1998-99 Ski Season Progress Report as of January 27, 1999

In early January major storms the Northern Rockies and also relieved some of the previously drought-stricken areas of Colorado and the Northeast. California and Utah were getting scratchy by January 15, but have been pounded with 5-10 feet of snow since then. I regularly report season-to-date snowfall from a handful of areas. Since January 13, I receive occasional e-mail covering many more.

California: The Sierra has received 6-12 feet of new snow since January 15. There are no coverage or surface problems anywhere in the Sierra now with base depths of 7-14 feet.
Season snow: Alpine Meadows, 202 inches, 120% of normal; Mammoth, 195 inches, 112% of normal.
See Current California Ski Conditions for more details on Southern California and Mammoth.

Pacific Northwest: This region got 3+ feet of new snow over MLK weekend over deep bases of 6-14 feet.
Season snow: Mt. Baker, 426 inches, 131% of normal; Crystal, 272 inches, 139% of normal; Mt. Bachelor 278 inches, 145% of normal.
Whistler has received less snow than Washington and Oregon, but is in full operation on a 9 foot base in the alpine. Check Northwest Ski Reports for current surface conditions and the numerous December powder days.

Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: There has been continuing snow in January. Okanagan conditions are outstanding with near record bases of 6-9 feet. The Kootenay and Banff areas are also enjoying an excellent season with above average depths and mostly packed powder surfaces.

U. S. Northern Rockies: Idaho areas like Schweitzer are in good shape with bases of 6-10 feet . Sun Valley reports full operation on 3-5 feet. Grand Targhee and Jackson are now in full operation and experiencing their usual January powder days. Montana got the same storms, and Big Sky opened Lone Peak the second week of January. While season snowfall is about average, most of it has come since Christmas. Overall, this region has been excellent since early January.
Season snow: Schweitzer, 215 inches, 149% of normal; Sun Valley, 110 inches, 107% of normal; Jackson, 230 inches, 112% of normal.

Utah: The Cottonwood Canyon areas have base depths of 8-9 feet after 5-7 feet of new snow recently ended an unusually dry month. Alta has had 199 inches, 79% of normal since Nov. 1. The Park City areas are about 90% open with base depths of about 5-7 feet. Snowbasin opened 65% of its terrain January 22.

Northern and Central Colorado: This region had its worst holiday season since 1980-81 but received above normal snow since New Year's. Steamboat has the most and is now in full operation. Winter Park is 80% open, Copper is 80% open and Breckenridge 90%. Vail is now 98% open. Base depths are 4-5 feet and some expert terrain is not yet open due to wind-stripping or snow instability.
Season snow: Steamboat, 195 inches, 104% of normal; Winter Park, 159 inches, 88% of normal; Vail, 133 inches, 73% of normal; Breckenridge, 140 inches, 97% of normal.

Southern and Western Colorado: These areas were average or better through mid-December, but have seen only a little snow since Christmas. Regional leader Wolf Creek is in full operation on a 6 foot base. Purgatory, Telluride and Taos have most runs open on 4-5 foot bases, but there may be a few rocks on the steeper terrain. Snowmass is 70% open and Crested Butte only 40% (worst start since 1989-90), but both areas have had 2-4 feet new since January 15. Opening of expert runs may be slowed by stability issues ensuing from the dry early season
Season snow: Snowmass, 90 inches, 83% of normal; Crested Butte, 104 inches, 95% of normal; Telluride, 127 inches, 113% of normal; Taos, 130 inches, 99% of normal; Wolf Creek, big dumps in October, then 154 inches, 89% of normal since Nov. 1.

Northeast: The first half of January brought the first big storms to New England, with some Vermont areas getting 4 feet or more. Most New England areas reached full operation, including natural snow areas like Mad River Glen. Unfortunately, surfaces are variable and some runs were lost over the past week or so with rain and thaw.
Season snow: Killington, 100 inches, 79% of normal; Stowe, 79 inches, 66% of normal.
November temperatures were above freezing as often as below, and Thanksgiving weekend brought the first significant (6-12 inches) natural snow to the northern areas. Skiing was almost reduced to square one by the warm spell of early December but snowmaking was nearly continuous for the rest of the month. As my report is an overview, I strongly recommend checking Scenes of Vermont Ski Page or New England Ski Guide's Weekend Forecast for up to date information in this region, where both weather and surface conditions can change so rapidly.

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