The following major weather patterns affected the ski season.
Late October / early November: Much of Colorado had record early snow through mid-November, with the peak concentration in Vail and Summit County. Southwest snowfall was high, but only Wolf Creek attained secure coverage. Other regions were much drier than normal, particularly the Northwest and western Canada.
Late November through early December Widespread drought throughout the West. The early season was delayed except for the Colorado areas favored earlier.
Mid-to-late December Major storms hit the west coast. The Sierra received at least 10 feet of snow and had the best holiday conditions. The Northwest had major storms, but with significant rain at lower elevation. Only the Tetons of interior regions had normal snowfall, so Utah and the Northern Rockies had subpar coverage, and Colorado's November snow was getting old.
January: This may have been the driest western January since 1977. Most areas received half or less normal snowfall and only the Tetons had normal snow and decent powder days. California and some of Colorado held up well with coverage from earlier storms, but the Northwest, Canada and Utah were hurting most of the month.
Early February: The January drought continued for most regions, but there were big dumps in Utah and Montana to bring the first good ski conditions of the season to those regions.
Late February through March: Finally the weather turned favorable with widespread dumps throught most of the West. The Northwest and Canada had their best conditions of the season through this time. Only California was dry in this period, with spring conditions on the base established in December. Everywhere else had above average snow, with the greatest excesses in Colorado, particularly along the Continental Divide.
Spring: Winter continued full force into April, with record snowfall in the Sierra and above average in other regions.
For more detail on snow incidence by month and region, see 2002-03 Ski Season Analysis.
|2002-03 SKI SEASON SNOWFALL SUMMARY|
|RECORD HIGH (10 Years Minimum)||RECORD HIGH (10 Years Minimum)|
|Copper Mtn, Colo. 11,000||387|
|Loveland, Colo. 11,200||475||Monarch, Colo.||245||Dec.-Mar.|
|Snowshoe, W. V. 4,848||215||Whitewater, B. C. 5,500||410||Dec.-Mar.|
|Arapahoe Basin, Colo. 10,820||403|
|Okemo, Vt. 3,300||244|
|ABOVE AVERAGE||ABOVE AVERAGE|
|Central Sierra Snow Lab - Boreal, Cal. 7,200||399||Tod Mt. (Sun Peaks), B. C. 6,100||150||Dec.-Mar.|
|Killington, Vt. 4,142||282||Steamboat, Colo. 9,200||246||Dec.-Mar.|
|Mammoth Mtn, Calif. 9,600 or 8,900||361||Telluride, Colo. 11,170||181||Dec.-Mar.|
|Berthoud Pass, Colo. 11,315||357|
|Mt. Bachelor, Ore. 6,350||367|
|Kirkwood (Carson Pass), Calif. 8,526||480|
|Mary Jane at Winter Park, Colo. 10,800||407|
|Grand Targhee, Wyo. 8,200||522|
|Whistler Roundhouse, B. C. 6,000||474|
|Big Sky, Mont. 8,920||271|
|Vail, Colo. 11,250||397|
|Heavenly Valley, Calif. 10,000||393|
|Heavenly Valley, Calif. 8,400||294|
|Breckenridge, Colo. 11,100||344|
|Sun Valley, Idaho 8,800||193|
|Whiteface (Lake Placid), N. Y. 3,660||162|
|BELOW AVERAGE||BELOW AVERAGE|
|Mt. Rainier Paradise, Wash. 5,420||572||Crested Butte, Colo. 10,150||151||Dec.-Mar.|
|Stowe, Vt. 3,950||209||Wolf Creek, Colo. 10,642||206||Dec.-Mar.|
|Sugarloaf, Maine 3,695||133||Aspen Mtn, Colo. 11,190||157||Dec.-Mar.|
|Jackson Hole, Wyo. 8,250||352||Purgatory, Colo. 10,000||136||Dec.-Mar.|
|Alpine Meadows, Calif. 7,000||360||Beaver Creek, Colo. 11,200||217||Dec.-Mar.|
|Sunshine Village, Alb. 7,028||201||Schweitzer, Idaho||170||Dec.-Mar.|
|Taos, N. Mex. 11,200||255||Keystone, Colo. 11,641||151||Dec.-Mar.|
|Southern California Composite 7,000 - 8,000||75||Snowmass, Colo. 11,000||180||Dec.-Mar.|
|Gothic, Colo. 9,400||278|
|Sugarbush, Vt. 3,000||222|
|Fernie Snow Valley, B. C. 5,400||310|
|Mt. Hood Meadows, Ore. 5,400||350|
|Stratton, Vt. 3,875||181|
|Mt. Baker, Wash. 4,300||586|
|Arizona Snowbowl 2, Ariz. 10,800||211|
|Squaw Valley, Calif. 6,200||185|
|Brian Head, Utah 9,770||272|
|Arizona Snowbowl 1, Ariz. 9,500||129|
|Smuggler's Notch, Vt. 1,600||277|
|Squaw Valley, Calif. 8,000||394|
|Waterville Valley, N. H. 3,000||133|
|Bridger Bowl, Mont. 7,100||285|
|Big Mountain, Mont. 6,700||275|
|Northstar, Calif. 7,800||225|
|Mt. Washington, N. H. 6,262||243|
|Alta, Utah 8,650||400|
|Mt. Fidelity (Selkirks), B. C. 6,150||397|
|Whistler Base, B. C. 2,200||104|
|Brighton, Utah 8,740||279|
|Snowbird, Utah 10,000||292|
|Jay Peak, Vt. 3,000||268|
|Alyeska, Alaska 1,400||365|
|Big White, B. C. 6,200||214|
|Stevens Pass, Wash. 4,061||348|
|Park City 1, Utah 7,140||74|
|Deer Valley, Utah 8,200||206|
|RECORD LOW (10 Years Minimum)||RECORD LOW (10 Years Minimum)|