The following major weather patterns affected the ski season.
October / early November: Natural snow skiing got an unusually early start at Big Sky with a localized storm in early October. More widespread storms came in late October but were of sufficient intensity to establish a base for skiing only at the snow magnets of Wolf Creek and Alta/Snowbird. Wolf Creek had 7 feet in less than 2 weeks while Alta/Snowbird had a comparable amount but spread out over a month. This storm sequence started in the Sierra, but at a maximum total of 3 feet the base was marginal and was lost over the next 2 dry months.
Mid-November to mid-December had steady ongoing snow in Utah and northern and central Colorado. These were the only western regions with good conditions for the holidays, but no individual storms of more than 2 feet. Areas farther north had suffered drought in November but high snow areas (Whistler, Bachelor, Targhee, Jackson) got enough new snow in December to open most terrain for Christmas.
The Holiday Season: 1977 Revisited? The entire West was dry while the Midwest and East were pounded with snow. Vermont skiers enjoyed epic powder while drought continued to grip the legendary stashes of interior Canada.
January: There were 2 unusual storms the 2nd and 4th weeks, very cold and low in water content even when they got started in Northern California. These storms then moved southeast, continuing through Arizona, New Mexico and southern Colorado and Utah and finally funneled into Wolf Creek, which led the West in base by the end of the month. The Utah Wasatch and I-70 corridor of Colorado were mostly bypassed by these storms. A weaker northern storm track maintained Whistler and opened more terrain in the Okanagan, but elsewhere in western Canada conditions remained grim and conditions deteriorated in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies.
February: California had the most new snow, 6-12 feet in the month, with Southern California getting nearly as much as the Sierra. Snowfall was normal in the rest of the western U.S., but western Canada was dry again. Whistler went to an early spring and interior snow depths were the lowest in 50 years in some locations. New England skiing remained excellent with a major dump in early February.
March: March 2001 skiing was all about New England, with the entire region getting at least 7 feet of snow, the highest single snow month in my records for nearly all areas. By contrast only Colorado had a normal month in the West, with other regions being much drier. Canada had more snow than in February but was still below average.
April: The East moved abruptly from winter to summer while the West finally had a widespread snowy month. Utah had the most snow but all western regions were above average. Some of the record drought areas of western Canada finally had a week or two of decent coverage.
For more detail on snow incidence by month and region, see 2000-01 Ski Season Analysis.
|2000-01 SKI SEASON SNOWFALL SUMMARY|
|RECORD HIGH (10 Years Minimum)||RECORD HIGH (10 Years Minimum)|
|Jay Peak, Vt. 3,000||581|
|Smuggler's Notch, Vt. 1,600||434|
|Waterville Valley, N. H. 3,000||211|
|Whiteface (Lake Placid), N. Y. 3,660||213|
|Killington, Vt. 4,142||315||Breckenridge, Colo. 11,100||254||Dec.-Mar.|
|Stowe, Vt. 3,950||297|
|Sugarloaf, Maine 3,695||229|
|Southern California Composite 7,000 - 8,000||210|
|Loon, N. H. 2,000||209|
|ABOVE AVERAGE||ABOVE AVERAGE|
|Mammoth Mtn, Calif. 9,600 or 8,900||407||Crested Butte, Colo. 10,150||174||Dec.-Mar.|
|Taos, N. Mex. 11,200||312||Copper Mtn, Colo. 11,000||228||Dec.-Mar.|
|Loveland, Colo. 11,200||379||Monarch, Colo.||201||Dec.-Mar.|
|Alyeska, Alaska 1,400||638||Wolf Creek, Colo. 10,642||292||Dec.-Mar.|
|Snowshoe, W. V. 4,848||176||Telluride, Colo. 11,170||185||Dec.-Mar.|
|Sugarbush, Vt. 3,000||309||Purgatory, Colo. 10,000||193||Dec.-Mar.|
|Stratton, Vt. 3,875||225||Keystone, Colo. 11,641||169||Dec.-Mar.|
|Okemo, Vt. 3,300||203|
|Arizona Snowbowl 1, Ariz. 9,500||224|
|Arizona Snowbowl 2, Ariz. 10,800||292|
|Vail, Colo. 11,250||370|
|BELOW AVERAGE||BELOW AVERAGE|
|Central Sierra Snow Lab - Boreal, Cal. 7,200||307||Steamboat, Colo. 9,200||202||Dec.-Mar.|
|Mt. Washington, N. H. 6,262||292||Beaver Creek, Colo. 11,200||205||Dec.-Mar.|
|Berthoud Pass, Colo. 11,315||272||Sunlight, Colo.||154||Dec.-Mar.|
|Alta, Utah 8,650||485||Snowmass, Colo. 11,000||139||Dec.-Mar.|
|Alpine Meadows, Calif. 7,000||337|
|Brighton, Utah 8,740||359|
|Snowbird, Utah 10,000||451|
|Kirkwood (Carson Pass), Calif. 8,526||419|
|Mary Jane at Winter Park, Colo. 10,800||359|
|Gothic, Colo. 9,400||307|
|Grand Targhee, Wyo. 8,200||415|
|Arapahoe Basin, Colo. 10,820||261|
|Squaw Valley, Calif. 6,200||210|
|Red Mt. Pass, Colo. 11,090||258|
|Brian Head, Utah 9,770||343|
|Sugar Bowl, Calif. 7,000||389|
|Heavenly Valley, Calif. 10,000||292|
|Heavenly Valley, Calif. 8,400||181|
|Squaw Valley, Calif. 8,000||315|
|Northstar, Calif. 7,800||193|
|Mt. Rainier Paradise, Wash. 5,420||438||Aspen Mtn, Colo. 11,190||129||Dec.-Mar.|
|Jackson Hole, Wyo. 8,250||282|
|Mt. Fidelity (Selkirks), B. C. 6,150||346|
|Whistler Base, B. C. 2,200||108|
|Mt. Bachelor, Ore. 6,350||155|
|Whistler Roundhouse, B. C. 6,000||289|
|Big White, B. C. 6,200||225|
|Mt. Baker, Wash. 4,300||410|
|Stevens Pass, Wash. 4,061||304|
|Sun Valley, Idaho 8,800||106|
|Tod Mt. (Sun Peaks), B. C. 6,100||124|
|Big Mountain, Mont. 6,700||233|
|RECORD LOW (10 Years Minimum)||RECORD LOW (10 Years Minimum)|
|Sunshine Village, Alb. 7,028||154||Schweitzer, Idaho||90||Dec.-Mar.|
|Mt. Hood Meadows, Ore. 5,400||215|
|Fernie Snow Valley, B. C. 5,400||179|