2021-22 Ski Season Analysis as of May 19, 2022

2021-22 was a second consecutive La Nina season with average or better snowfall in the Pacific Northwest and some of western Canada but below average in other regions. Fortunately December was the big snowfall month, so skiing held up well at most places during the widespread drought of mid-January through mid-February. Late season snowfall was overall close to normal but heaviest in the Northwest.

Prior Progress Reports
October 31, 2021
November 17, 2021
November 24, 2021
November 30, 2021
December 11, 2021
December 18, 2021
December 25, 2021
January 1, 2022
January 15, 2022
January 31, 2022
February 14, 2022
March 1, 2022
March 16, 2022
March 31, 2022
April 9, 2022

October 2021 precipitation was heavy along the West Coast, though mostly with very high rain/snow lines. The Oct. 24-25 storm opened Mammoth and Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley) on Oct. 29. Substantial snow also accumulated in the Whistler alpine. November was unusually warm, plus drier than normal in many regions. The Northwest was stormy but with more rain than snow. Late November storms opened over half the terrain at the Banff areas. Revelstoke and Kicking Horse attained 5+ foot bases, which delivered good December skiing when they opened.

The warm temperatures delayed snowmaking and postponed some scheduled opening dates in the western US. Delayed opening dates are a red flag for early season skiing, particularly since the dry weather continued for a week into December. This situation would often restrict skiing through the holidays, but major storms the rest of the month wiped out all of November's snow deficit in most regions aside from Front Range Colorado and a few other far inland areas in the Rockies. Due to the November weather, October snowfall is not included in season totals other than a few places where October was material to early November open terrain.

The first week of January had major snow in the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies with lesser amounts in adjacent regions. During the second week it rained in the Northwest while the rest of the western US developed widespread high pressure similar to November. The widespread drought persisted for 5 weeks, with nearly all western US areas getting less than half normal snow and some areas getting a foot of snow or less. Surface conditions were good at most areas in cool weather for 4 weeks, but widespread spring conditions emerged during a warm second week of February.

Colder weather and a more normal snowfall pattern emerged during the second half of February, with the heaviest snowfalls being in Washington State and the Southwest. First half of March snowfall was also close to normal with the most in Utah and the Southwest. The second half of March was warmer and drier than normal, with only Colorado averaging over a foot of new snow. Other regions developed majority spring conditions. 2-3 feet of snow fell during the first week of April in the Pacific Northwest but only a few other places got as much as a foot. More intense storms pounded the Northwest for the next two weeks, with moderate snowfalls in adjacent regions. Late April and early May were also slightly cooler and wetter than normal in many regions.

Comprehensive snow statistics are shown in the 2021-22 Ski Season Summary.

California: There were small snowfalls in mid-October. A major atmospheric river dumped several inches of rain up to 10,000 feet before dumping 3+ feet of heavy snow Oct. 24-25. On Oct. 29 Mammoth opened 22% of terrain and Palisades Tahoe 13% but only for 3 days. It was warm in November with 7-11 inches new snow above 8,000 feet and most snow melting out lower down. Only Mammoth remained open while no Tahoe areas preserved or made enough snow to open in November. Limited terrain opened in early December with 6-10 inches snow plus cold temperatures. Then the Sierra got an average 6 feet of snow Dec. 13-16, setting up a good holiday season. Another 3-4 feet fell the week before Christmas and 4-7 feet during the holiday week. Most terrain remained open during the ensuing bone dry 6 weeks. Winter conditions remained only on north facing terrain above 8,000 feet during the second week of February. Second half of February snowfall was 1-2 feet at Tahoe and less than a foot at Mammoth but 3 feet in Arizona. First half of March snowfall in California was less than a foot, but 4 feet fell in Arizona. Only Kirkwood and Arizona had as much as a foot of snow in the second half of March and early April was warm and dry. January - March was the driest on record in the Sierra. Mid-April storms ranged from 3 feet at Mammoth to 7 feet NW of Lake Tahoe. Palisades will close May 30 and Mammoth June 5. See Current California Ski Conditions for more details on Southern California and Mammoth.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr/May

Total

Pct. of Normal

Palisades 8,000

8

211

3

17

19

102

360

86%

Heavenly 10,000

4

146

1

26

14

27

218

57%

Kirkwood

9

185

1

23

24

57

299

65%

Mammoth

40

163

0

5.5

14.5

37.5

260.5

74%

Southern Cal

0

48

0

14

13

0

75

60%

Pacific Northwest: The entire month of October was very wet but the rain/snow line was high. November continued the warm but wet pattern. A solid snowpack of 51 inches accmulated at 6,000 feet at both Whistler and Blackcomb in November, with another 7 feet falling in December. Mt. Baker got 4 feet of snow mid-November but heavy rain reduced its base to 14 inches. No Washington or Oregon areas opened in November. 5-8 feet fell during the two weeks before Christmas, opening much terrain. During the holiday week it snowed 5 feet in Oregon but less than 2 feet farther north. It snowed 5-6 feet during the first week of January, but rained 3/4 of the way up Whistler and above the top of Washington State areas during the second week. Whistler got a 1+ foot of snow the next week but Washington and Oregon had refrozen conditions for two dry weeks before another 1+ foot of snow hit the whole region in late January/early February. Second half of February snowfall was 4 feet in Washington State with lesser amounts elsewhere. At the end of February a warm storm rained to the top of many areas, closing some terrain. First half of March snowfall averaged 2 feet, with somewhat less at lower elevation areas. During the second half of March Crystal got a foot of snow, while areas farther north got more but Oregon areas less. Early April snowfall ranged from 2 feet at Bachelor to 3 feet at Whistler. Mid April snowfall was 3 feet in Whistler and 6-8 feet in Washington and Oregon. Crystal and Bachelor are open to May 30 and Timberline should have a full summer season.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Whistler

102

94.1

89

24

44.5

69.3

422.9

101%

Crystal Mt.

32

119

71

54

30

88

394

95%

Mt. Hood Meadows

24

200

71

52

36

141

524

116%

Crater Lake

24.9

150.7

34.7

16.3

25.1

114.8

366.3

87%

Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: October snowfall was average and the Banff areas opened a week into November. November snowfall ranged from 3 feet in the Okanagan to 7+ feet at Revelstoke/Kicking Horse and Banff. 5-7 feet fell in December before Christmas, so this was the overall top region for the holiday season on 4-6+ foot bases. Sun Peaks and Silver Star have been 90+% open since Christmas. First half of January snowfall averaged 3 feet but during the second week there was some rain below 5,000 feet. Second half of January snowfall averaged 1.5 feet and first half of February 1 foot. Second half of February snowfall averaged two feet, though there was a stretch of extreme cold during the last week before the Northwest rain reached some lower areas near the US border. 1.5 to 3 feet fell during the first half of March. Only Big White, Whitewater, Revelstoke and Sunshine had as much as a foot of snow during the second half of March. April snowfall averaged 2 feet.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Revelstoke

123.6

74

82.3

50.8

40.9

39

410.6

113%

Fernie

56.3

131.5

55.1

18.9

53.9

22.8

338.5

92%

Kicking Horse

60.2

70.5

45.3

19.3

23.2

16.9

235.4

95%

Lake Louise

69.3

59.5

44.5

26

31.1

21.3

251.7

145%

U. S. Northern Rockies: November snowfall was well below average. The lower interior Northwest areas had mostly rain in November but had 6-8 feet of snow in December. Southern Idaho got 5+ feet from the California storms, bringing Sun Valley to 79% open by Christmas and 100% at New Year's. Bridger did not open until Dec. 21 and Big Sky's early season was below normal, 48% open at Christmas and 64% at New Year's. Targhee was close to full operation by mid-December and had 6+ feet of December snow before Christmas. Jackson had about 4 feet before Christmas and the Lower Faces opened at New Year's after the Tetons got 3+ feet during the holidays. 2-4 feet fell during the first half of January, bringing Big Sky up to 82% open. Only at Lookout Pass did as much as a foot of snow fall during the second half of January or the first half of February. Spring conditions developed at most areas by mid-February. The second half of February had colder weather and two feet of snow, though some of the Northwest rain affected the interior Northwest. During the first half of March the Tetons and areas near the Canadian border averaged 2.5 feet while other areas averaged 1.5 feet. During the second half of March only Targhee had as much as a foot of snow. In early April only the Idaho panhandle had as much as a foot of snow. Later April storms from the Northwest totaled 3-5 feet.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Schweitzer

22

107

63

31

27

37

287

101%

Brundage

19

104

30

25

14

47

239

80%

Big Sky

54

47

35

26

49

67

278

96%

Jackson Hole (mid)

32

90

83

15

38

52

310

84%

Utah: Utah had well above average October snowfall, but it was gradual so no one opened and it melted out below 8,000 feet. November tied for driest in the 42 years of Alta Collins records at 22 inches. For the Cottonwood areas only a residual base from October is added to snow totals. In the last three weeks of December 6-8 feet of snow fell in the Cottonwoods but 3-4 feet elsewhere. Skiing at Christmas was very limited outside the Cottonwoods but improved by 4 feet of snow during the holiday week. The Wasatch averaged 2 feet of snow during the first week of January but had less than a foot through mid-February. Second half of February snowfall was 1-2 feet in the Wasatch but 4 feet in southern Utah. January and February were both record low snowfall months in the Wasatch. First half of March snowfall was 4+ feet in the Cottonwoods and 2-3 feet elsewhere. Second half of March snowfall was 1.5 feet in the Cottonwoods and less than half as much elsewhere. Less than a foot fell in early April. Later April storms dumped 5+ feet in the Cottonwoods and 2-4 feet elsewhere.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Alta

45.5

143.5

29.5

26

83

75

402.5

78%

Solitude (upper)

28

135

23

20

70

67

343

73%

Park City (mid)

13

66

22

10

17

20

148

51%

Snowbasin

10

92

32

18

36

49

237

75%

Northern and Central Colorado: October and November snowfalls were modest, so the openings (A-Basin Oct. 17, Keystone Oct. 23 and Loveland Oct. 31) were all less than 2% open. No areas were as much as 10% open at the end of November. 3+ feet of December snow before Christmas only put a small dent in November's shortfall. 2 feet of snow during the holidays improved open terrain from only 1/3 at Christmas to over half at New Year's. First half of January snowfall averaging 2 feet brought many areas close to full operation. Second half of January snowfall averaged a foot and first half of February just under a foot. Second half of February snowfall averaged two feet. First half of March snowfall averaged 2 feet, with areas farther west getting more than those to the east. Second half of March snowfall averaged 1.5 feet and early April less than a foot. It snowed 3-4 feet later in April and another foot in early May.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Vail.

25.3

77.5

41.5

29

47.5

57.5

278.3

79%

Copper Mt.

31

60

40

23

42

36

232

83%

Loveland

29

53

35

25

40

57

239

66%

Winter Park

37

67

43

38

50

70

305

88%

Southern and Western Colorado: November snowfall was less than half normal. Wolf Creek has been open since the end of October but ended November with a 14 inch base. A second week of December storm dumped up to 3 feet in the San Juans and fully opened Wolf Creek. 2-3 feet fell in the two weeks before Christmas and 4 feet during the holiday week. Crested Butte was the most favored area for the December storms, so much of its North Face opened during the first week of January. During January 2+ feet fell in west central Colorado but the Southwest averaged barely a foot. Taos got 3+ feet during the second half of December, was 20% open during the holiday week, rising gradually to 90% at the end of January. Most areas averaged half a foot during the first half of February, but a localized storm dumped 2+ feet at Wolf Creek and 3 feet at Taos, opening Kachina Peak on Feb. 5. 2-4 feet fell during the second half of February. An average 3 feet fell during the first half of March, with Telluride, Wolf Creek and Taos getting 4 feet. Second half of March snowfall averaged 1.5 feet and early April less than a foot. Spring snowfall ranged from 3 feet in central Colorado to nothing in New Mexico.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Aspen Highlands

29.4

98.4

22

40.2

40.2

33.9

264.1

103%

Gothic Snow Lab

11.8

119.3

15.4

25.6

40.9

35.8

248.8

71%

Monarch

13

71

42

29

62

19

236

83%

Wolf Creek

36

166

22

84

64

13

385

99%

Northeast: No one reported new snow in New England or eastern Canada until the second weekend of November. Killington opened Nov. 6. Cold weather and some snow in late November and early December opened about a quarter of terrain. Mid-December was warm and rainy so holiday skiing was among the worst third of seasons despite modest progress later in December. 1+ foot of snow fell during the first half of January and cold weather finally pushed most areas over half open. Two more feet of snow and continued cold during the second half of January brought many areas close to full operation. Conditions remained excellent over a week into February with up to two feet of snow until a warmup during the second week. Rain during the third week of February resulted in a poor President's weekend, but it dumped 2-3 feet in late February to restore good conditions. It rained during the first weekend of March but dumped 2+ feet during the next week. Only northern Vermont and eastern Canada had as much as a foot of snow during the second half of March and no one had more than a foot in early April. There was likely more rain in New England where spring trail counts declined drastically while most terrain remained open in eastern Canada. However, late spring was cooler with up to 2 feet of new snow so 5 eastern areas were still open on May 1 and Killingtom will likely run to May 30.

Area

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total

Pct. of Normal

Whiteface

24

32

40

44

26

20

186

109%

Stowe

37

29

42

47

56

31

242

81%

Killington

36

28

34

45

52

21

216

91%

Sugarloaf

5

16

27

34

14

4

100

58%

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