The 2003-04 ski season had a promising start over most of the West in November, led by Utah with about double normal snowfall. Early December western storms were confined to the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies, topped by over 3 feet at Whistler. Last week's storms were more widespread, and many resorts will be at or close to full operation for Christmas.
California: From Halloween through mid-November there were several small storms totalling 3-4 feet. After nearly 3 dry weeks there have been larger storms totalling 3-6 feet over the past 10 days. Mammoth is 75% open with 109 inches snowfall, 143% of normal. Squaw has had 102 inches snowfall, 109% of normal, and it and most other Tahoe areas are 40-60% open. Expect more terrain to open after the current storm clears. Current base depths range from 2-7 feet. See Current California Ski Conditions for more details on Southern California and Mammoth.
RSN December Snow: Northstar 36, Sierra-at-Tahoe 36.
Pacific Northwest: There was little snow for the first half of November, but this region was pounded over the next 3 weeks, with some rain mix at low elevation. Whistler has had 120 inches season snow, 114% of normal, and is 60% open. Washington and Oregon have had comparable snow, and most areas have been in majority to full operation since Thanksgiving. Base depths range from 40-67 inches, topped by Mt. Baker's 80-92 inch base.
RSN December Snow: Mt. Bachelor 42.
Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: Lake Louise is 85% open, with season total snow of 78 inches, 126% of normal. Sunshine is also 80% open. Big White is 43% open, Sun Peaks 80% and Silver Star 100%. Fernie has had 107 inches snow, 106% of normal, and is 91% open. Red opened most terrain this weekend and Whitewater last weeknd.
RSN December Snow: Red Mt. 13, Sunshine 20.
U. S. Northern Rockies: Targhee is 100% open on a 37-55 inch base and 132 inches snowfall, 124% of normal, and Jackson has had its best opening weekend in 7 years, now in full operation on 134 inches of snowfall, 140% of normal, and a 54-59 inch base. There have been 96 inches snow, 121% of normal, at Big Mountain, which is 94% open, and Schweitzer is 90% open. Sun Valley is 40% open on mostly snowmaking, with only 35 inches natural, 74% of normal. Big Sky is now 56% open, with mostly intermediate runs.
RSN December Snow: Big Sky 38, Schweitzer 14.
Utah: Alta has had 171 inches snowfall, 142% of normal, and is 100% open on a 50 inch base. Only the most extreme terrain in the 4 Cottonwood Canyon areas is not open. A significant sign of the strong start to Utah's season was that Park City and the Canyons were about 2/3 open for Thanksgiving, including the advanced runs in Jupiter Bowl and 9,990. Utah had 1-2 feet of snow last week. Snowbasin has had 109 inches, 148% of normal, and is 75% open.
RSN December Snow: The Canyons 23.
Northern and Central Colorado: Snowfall was slightly above average in November at most areas. Steamboat extended its lead last week, now with 111 inches snowfall, 120% of normal, and 60% of terrain open. Winter Park has had 97 inches, 105% of normal, and is 56% open. Vail is 42% open on 81 inches snowfall, 88% of normal, Copper 34% on 81 inches, 131% of normal, and Breckenridge 27% open on 60 inches, 94% of normal. Advanced terrain is very limited except at Steamboat and Winter Park, with some more of Vail's back bowls scheduled to open this coming week. Last week's snowfall was 1-3 feet..
RSN December Snow: Copper 13, Loveland 16, Keystone 10.
Southern and Western Colorado: Wolf Creek was once again North America's early season leader. It reached full operation Nov. 15 and currently has a 58-63 inch base with 129 inches total snowfall, 164% of normal. The rest of the region has had average (south) to above average (north) snowfall topped by 82 inches at the Aspen areas, 149% of normal, which are 70% open. Durango is 52% open on 68.5 inches snowfall, 115% of normal, Telluride is 36% open, Crested Butte 15% and Taos 28%. Advanced terrain at the latter areas will be limited for the holidays unless December snowfall is substantial.
RSN December Snow:Telluride 18, Crested Butte 14, Taos 22.
Northeast: With a warm late October and change in Killington's early season strategy, no Eastern area opened before November 9. With ongoing rain and warm weather even the snownaking leaders were no more than 10-15% open at the end of November. This changed dramatically the first weekend of December, with a 3-4 foot dump comparable to the epic storms of 2001. A few days later most of this light powder was wiped out by thaw and rain. More snow is predicted soon. Stowe's season snowfall is now 96 inches, 141% of normal, but it is only 35% open pending today's storm. Other percents of area open: Mt. Ste. Anne 25%, Mt. Tremblant 34%, Sunday River 27%, Sugarloaf 68%, Jay 15%, Killington 29%, Okemo 49%, Hunter 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.
RSN December Snow: Jay 56, Killington 52, Okemo 45, Stratton 46, Sugarloaf 77, Mt. Ste. Anne 11, Mt. Tremblant 10.
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