2013-14 Ski Season Analysis as of June 16, 2014

2013-14 was an exceptionally poor season in California, probably exceeding only 1976-77. The Pacific Northwest had a poor early season that depressed skier visits but a strong second half that brought season snow totals close to normal. Utah and Idaho and the far Southwest were below average but other regions in the Rockies were average or better. Despite below average snowfall Eastern skiing was qualitatively above average due to much colder than normal temperatures. Comprehensive snow statistics are shown in the 2013-14 Ski Season Summary.

Prior Progress Reports
October 30, 2013
November 20-22, 2013
November 30, 2013
December 7, 2013
December 14, 2013
December 22, 2013
December 31, 2013
January 15, 2014
January 30, 2014
February 14, 2014
February 28, 2014
March 16, 2014
March 31, 2014
April 13, 2014

There was a widespread western storm at the start of October, but that snow did not stick. Snow from a late October storm of 1+ foot in some of the West probably persists in well preserved locations or those with good November snow. November snowfall was below average in the western coastal regions but well above average at many areas in the Rockies. Most western areas got 1-2 feet in early December, but the middle weeks were more erratic. The western coastal regions continued to be shortchanged through the holidays, when storms flowed through Canada, Montana and northern Colorado. During the second week of January the storm track moved far enough south to bring the first big dumps to the Pacific Northwest, continuing on to the Northern Rockies, Utah and most of Colorado. The ensuing 2 weeks were dry over the entire West. Late January through mid-February saw major storms concentrated on a track from Oregon through the Tetons, Utah and Colorado, with moderate snows in other regions. Later in February through early March the track shifted slightly north, hitting the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies hardest, though other regions still got some snow. Late March was average or better for snow everywhere except the extreme Southwest. Early April was somewhat like the start of the season, some snow in the Rockies, but mostly warm and dry along the West Coast. There was widespread snow of 2+ feet in late April. Snow totals exclude October for most areas, though for some whose online reporting starts at area opening it's not possible to separate it out.

California: Minimal snow was left from 2 October storms after the first 3 dry weeks in November. There was less than one foot of snow in late November, about a foot in early December, 1+ foot of light snow mid-month and a few inches before Christmas. The drought continued 4 more weeks until 1+ foot of snow fell at the end of January. During the first week of February 5 feet fell on the Sierra Crest at Tahoe, with about 3 feet east of the crest and farther south at Mammoth.There was substantial rain at low elevation: Squaw got 63 inches up high but only 10 at its base. With an ensuing warmup Kirkwood was the only area with terrain close to fully open from this storm. The next storm at the beginning of March dropped 4+ feet above 8,000 feet on the Sierra Crest, with lesser amounts farther east and some low elevation rain. Two plus warm weeks melted out much terrain under 7,500 feet. But after 3 late March/early April storms totalling 3-4 feet skiing above 8,000 feet was probably the best of the season. It warmed again for 2+ weeks and most Tahoe areas closed by Easter with no further new snow. There was a 2 foot storm over the final weekend of April. Mammoth persisted to Memorial Day, with open terrain similar to 2 years ago. Overall this has been the second lowest snowfall season on record to 1976-77 for California ski areas. 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

Alpine Meadows

4.5

28

12.5

50.5

51.5

46

193

52%

Northstar

3.5

20

14

48

30

27

142.5

46%

Heavenly 8,400

8

23

16

61

23

8

139

55%

Mammoth

12.5

18

13.5

52.5

45

41.5

183

51%

Southern Cal

7

5

0

4

9

4

29

23%

Pacific Northwest: The early storm caused Crystal and Stevens to open for one day each in early October. November snowfall was below average and there was about 2 feet in early December. There was average only a foot the rest of the month, so the region had a poor holiday season. A solid base was finally established with 4+ feet during the second week of January, though surfaces were variable with a fluctuating rain/snow line. Early February storms dumped 7 feet in Oregon, 5 feet in Washington but less than 3 feet at Whistler. Later February and early March storms dumped 10 feet at Whistler and in Washington and 7 feet in Oregon. There were 3-4 feet more snow in March, but conditions varied with fluctuating snow levels. April base depths were 7-12 feet with average snowfall at higher elevations, and the late spring season extended well into May at several areas.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Alyeska

36

49

68

51

74

14

292

56%

Whistler Alpine

44

29

48

94

106

35

356

85%

Crystal Mt.

45

31

39

115

78

46

475

89%

Mt. Hood

18

19

65.5

146

96

37

381.5

84%

Mt. Bachelor

34

30

47

139

92

58

400

104%

Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: November snow was well above average in most of this region. The Okanagan and Kootenay areas had over 4 feet in December and most had excellent holiday skiing. Base depths are 6+ feet at the upper elevations at Revelstoke, Fernie and Whitewater. Silver Star and Sun Peaks were 90+% open by mid-December. Farther east was sketchier through most of December, with bases 3 feet or less, but conditions improved with 2+ feet of snow in late December. Most areas got 4 feet of snow in the first half of January, but only a few inches during the second half. There was 1-2 feet in early February as the major storm track was farther south. Late February snowfall was 1.5 to 3+ feet. Most areas got 3-4 feet during the first week of March though as in the Northwest it ended with some low elevation rain and spring conditions. Later March snowfall was heaviest at 3+ feet near the US border and in the Banff region. Overall March snowfall was outstanding for the region. Many areas closed in early April due to remote location not lack of snow. April snowfall was average for the areas near Calgary that stayed open. Mt. Fidelity is in a national park near Rogers' Pass and gets snowfall comparable to remote snowcat/heli lodges in the Selkirk and Monashee mountains.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Big White

40

52

49

29

60

45

275

100%

Mt. Fidelity

89

110

86

93

124

50

552

114%

Fernie

90

54

48

68

137

4

401

106%

Lake Louise

39

38

44

27

81

39

268

161%

Sunshine

55

50

53

48

94

28

328

129%

U. S. Northern Rockies:Targhee opened 3/4 of terrain the weekend before Thanksgiving and Whitefish shared the early storms in Canada. Elsewhere in the region November was about average. December snow ranged from 6 feet in much of Montana to only 2.5 feet at most Idaho areas. Base depths were 5 feet at Whitefish, Bridger and Targhee for the best holiday skiing. First half of January snow was 4 feet in Montana and Wyoming and 3 feet in Idaho. Second half of January snow was less than a foot. The early February storms dumped 5+ feet in the Tetons and 3+ feet in central Idaho but less than 2 feet elsewhere in the region. The later February/early March storm track dumped another 10 feet in the Tetons and 4-7 feet elsewhere in the region. Late March snowfall was 4 feet in Wyoming and Montana and about 2 feet in Idaho. There was up to a foot of snow in early April but most areas closed by mid-April due to remote location. The season overall was unusual in being consitently well above average in Montana and consistently below average in Idaho.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Schweitzer

40

34

39

57

45

16

231

81%

Whitefish

56

72

47

45

95

10

325

99%

Bridger Bowl

53

71

59

72

87

48

390

129%

Jackson Hole

40

54

68

117

93

30

402

109%

Sun Valley

25

12.5

17

60

33.5

9

157

81%

Utah: The Wasatch got the early October storm but it melted out. November snowfall was half of normal, and first half of December storms were 2-3 feet. A mid-December storm of almost 2 feet brought Cottonwood Canyon base depths close to 4 feet. Advanced skiing was limited elsewhere during the holidays with base depths no more than 3 feet. Conditions greatly improved with 3-4 feet during the first half of January. After a dry 2 weeks there was a foot at the end of January and 4-5 feet in the first half of February. 1-2+ feet fell in the second half of February and average 3 feet in the first half of March. Late March snowfall was 3+ feet in the Cottonwood Canyons and 2 feet elsewhere. April snowfall was below average but there was a good spring corn season in the Cottonwood Canyons. Brian Head was far enogh southwest to have its lowest snowfall in 23 years of measurement.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Alta

52.5

56.5

63.5

96.5

78.5

51.5

408

76%

Snowbird

17

57.5

45.5

62

59

43

282

61%

Park City Summit House

17

42

38

65

55

33

250

86%

Snowbasin

27

60

38

69

53

29

276

88%

Brian Head

10

30

11

33

39

29

152

47%

Northern and Central Colorado: A-Basin and Loveland opened their first snowmaking runs on October 13 and 14. Early snowfall was above average and December slightly below average. Steamboat and Winter Park had most terrain open in mid-December, while most other areas passed the half open mark just before Christmas. A-Basin is 100% open since Mid-February. Most base depths were in the 4+ foot range after an excellent first half of January with 3-5 feet of snow. There was up to a foot during the second half of January and over 5 feet of snow from late January into mid-February. There was 1-2 feet in late February. There were 4-6 feet in March, with areas nearest the Continental Divide getting the most snow. Spring snowfall has been consistent and above average, so several areas were open last weekend of April and A-Basin has been open June weekends. Some areas reported snow totals including early October snow that I exclude below.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Steamboat

55.5

60.3

79.2

60

46

26

327

86%

Vail

36

42

92

60

60

46

336

93%

Copper Mt.

38

35

94

66

58

51

342

122%

Loveland

40

37

89

83

87

83

419

120%

Winter Park

45

58.5

85.5

76

61.5

49

375.5

107%

Southern and Western Colorado: Early October snow melted out, but late October snow was built upon in November. A strong southern storm came through during the week before Thanksgiving, followed by another 2 feet in early December and up to a foot mid-December, so base depths were well above average at 3.5 feet, and 5.5 feet at Wolf Creek. Taos had its best opening since 1996-97, but had only 8 inches in next 6 weeks with other southern areas getting only somewhat more. Aspen and Crested Butte fared better, with 3 feet of snow during the first half of January. The late January to mid-February storms dumped 7 feet at Wolf Creek, 6 feet at Crested Butte, 4-5 feet elsewhere in Colorado and 3 feet at Taos. About 1.5 feet fell in the second half of February except only 6 inches at Taos. The region got 2+ feet of snow in the first half of March. Late March snowfall was 3-4 feet in the north but only 1-2 feet in the south. 1-2 fell in early April but most of these areas closed due to remote location.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Aspen Highlands

58

38

55

50

68

44

313

125%

Gothic Snow Lab

55

47

67.5

95

71.5

50

386

106%

Wolf Creek

105

56

27

83

52

28

351

90%

Taos

73

28

6

39

32

31

209

80%

Northeast: Killington and Sunday River opened at the end of October on snowmaking. November and early December were above average for snowmaking though mostly below average for snowfall. There were 2-3 feet of snow mid-December but it rained at least to the Canadian border the weekend before Christmas. The holiday week was been cold with up to a foot of snow, with another foot in early January. Trail counts were then reduced by a severe rain/freeze. Conditions improved during the second half of January with 1-2 feet of snow and consistent cold temperatures, and were the best of the season after 3 feet of snow in the first half of February. There was up to 2 feet of snow in the second half of February but also a warmup and some variable surfaces. There were 4-6 feet of snow in March with occasional rain episodes, but conditions were excellent most of the month. Spring was above average with more terrain than usual open though little new snow in April.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Jay

40

54

42.5

53.5

73

10

273

83%

Killington

21

36

29

60

42

7

195

79%

Cannon Mt.

2

40

33

55

46

7

183

114%

Sugarloaf

1

34

12

41

46

16

150

86%

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