2012-13 Ski Season Analysis as of June 6, 2013

2012-13 was overall well below average in snowfall. In general the snowiest areas in Canada and the Northwest were only modestly above average. However skier visits rebounded sharply from the depressed levels of 2011-12 because December was the big snow month in most regions. Colorado was the exception, with some areas starting even slower than last year but I-70 and the Front Range had very high late season snowfall. Comprehensive snow statistics are shown in the 2012-13 Ski Season Summary.

Prior Progress Reports
November 1, 2012
November 25, 2012
December 1, 2012
December 9, 2012
December 16, 2012
December 23, 2012
December 31, 2012
January 8, 2013
January 15, 2013
January 30, 2013
February 14, 2013
March 1, 2013
March 16, 2013
March 31, 2013
April 13, 2013

During the third week of October a widespread western storm hit many regions of the West with up to 3+ feet of snow. No areas opened to the public from this storm. This October snow is not counted in season totals except for a few higher and colder places that were at least half open for Thanksgiving weekend. Overall western November snowfall was average or better with the conspicuous exception of Colorado, which had less than one third normal snow and thus had very limited skiing.

There was a substantial storm along the West Coast at the start of December with much snow at high elevation but rain lower down. Then a big Pacific Northwest storm moved into most of the Rockies with more moderate snows. The middle 2 weeks of December were very snowy over most of the West with the biggest dumps along the West Coast. Thus all areas in the Pacific Northwest, US Northern Rockies and Western Canada were close to or at full operation for the holidays along with Utah's Cottonwood Canyons and most Sierra resorts. During the holiday week there was another big storm in California and Utah, with lesser amounts in adjacent regions.

During the first week of January almost no place in the western US got as much as a foot of snow and most places had less than 6 inches. The next week brought some but not a lot of snow to all western regions. The third week of January was even drier than the first week. The last week of January had moderate snow in most regions, with largest amounts in the Northwest, Utah and some of the Southwest. A few Colorado areas remained in severely limited operation, very unusual for the end of January. The first half of February continued the dry pattern, with most regions getting no more than half of normal snow. Fortunately the exception was Colorado, so most areas there finally attained close to normal mid-season operation as of mid-February.

Second half of February snowfall was close to average throughout the West except for California, which remained mostly dry. First half of March snowfall was overall below average with a few isolated exceptions. Storms were strongest in the Pacifc Northwest and western Canada but there was some rain below 6,000 feet. Third week of March snowfall was strong in the northern regions, decreasing to the southwest. Spring conditions were prevalent by the end of March at many areas, particularly since the second and fourth weeks of March were much warmer than normal. First half of April snowfall was highest in the Northwest, western Canada, Utah and much of Colorado. Most areas are closing after the second week in April, and many closed after the first week.

California: North Tahoe had some of the most October snow, with 37 inches at Squaw Valley which opened a couple of runs for a one-day private event. Farther south Kirkwood got 24-31 inches and Mammoth 17 inches. Mammoth and Kirkwood preserved the early base and with 3 feet of dense new snow were 60% and 50% open for Thanksgiving. The late November/early December storms dumped 4+ feet of snow at 9,000+ feet but mostly rain below 7,000. Mid-December storms were colder, dropping 4 feet of snow even at lower elevations. Thus most but not all of the previously rained upon terrain was open by Christmas. The holiday week storms dumped another 3-4 feet so nearly all Sierra terrain was open with base depths of 4-12 feet. After a dry early January there were some variable conditions at low elevations but conditions were refreshed with up to a foot of snow in mid-January. Late January Sierra snow was a foot at Mammoth but only a few inches at Tahoe, while a larger storm farther south dumped 4 feet of snow in Arizona but was mostly rain in Southern California. February was even drier than January, with no more than a foot of snow for the entire month. The Sierra got 2 feet of snow in early March and up to a foot the 3rd week, but it has otherwise been warm, so surface conditions are predominantly spring. With snowfall being only 1/3 of normal since January 1, some of the lower elevations at Tahoe melted out a month earlier than usual. There were a few inches of snow in April, but with the dry winter there was very little snow left in the Sierra below 8,000 feet. Mammoth was open to June 1 but Tahoe was mostly done by April 21 with Alpine Meadows running one more weekend. See Current California Ski Conditions for more details on Southern California and Mammoth.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr/May

Total

Pct. of Normal

Squaw 8,000

61

152

16

12

38

10

289

63%

Heavenly 8,400

28

101

14

12

25

7

187

73%

Mammoth

71.5

146.5

25

9.5

29.5

16.5

298.5

83%

Southern Cal

1

19

14

24

12

0

70

54%

Arizona Snowbowl

11

69

55

62

22

0

219

88%

Pacific Northwest: The entire region got 3-5 feet of snow during Thanksgiving week. Late November snow was mostly rain at base elevations and mostly snow above ~5,000 feet. First half of December snow ranged from 3+ feet in Oregon to 5-7 feet in Washington and at Whistler. The pre-Christmas week snow was another 5 feet over the entire region and Mt. Baker's base went over 150 inches. Holiday week snow ranged from less than a foot in Canada to 2 feet in Oregon. In early January there was 1+ foot at Whistler and northern Washington but no more than 6 inches farther south. There was 1+ foot over most of the region in mid-January and 2+ feet in Washington and Oregon late in the month. 1+ foot in the first half of February, with more snow north than south. Second half of February snowfall ranged from 2+ feet south to 4 feet in the north. In the first half of March the Whistler alpine had 4+ feet of snow, but Washington and Oregon had less than 2 feet. There were 2-4 feet the 3rd week of March but the last week of March was warm with spring conditions. 1-2 feet of snow in early April. Bachelor was open to Memorial Day, and Crystal and Blackcomb a bit longer.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Alyeska

22

112

167

146

86

30

563

108%

Whistler Alpine

85

135

46

50

90

24

430

103%

Crystal Mt.

57

203

53

46

58

58

475

116%

Mt. Hood

42

170.5

63.5

64

64

37

441

97%

Mt. Bachelor

68

125

46

33

36

43

351

91%

Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: October snow fell over most of these areas, topped by Revelstoke's 69 inches, some of which was in September. November snowfall was at least average through most of the region. Big White, Silver Star and Sun Peaks were all 93+% open before Christmas. There was 3-5 feet of snow during the first half of December, including to the areas that had low elevation rain the previous week. The pre-Christmas Northwest storm dumped 3 feet in the Okanagan and 4-6 feet in the Kootenays. All of the region was close to full operation for an excellent holiday season. Base depths ranged from 4 feet in Alberta to 8 feet at Whitewater, with less than a foot of new snow during the holiday week. Average 2+ feet during the first half of January and 1-2 feet during the second half. 1+ foot during the first half of February. Second half of February snowfall ranged from a foot at the Banff areas to nearly 4 feet at Revelstoke, Whitewater and Fernie. The first half of March brought over 3 feet of snow to the Banff areas and Kicking Horse, with 2 feet and some rain mix to the lower elevation areas farther west. Average 2 feet during the second half of March, with colder temps preserving the snow best at the Banff areas and Kicking Horse. There was at least 2 feet of April snow in the region but all areas except Lake Louise and Sunshine were closed by mid-April due to remote location.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Big White

25.6

74.8

58.3

39.4

48

45.3

291.4

107%

Mt. Fidelity

75.9

92.1

100

89.4

85.8

50

493.2

101%

Fernie

42.5

135

64.2

49.6

78.7

32.7

402.7

108%

Lake Louise

41.3

24.8

28.7

21.7

61.8

26

204.3

124%

Sunshine

66.9

63.8

50.4

35.8

62.6

40.9

320.4

127%

U. S. Northern Rockies: Overall November snowfall was average but as in other regions high elevation areas had more snow, less rain and had more open terrain. Most areas had 4-6 feet of snow in December but Schweitzer got 9 feet from the strong Northwest storm track. Sun Valley had 4 feet in November and 3 feet in early December for one of its best early starts. Big Sky was 75% open by mid-December and 92% for Christmas. Most of the region had a strong holiday season with 1+ foot of snow in the Tetons and lesser amounts further north. In early January the region averaged about 1 1/2 feet of snow. In late January snowfall varied from a few inches at Sun Valley to 3 feet at Brundage, Bridger and Targhee. There was a 2+ foot storm during the second week of February in the Tetons and southern Montana, but the rest of the region had less than a foot in the first half of February. Wyoming and Montana areas averaged 3 feet of snow in the second half of February while Idaho areas averaged 2 feet. Early March snowfall was 1+ foot throught the region with some rain at the lower Northwest influenced areas. Average 2 feet during the 3rd week of March, but there were mostly spring conditions after a warm last week of March. There was an average foot of snow in early April but most areas closed by mid-April vdue to remote location.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Schweitzer

41

130

36

26

28

19

280

99%

Bridger Bowl

40

64

71

50

42

48

315

104%

Jackson Hole

24

94

41

45

43

40

287

78%

Sun Valley

39

76.5

14

10.5

22.5

9

171.5

88%

Utah: The northern areas in Utah got the most October snow, 45 inches at Powder Mt. and 36 at Snowbasin, but the Cottonwood areas got a 4+ foot mid-November dump. The next 2 weeks Utah was dry but in mid-December there was 3-6 feet of snow and another 2-3+ feet during the holiday week. The Cottonwood areas were close to full operation by mid-December but the Park City group and the Ogden areas reached majority operation around Christmas. Brian Head was limited before Christmas but got nearly 4 feet over the holidays. After about 10 dry days there was 1+ foot in mid-January, topped by 2 feet at Snowbasin. Late January snow was 3 feet in the Cottonwood and Ogden areas and half that at Park City. First half of February snow was 2 feet in the Cottonwoods and Brian Head but less than a foot elsewhere. 2-4 feet in the second half of February, 1.5 feet in early March and 1-3 feet the 3rd week of March. There were nearly all spring conditions after a warm last week of March. Powder was restored with 3 feet of snow in the first half of April. Brighton ran to 3rd weekend of April, Alta to the last weekend of April and Snowbird to Memorial Day.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Alta

63.5

117

65

62.5

50

75

433

82%

Snowbird

48.5

93

54.5

67.5

29

43

335.5

73%

Park City Summit House

32

68

33

20

41

41

235

76%

Snowbasin

22

67

72

36

23

30

250

81%

Brian Head

17.5

56

37

51

27

40

228.5

69%

Northern and Central Colorado: This region had a near record dry November, even worse than last year. Despite 2-3+ feet of snow during mid-December most areas were half or less open during the busy holiday period. Steamboat got a 3+ foot dump at Christmas and has since been close to full operation. Other areas got 1-2 feet during the holiday week. Vail opened some but not all of the back bowls at Christmas. There was less than a foot snowfall during the first 3 weeks of January, and late January snowfall approached 3 feet at Steamboat but about than half as much elsewhere. 2+ feet of snow fell during the first half of February at most areas, with 3+ at Winter Park and Steamboat. 2-4 feet during the second half of February continued to improve conditions. This was the best region during March with 6+ feet at some Summit County areas and 4+ feet elsewhere. 2+ feet at most areas in the first half of April. A-Basin was less than half open into February but with the strong late season is still open in June.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Steamboat

17

122.5

36

88.8

53

63

345

92%

Vail

15

71

34

58

57

70

305

84%

Copper Mt.

8

39

25

36

61

86

255

90%

Loveland

8

53

23

41

88

90

303

87%

Winter Park

16.5

67

24

55

55.5

76

294

84%

Southern and Western Colorado: The Gothic Snow Lab between Crested Butte and Aspen (snowier climate than either) had had the driest start in its 39 years of records through early December but got 5 feet in the last 3 weeks of the month. Snowfall leader Wolf Creek was open but sketchy until it got 4 feet in the second week of December. Second half of December snow was 5 feet at Wolf Creek and 2-3 feet elsewhere. There was less than a foot of snow during the first 3 weeks of January with the usual exception of 2 feet at Wolf Creek. The late January storm dumped 2-3+ feet at the southern areas and there was another 3+ feet in the first half of February. The southern areas continued strong with 2-4 feet in the second half of February, but less than half as much farther north. Average 2 feet of snow in the first half of March but only a foot during the second half. Taos reached full operation in early February and its March base was 5-6 feet. Crested Butte opened some of the North Face in early February. April snowfall in the Southwest was minimal and those areas closed due to remote location. Aspen Highlands had 2+ feet in April and remained open to its last weekend.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Aspen Highlands

12

49

21

30

50

57

219

87%

Gothic Snow Lab

19.5

73

35

22.5

52.5

65.5

268

73%

Wolf Creek

22

110

65

99

40

21

357

91%

Taos

12

62

50

57

36

39.5

256.5

98%

Northeast: Hurricane Sandy was all rain in New England and eastern Canada so Sunday River missed a Halloween opening for the first time in 5 years. Killington was open 2 days earlier in October but then closed. The snow from Sandy was in the Appalachians, where 2 North Carolina areas opened with snowmaking assistance but none in West Virginia where over 2 feet of snow fell. Northeast snowfall was less than a foot through Thanksgiving, but there was up to a foot of snow in late November. There was minimal snow in the first half of December. The week before Christmas there was 2-3 feet of snow in northern New England, the Laurentians and the Quebec City area, topped by 5+ feet at Le Massif. Christmas week snowfall of 2-4 feet finally opened most terrain. Surface conditions remained excellent for the first 1/3 of January with 1-2 feet new. A mid-January warmup and some rain cut back trail counts. For the rest of January they improved only slighly with very erratic weather despite 1-2 feet of snow. Early February snow was 2+ feet in most of New England with 3+ in northern Vermont. Second half of February skiing was good with 2-4 feet of snow. March was very good with 4-6 feet of snow, with only occasional dips in trail counts during warm spells. There was up to a foot in April but trail counts dropped with warmer weather. A few areas were open into May with Killington into the last weekend.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Jay

21

74

46.5

85.5

69.5

12.5

288

88%

Killington

9.5

60.5

31.5

57

42.5

7

208

84%

Cannon Mt.

12

47

26

58

48

12

205

129%

Sugarloaf

6

59

10.5

57

33.5

16

182

104%

Le Massif

9

81.9

37.4

54.7

44.1

4.7

231.8

99%

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