2010-11 Ski Season Progress Report as of January 16, 2011

October snowfall was above average, with a widespread storm through the Northwest and much of the Rockies during its last week. Snow from this storm is included in season totals for many areas as it contributed to the strong early season conditions and to some areas advancing their opening dates. Mid-November snow was abundant in Utah's Cottonwood Canyons and Front Range Colorado and followed up by a major storm in the Sierra that also pushed into the Rockies. Since I began keeping detailed records 14 years ago only 1996-97 had as many areas with Thanksgiving conditions this good. Snowfall from Thanksgiving into mid-December was primarily in the Pacific Northwest and U.S. Northern Rockies but also in northern Utah and Colorado. During the 3rd week of December an exceptionally powerful storm pounded California for the whole week and moved on to Utah and much of Colorado. Christmas week snowfall was highest in the Pacific Northwest but all regions had some new snow. Overall this was the best holiday ski season since 1996-97 with just a very few areas in limited operation. During the first half of January the storm track has been primarily in the Northwest and western Canada, with average snow in the northern US Rockies but much drier than usual farther south. But most areas retain deep bases from the strong early season.

California: October's snow was just a few inches, not material to the season. After about a foot in early November the Sierra had a 4 day storm in mid-November of 5-10 feet and another foot over Thanksgiving weekend. Base depths were in the 3-6 foot range because that storm had drier than normal snow, and more snow is needed for some expert terrain. There have been some December storms but with occasional rain as high as 9,000 feet. The 3rd week of December storm dropped 5-7 feet of snow at Tahoe areas and over 10 feet at Mammoth. Sierra areas are fully open for the holidays with base depths of 5-12+ feet and have had 2 more storms totalling 2-3 feet during Christmas week. Farther south it rained for 4 days in Southern California with 1-3 feet of snow at the end of the big storm. Arizona Snowbowl opened Christmas Day and had 8 feet of snow in the second half of December. There has been no more than a foot of snow during the first half of January. Low elevations and sunny exposures have melt/freeze conditions. See Current California Ski Conditions for more details on Southern California and Mammoth.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Squaw 8,000

287

157%

100%

Northstar

229

185%

100%

Mt. Rose

226

163%

95%

Kirkwood

339

175%

100%

Mammoth

307.5

213%

100%

Southern Cal

51

122%

60-100%

Arizona Snowbowl

119

124%

100%

Pacific Northwest: Before Thanksgiving Oregon got off to a strong start while Washington State and Whistler were slightly above average. From Thanksgiving to mid-December there was 5-7 feet of snow throughout the region with fluctuating temps but ending with all snow. Mt. Baker and Hood Meadows have been 90% open since Dec. 1. The Whistler alpine opened Dec. 4. Northwest areas were in full operation for the holidays on 5-8 foot bases. There was 3+ feet of snow during the holiday week and 5 feet at Whistler and Mt. Bachelor. During the first half of January there has been 5 feet at Whistler, 3 feet in Washington and up to 2 feet in Oregon. The most recent storm rained through at least mid elevations but more snow is expected to restore surfaces.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Whistler

306

153%

100%

Crystal Mt.

226

122%

100%

Stevens Pass

195

88%

100%

Mt. Bachelor

290

163%

100%

Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: November snowfall was high along the U.S. border but only about average farther north. This trend continued into early December, with Fernie being the standout area of the early season. Most western Canadian ski areas had 3-4 feet of snow in December and holiday base depths in the 4 foot range. Silver Star and Sun Peaks reached full operation just before Christmas and Big White shortly after New Years. The Banff areas had less than 3 feet of December snow with base depths of 3 feet, so some advanced terrain did not open until they got 3-4 feet recently. The past week has been snowy throughout the region, though the recent Northwest storm brought some low elevation rain.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Lake Louise

90

120%

83%

Sunshine

107

94%

91%

Revelstoke

153

80%

100%

Kicking Horse

153

119%

83%

Whitewater

199

85%

100%

Red Mt.

150

115%

100%

Fernie

200

117%

100%

Castle Mt.

139

109%

95%

U. S. Northern Rockies: The Tetons had 39 inches in October and were also hit by the mid- November storms, so Jackson opened early on November 27. With 3 feet of snow since Thanksgiving Jackson and Targhee had the most snow on record for early December. Then there was some rain up to 8,000 feet but there was 4-5 feet of snow by Christmas throughout the region, continuing the strong start. Big Sky was 100% open by Christmas. Holiday base depths were 6+ feet in the Tetons and 4-5 feet elsewhere. There was 1+ foot of snow Christmas week, topped by 3 feet at Brundage. So far January snowfall has ranged from 2 to 4 feet with some low elevation rain during the recent Northwest storm.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Whitefish

167

111%

100%

Bridger

136

104%

100%

Grand Targhee

264

122%

100%

Jackson Hole

245

138%

100%

Schweitzer

166

129%

100%

Brundage

163

111%

100%

Sun Valley

106.5

116%

100%

Utah: There was new snow 5 of the 6 weeks since late October in the Cottonwood Canyons, leading to majority of terrain open by Thanksgiving. The storm from California the 3rd week of December raised the snow level as high as 8,000 feet but still dumped 6 feet in the Cottonwood Canyons and 4-5 feet elsewhere. Holiday base depths are 9+ feet in the Cottonwood Canyons and 6-8 feet elsewhere after another 2-3 feet Christmas week. There has been no more than a foot of snow during the first half of January.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Alta

275

123%

100%

Snowbird

272

143%

100%

Brighton/Solitude

284

134%

100%

Park City

196

151%

98%

Snowbasin

168

128%

100%

Brian Head

177

133%

100%

Northern and Central Colorado: This region got off to a great start with snow every week since late October. Loveland and A-Basin opened their first snowmaking runs about a week later than usual but were helped by the late October storm. Most areas were over half open at Thanksgiving, the highest percents open in the 22 years of data I have for Breckenridge and Copper and 2nd highest for Vail. The other areas are all at least in the top quarter of early seasons. Vail opened Blue Sky Basin Dec. 4 and most areas are 80+% open now. The 3rd week of December storm added an average of 3 feet throughout the region and holiday base depths were 4-5 feet. Average one foot new snow Christmas week. January snowfall has averaged 2+ feet throughout the region.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Beaver Creek

161

111%

100%

Breckenridge

233

185%

100%

Copper Mt.

185

151%

100%

Loveland

200

142%

95%

Steamboat

215

130%

100%

Vail

218

138%

100%

Winter Park

151

97%

92%


Southern and Western Colorado: Early season snowfall was close to average along the western part of I-70 but somewhat below average in southern Colorado. Wolf Creek was fully open early but its mid-December base of 2 feet was less than half normal for that time. But the 3rd week of December storm was huge at many of these areas: 94 inches at Gothic, 93 at Wolf Creek, 69 at Purgatory and 56 at Crested Butte. 60% of Crested Butte's extreme terrain opened gradually duing Christmas week and over 80% of it is open now. Aspen and Telluride got about 4 feet during the second half of December. Taos missed most of the big storm, then had 3 feet Christmas week but was only 34% open at New Years. Taos reports 80% open now, but steeps must be sketchy on a 37-inch base. New Mexico remains the only part of the West conspicuously low on snow this season. Average January snowfall so far is 1.5 feet throughout this region.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Gothic Snow Lab

249

168%

N/A

Crested Butte

162

158%

93%

Telluride

119

108%

98%

Wolf Creek

227

147%

100%

Northeast: There was natural snow in mid-October, 25 inches at Stowe and 16 at Killington. November was warmer than normal in the Northeast with very little new snow, so snowmaking leaders Sunday River and Killington were 13% open at Thanksgiving but other Northeast areas open were under 10%. Conditions slowly improved with 2-3 feet new snow in early December. After rain on Dec. 13 it remained mostly cold with 2+ feet more snow so more terrain opened by Christmas with good surfaces. As usual the big Christmas storm along the East Coast only brought modest snows to upper New England. Up to 3+ feet snow during the second week of January has finally brought many New England areas close to full operation. Eastern Canada is continuing a poor season so far. Current percents open: Sunday River 80%, Sugarloaf 75%, Okemo 97%, Stratton 96%, Whiteface 86%, Hunter 95%, Tremblant 66%, Ste. Anne 58%. I strongly recommend checking First Tracks Online Ski Magazine No-Bull Ski Reports for up to date information in this region, where both weather and surface conditions can change so rapidly.

Area

Season Snow

Pct. of Normal

Pct. of Area Open

Jay Peak (mid)

137

96%

92%

Stowe (Mansfield Stake)

82

78%

90%

Sugarbush

131

114%

100%

Killington

101

92%

89%

Cannon Mt.

126

194%

93%

Le Massif

93

85%

71%

Directory of Ski Report Links

All content herein copyright 1996-2010 Bestsnow.net
All Rights Reserved.
No copies or reproductions may be made in whole or in part without express permission by Tony Crocker.
Prices for commercial users will be determined based upon intended use and distribution.