is likely to be restricted and largely snowmaking dependent. Minimal advanced terrain is likely to open before January.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Breckenridge

32

70%

6%

Copper Mt.

27

56%

6%

Keystone

26

66%

4%

Loveland

31

56%

9%

Steamboat

39

61%

4%

Winter Park

34

50%

4%

Southern and Western Colorado: This region was driest of all in November, 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 22 inches in November, the total being second lowest in 44 years of records. Even Wolf Creek has had just 40 inches (28 of it during the first week of November) and reports 60% open but on a sketchy 16 inch base. Taos is 2% open. It may snow up to a foot this weekend, but after the upcoming dry spell holiday skiing will probably be extremely restricted. Advanced terrain is unlikely to be open before mid-January unless there are major dumps.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Aspen/Snowmass

19

49%

3%

Gothic Snow Lab

22

40%

N/A

Crested Butte

16

41%

3%

Telluride

12.5

29%

Dec. 7

Purgatory

12

29%

4%

Wolf Creek

40

66%

60%

Northeast: Killington was the first opening on November 8 as there was too much warm weather and rain in October. There has been some recent terrain expansions on snowmaking but natural snow has been mainly in northern Vermont. Percents open: Okemo 18%, Stratton 27%, Sugarloaf 10%, Sunday River 13%, Tremblant 27%, Hunter 17%.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Jay Peak (mid estimate)

50

158%

28%

Stowe

37

71%

27%

Sugarbush

14

42%

14%

Killington

9

29%

26%

Whiteface

33

107%

14%

Cannon

9

64%

23%

Le Massif

15

54%

14%

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