2017-18 Ski Season Progress Report as of December 9, 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 now under the predicted sustained high pressure which will last at least another week. Utah and Colorado should be avoided well into January and the Southwest probably until February. Skiing in other regions is at least above average at higher elevations. Lower elevations had a lot of November rain, resulting in 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. With December being mostly dry Mt. Rose and Mammoth will continue to have the best skiing. Other areas are in more limited operation and will not have enough terrain for holiday crowds in the absence of new snow. 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

57

72%

26%

Alpine Meadows

39.5

67%

25%

Mt. Rose

64

108%

78%

Heavenly

32

47%

10%

Kirkwood

38

46%

40%

Mammoth

36

59%

44%

Southern Cal

0

0%

0-16%

Arizona Snowbowl

0

0%

11%

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 improved surfaces and restored about a foot of base lost by the rain. Much of the Whistler alpine opened Dec. 9 after extensive avalanche control, resulting in twice as much open terrain as anywhere else in North America. The Northwest is now dry like other regions after about 9 inches snow during the first week of December.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Whistler

158

160%

63%

Crystal Mt.

93

108%

70%

Stevens Pass

86

84%

54%

Mt. Hood

84

88%

40%

Mt. Bachelor

81

96%

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 2+ feet of snow in late November/early December, base depths are in the 3-4 foot range and this is the best overall ski region for the early season. Silver Star is 93% open and Sun Peaks 64%.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Big White

58

83%

69%

Lake Louise

92

213%

78%

Sunshine

118

201%

70%

Revelstoke

96.5

108%

25%

Kicking Horse

121

184%

67%

Whitewater

86

104%

68%

Red Mt.

54

93%

7%

Fernie

92

116%

46%

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 December 1 base depths were in the 2+ foot range. Most areas got a little under a foot of snow in early December before the high pressure set in. Big Sky is 25% open on an above average 27-41 inch base. The deepest snow is the 5+ feet at Targhee and 4 feet on the upper half of Jackson.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Grand Targhee

143

152%

100%

Jackson Hole

99

124%

40%

Bridger

68

114%

100%

Schweitzer

94

160%

41%

Brundage

65

102%

2%

Sun Valley

45

108%

22%

Utah: Utah had minimal October snow and was on the edge of November storms. Some opening dates were delayed and any skiing is on limited snowmaking. An early December storm dropped up to 18 inches in the Cottonwood Canyons, a foot at Snowbasin and 6 inches in Park City, but no more new snow is in sight for at least a week and only a little bit more terrain opened. Utah is on track for 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

42

38%

9%

Snowbird

41

42%

4%

Brighton/Solitude

36

35%

14%

Park City (mid estimate)

26

43%

4%

Snowbasin

41

63%

10%

Brian Head

0

0%

4%

Northern and Central Colorado: A-Basin opened a run on snowmaking October 13 followed by Loveland on October 20. November snowfall was about half average and all skiing is on a manmade base of no more than 18 inches. A-Basin is 12% open. First week of December snowfall was 6-12 inches, but with the ensuing dry spell holiday skiing is likely to be excessively congested with less than half of terrain open and largely snowmaking dependent. Minimal advanced terrain is likely to open before mid-January.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Beaver Creek

28

39%

9%

Breckenridge

41

67%

9%

Copper Mt.

33

54%

9%

Keystone

36

73%

7%

Loveland

36

52%

15%

Steamboat

50

62%

5%

Vail

30

39%

2%

Winter Park

52

64%

10%

Southern and Western Colorado: This region has been driest of all so far with no end in sight, 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 24 inches since, the total being second lowest in 44 years of records. Even Wolf Creek has had just 41 inches (28 of it during the first week of November) and reports 60% open but on a sketchy 13 inch base. Taos is 4% open. Aspen/Snowmass has similar conditions as the northern and central areas above. Farther south, the first month and a half of the season has been so dry that these areas should be avoided before February. Advanced terrain is unlikely to be open before February unless there are major dumps.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Aspen/Snowmass

23

47%

9%

Gothic Snow Lab

24

34%

N/A

Crested Butte

17

34%

8%

Telluride

14

26%

3%

Purgatory

12

23%

7%

Wolf Creek

41

54%

60%

Northeast: Killington was the first opening on November 8 as there was too much warm weather and rain in October. There has been steady terrain expansion on snowmaking since Thanksgiving but natural snow has been mainly in northern Vermont. Percents open: Okemo 28%, Stratton 31%, Sugarloaf 14%, Sunday River 19%, Tremblant 34%, Mt. Ste. Anne 19%, Hunter 33%.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Jay Peak (mid estimate)

59

116%

32%

Stowe

43

63%

33%

Sugarbush

16

33%

14%

Killington

10

23%

30%

Whiteface

37

92%

19%

Cannon

11

47%

32%

Le Massif

17

40%

13%

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