Last week's storms "closed the deal" for Utah and the high snow areas of Colorado and ensured an excellent holiday season in those states. The West Coast and Northern Rockies are still below average but rapidly improving with new snow. Surface conditions will be excellent, but advanced terrain at many areas may still be limited for the holidays unless the storms continue next week. Western Canada is finally getting snow, but it's going to take awhile to recover from the early season drought.
Only a few areas post season-to-date snowfall on their websites. At the end of the regional sections, I list selected Ski Central month-to-date snow totals for other resorts, making educated guesses as to which resorts have supplied complete data for the month. The more complete RSN snow totals I used last year are not available so far.
California: Season snowfall: 68" Kirkwood, 98" upper and 36" lower Squaw, 61" Mammoth. There were two storms this week, both stronger in the north. Alpine Meadows and Sugar Bowl have the deepest natural snow bases of about 4 feet. Most intermediate runs in the Sierra are open with packed powder, but advanced terrain is still limited pending bigger storms. Heavenly's extensive snowmaking has reached base areas in both states now. Southern California areas are open on snowmaking and Arizona has a 18-40 inch natural base. See Current California Ski Conditions for more details on Southern California and Mammoth.
Ski Central December Snow: Alpine Meadows 42, Northstar 28, Heavenly 14.
Pacific Northwest: Oregon got the most snow last week, and big storms hit Washington and B.C. this weekend. Whistler/Blackcomb is in full operation on a 59-inch base, an impressive recovery from the dry November. Mt. Bachelor's base is 4-5 feet with Northwest open now and Summit likely once the weather clears. Washington areas were less than half open this weekend but likely to expand soon with the ongoing storms.
Ski Central December Snow: Whistler 28 (likely incomplete), Baker 50, Stevens 30, Bachelor 30, Hood Meadows 26.
Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: Lake Louise, Sunshine, Big White and Sun Peaks are 10-30% open on bases no more than 2 feet. Fernie got over a foot last week and should open next week with continuing new snow. Whitewater's 33-inch base is the highest in the region. After the unusually dry start even cat and heli skiers should avoid this region until after the holidays.
Ski Central December Snow: Lake Louise 10, Silver Star 23.
U. S. Northern Rockies: In early October Big Sky got a freak dump of over 3 feet and opened some intermediate runs on weekends, increasing to daily operation on 900 acres since Nov. 11. Big Sky's base is now 28-43 inches with better than normal conditions, but more snow will be needed to open Lone Peak's expert terrain. Jackson has had 94 inches snowfall so far this season, and is 40% open on a 43-inch base. Grand Targhee is in full operation on a 33-67 inch base, thus preserving its 100% holiday track record. Schweitzer and Big Mountain are about 40% open on about 3 feet. Sun Valley is open primarily on snowmaking, but has received 55 inches this season.
Ski Central December Snow: Silver Mt. 12, Big Mountain 25, Big Sky 13, Targhee 31.
Utah: Alta got 65 inches in October, plus 75 inches in November and 62 inches of snow so far this month. Cottonwood areas base depths are now over 6 feet. Brian Head in southern Utah is also open on a 35-inch base, which means nearly full operation on this intermediate-oriented area. Snow Basin, Park City and The Canyons caught this dump also and are 80-90% open now on 4-5 foot bases. All Utah areas should be excellent for the holidays.
Ski Central December Snow: Brighton 74, Park City 69, Brian Head 8.
Northern and Central Colorado: Above average year-to-date snowfall, including over 2 feet this week: Breckenridge 78", Vail 106", Winter Park 125", Steamboat 127". Loveland and Summit County areas are 50-70% open with snowmaking assistance. Steamboat and Vail are 90% open. These areas plus Winter Park are set for an excellent holiday, and other areas may also reach full operation if the snow continues.
Ski Central December Snow: Copper 33, Keystone 28, Loveland 41.
Southern and Western Colorado: Wolf Creek's base depth is 66-76 inches and it has been in full operation since early November. Elsewhere in western Colorado the base averages 3 feet, with now excellent intermediate conditions but advanced terrain such as Snowmass' Hanging Valley and Crested Butte's North Face requires at least a 4-foot base. These sectors rarely open before January, but another week as good as the past one might be enough this season. New Mexico is similarly good shape on 3.5 foot bases with nearly all intermediate terrain open plus a few advanced runs.
Ski Central December Snow: Aspen 24, Crested Butte 46, Telluride 26, Durango 38, Taos 25.
Northeast: Warm weather knocked out the first snowmaking attempts by November 15. Since then snowmaking cranked up for a week and Killington, Okemo, Sunday River and Hunter Mt. were about 30% open for Thanksgiving. Northern Vermont is getting major snow this month and those areas are 75+% open now. Other New England areas are about 50% open despite today's rain. Snowshoe is 90% open on mostly snowmaking. 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.
Ski Central December Snow: Mont-Sainte-Anne 32, Tremblant 25, Sugarloaf 32, Jay 53, Stowe 42, Sugarbush 26, Stratton 28, Snowshoe, WV 9.
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