2016-17 Ski Season Progress Report as of December 16, 2016

October 2016 was exceptionally stormy over the northwestern quarter of North America. However, most of the moisture was subtropical so snowfall was confined to the highest elevations. The first half of November was bone dry over the western US and it was also too warm to make snow at most areas. Failures of Alta and Grand Targhee, bastions of reliability, to open for Thanksgiving, were huge red flags, as was the cancellation of the Beaver Creek World Cup first weekend of December. Thankgiving skiing was limited to a handful of snowmaking runs. There was a widespread storm just after Thanksgiving, with Utah getting the most snow. The standout area for the early season was Whistler, which had a 76-inch base and 5,200 acres open Dec. 1. During the first half of December the storm track shifted into the western US, with many areas making up the November deficit and more. Some areas, notably in the Southwest, remain far behind and will be in very limted operation for the holidays.

All snowfall numbers are since Nov. 1 (which really means Nov. 15 for many areas), as nearly all earlier snow melted out during the first half of the month, and at mid-mountain locations where possible. "Mid-estimates" are for areas that only post upper info online, and apply a long term mid-to-upper ratio to those posted figures.

California:

The Sierra had a major storm mid-October with snow levels in the 9,000 foot range which left an ongoing snowpack in the Sierra only on the upper third of Mammoth, not reflected in Mammoth's Main Lodge snow totals. Second half of November snow was 2-4 feet, with the most north and west of Lake Tahoe. Two major storms during the first half of December were mostly rain below 8,000 feet but dumped 4-6 feet of snow at Mt. Rose and Mammoth and 3 feet at Kirkwood. Other areas had lots of rain, are in limited operation and likely to remain so through the holidays. 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

72

74%

14%

Alpine Meadows

58

77%

22%

Mt. Rose

106

144%

83%

Northstar (mid-estimate)

51

77%

14%

Heavenly

61

73%

20%

Kirkwood

76

75%

43%

Mammoth

73

96%

67%

Southern Cal

5

29%

0-35%


Pacific Northwest:

The region had a record wet October but the rain/snow line was above most of the ski areas. The Whistler alpine was the conspicuous exception. Cams showed a good snowpack at the top of the Whistler gondola at the end of October. After a big November Whistler opened 5,200 acres by December 1. Mt. Baker had 6+ feet of snow in late November to be 87% open Dec. 1. During the first half of December storms focused more on Washington and Oregon, dumping an average 6 feet of snow. Base depths average 5-7 feet throughout the region, which is set for an excellent holiday season.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Whistler

143

121%

100%

Mt. Baker

229

137%

100%

Crystal Mt.

104

98%

100%

Stevens Pass

120

97%

96%

Mt. Hood

159

137%

69%

Mt. Bachelor

139

136%

100%

Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.:

This was the only region with widespread November snowfall, though it was above average only at the higher altitude areas. After 2-3 feet during the first half of December base depths are 3-4 feet. Silver Star is 95% open and Sun Peaks is 92% open.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Big White

85

103%

70%

Lake Louise

68

136%

80%

Sunshine

89

129%

69%

Revelstoke

113

108%

28%

Kicking Horse

80

105%

78%

Whitewater

122

121%

88%

Red Mt.

53

75%

84%

Fernie

86

89%

85%

Castle Mt.

111

162%

74%

U.S. Northern Rockies:

Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole delayed opening due to the dry first half of November but opened by Dec. 1 due to a late storm after Thanksgiving. The Tetons made up completely for the slow start with 6 feet of snow during the first half of December and are on track for a normal holiday season with base deopths of 5-6 feet. The interior Northwest areas in Idaho and western Montana have made up some ground and have 3-4 foot bases. Big Sky is farther behind with a 2-3 foot base and is 30% open.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Grand Targhee

122

105%

100%

Jackson Hole

109

113%

59%

Whitefish

80

96%

75%

Bridger

54

74%

100%

Schweitzer

56

78%

99%

Sun Valley

53.5

106%

37%

Utah:

Utah was far enough south and east to miss most of October's action. There was a bit of snow mid-month but it was long gone by mid-November. Brighton, Park City and Snowbird opened just after Thanksgiving on snowmaking but Alta delayed to Dec. 2. The late November storm dumped 3+ feet in the Cottonwood areas and about half of that elsewhere. There have been 3-4 feet of snow in the Wasatch in December with another 1-2 feet expected soon. Cottonwood Canyon base depths are 4+ feet and Park City base depths are 3 feet. The Wasatch is now on track for an average holiday season but Brian Head in the far south is still very limited.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Alta

117

89%

90%

Snowbird

122

105%

48%

Brighton/Solitude

127

103%

65%

Park City (mid estimate)

62

87%

41%

Snowbasin

89

115%

64%

Brian Head

48

66%

20%

Northern and Central Colorado:

A-Basin opened a run on snowmaking October 21, was less than 10% open for the next 6 weeks but is now 41% open. Loveland did not open until Nov. 9 and no one else opened until Nov. 18. No one was over 5% open at Thanksgiving and base depths were still in the snowmaking dependent 18-inch range until 4 feet of snow fell during the first half of December with at least another foot expected this weekend. While open terrain is still lagging at some areas, this region is now about average in snowfall with base depths around 3 feet. Steamboat and Vail are the most likely areas in the region to approach full operation for the holidays.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Beaver Creek

69

82%

47%

Breckenridge

81

108%

43%

Copper Mt.

72

101%

31%

Keystone

77

132%

32%

Loveland

75

92%

16%

Steamboat

96

101%

54%

Vail

64

70%

76%

Winter Park

96

103%

50%

Southern and Western Colorado:

This region was bone dry the first half of November but got more snow than the northern areas during the second half. December storms have taken a more northern track though most of the region expects 2+ feet of snow soon. Base depths are under 3 feet except at Wolf Creek and thus some expert terrain is not likely to open before January. New Mexico like Arizona and Southern California has missed most of the storms so far and only snowmaking dependent terrain is likely to be open for the holidays.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Aspen

60

102%

35%

Gothic Snow Lab

76

90%

N/A

Crested Butte

69

117%

30%

Telluride

64

115%

15%

Purgatory

48

77%

55%

Wolf Creek

77

85%

100%

Taos

29

42%

11%

Northeast:

Killington opened October 25 with a mix of manmade and natural snow. The natural snow melted out in early November but there was enough natural and manmade snow later for Killington to host a World Cup race even though the races in the West were cancelled. The week after Thanksgiving had some rain but the first half of December has been cold with 5-6 feet of snow in northern Vermont and 3 feet elsewhere. Percents open: Okemo 44%, Stratton 52%, Hunter 60%, Sunday River 41%, Sugarloaf 40%, Tremblant 40%, Mont Ste. Anne 79%.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Jay Peak (mid)

99

147%

64%

Stowe

84

102%

85%

Sugarbush

102

167%

100%

Killington

58

105%

59%

Whiteface

60

124%

31%

Cannon Mt.

43

137%

66%

Le Massif

59

107%

75%

Directory of Ski Report Links

All content herein copyright 1996-2016 Bestsnow.net
All Rights Reserved.
No copies or reproductions may be made in whole or in part without express permission by Tony Crocker.
Prices for commercial users will be determined based upon intended use and distribution.