Storms Bring Snow to...Almost Everyone

747 view(s)

Publish Date


SAM Magazine-Denver, Jan. 24, 2012-What a difference a week makes. Winter returned across most of the U.S. in the past seven days, bringing several feet of snow to the snow-starved Lake Tahoe areas and padding snow depths across the Rockies. Eastern areas also received fresh snow, adding to base depths there as well.

Clearing the decks at Mt. Rose in Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe areas are reporting up to six feet of snow from the most recent series of storms. Alpine topped the list with six feet, Squaw reported five feet, and most others had four feet or more. Today, Donner is reporting 28 inches in the past 24 hours, and China peak, three to four feet in the past 48.

Resorts have opened substantially more terrain as a result. Both Squaw and Alpine Meadows have a combined 1,550 acres and 21 lifts open, 650 acres at Squaw, 900 acres at Alpine Meadows. Mammoth expects to open all lifts and terrain by the end of the week. Prior to the recent storms, the resort was operating on manmade snow with roughly 30 percent of total available terrain open. Diamond Peak is now 90 percent open, and Mt. Rose is at 80 percent. Heavenly is offering 30 trails accessed by 24 lifts on 3,500 vertical feet and more than 19 miles of terrain. Northstar currently has top-to-bottom skiing on 39 open trails accessed by 16 lifts.

Several big snowstorms rolled through Colorado as well. The recent weekend storm brought nearly three feet to Silverton. More than two feet fell at Arapahoe Basin, Aspen/Snowmass, and Eldora, with nearly two feet at Crested Butte, Ski Cooper, and Durango. Telluride, Copper, Steamboat, and Sunlight all report 18 inches or more. More new snow is expected later this week.

Here, too, more terrain is opening. Keystone has opened more trails in the Outback, and Vail opened portions of the Back Bowls in Blue Sky Basin, Sun Up Bowl and China Bowl.

In Utah, Ski Utah reported four feet of snow at some of the state's ski and snowboard resorts from January 18-22. The new snow has enabled resorts to open additional terrain both on and off-piste. Additional snowstorms are in the forecast for the coming days at Utah resorts.

In Idaho, where the situation was even worse than on the coast, Bogus Basin opened its doors on January 19, almost two weeks later than its previous latest opening of January 6. Soldier Mountain announced it would open its doors on January 21, after receiving much-needed snow.

Many areas in New England and New York added 6-10 inches in past several days, with 14 inches at Cannon, N.H. A few areas in Pennsylvania were reporting 10-12 inches. Many eastern areas now have the majority of terrain open; most are at or above 75 percent of trails or acres.

While snow remains abundant for some in the Pacific Northwest-Mt. Baker, Wash., has had nine feet in the past two weeks-areas like Mt. Ashland were forced to close between January 2 and 18, and reopened on January 19 after receiving snow.

The biggest winner this year has been Alyeska, Alaska. With 29 days of precipitation in December, the resort recorded 183 inches of snowfall at the top snow station in December. January has continued the snowfall trend and helped build a season-long total of 400 inches from Oct. 1 through Jan. 10.

Back in September, Alyeska noted that last winter's La Nina led to a below-average season, but the area observed that La Nina winters can be highly variable. "In many locals' memories, the La Niña season of 1999-2000 resulted in 818 inches of snowfall, ranking in as one of the snowiest seasons in the resort's history," the area said. And history seems to be repeating itself.