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With historic snowfall at ski areas throughout the western United States, many resorts are poised to wrap up the season with later-than-expected closings and strong visitation and revenue. Hn Roundup. Alta Ski AreaPhoto courtesy of Alta Ski AreaIn fact, the records shattered and milestones reached by western resorts are seemingly endless, with new updates pouring in even as this piece is written. In the East, by contrast, the season started slowly, with rainfall and warming events affecting terrain and snow quality into February, at which point colder temperatures and snowfall returned, giving the snowpack a much needed boost.


Resorts across California and Utah have reported record-breaking snowfall totals, contributing in some cases to above-average skier visitation numbers, season extensions, and a strong start to 2023-24 season pass sales.

In California, Mammoth Mountain shattered its previous snowfall total of 668 inches, which was set during the 2010-11 ski season, with 704 inches on a 278-inch base as of April 3. Despite the frequent and high-intensity snowfall events, the mountain only had two days where it closed entirely—one for weather, and one due to a power loss.

“Our team expects difficult work—our base area is at 9,000 feet in the High Sierra,” said Ron Cohen, president and COO of Mammoth. “But this has been a remarkably difficult year, with long hours, hard work, and more shoveling and snow removal than you can fathom.”

He noted that while there were only two full-day closures, Mammoth is unlikely to break skier visitation or revenue records due to inclement weather-impacted days. Regardless, the impressive snowpack has the ski area set up to offer skiing into July.

Similarly, Palisades Tahoe reported its snowiest period between October and February since 1970, and its second snowiest season overall since 1946, when the Central Sierra Snow Lab was built and started recording snow totals. As of April 3, the resort is reporting a season total of 696 inches, resulting in a season extension through July 4.

“Even as visitation tapers off in the spring, staying open enriches our business, strengthens the community, and enhances our brand,” said Matt Peterson, Palisades Tahoe’s senior marketing director. “Additionally, our spring season aligns with Ikon Pass sales, allowing guests to relish the slopes this spring and through the July Fourth holiday by purchasing next season's pass.”

While deep snow and optimism seems to be running rampant at resorts across California, for some, there’s been too much of a good thing. At Kingvale Park, just northwest of Tahoe, the season has had its share of difficulties. 

“We were ahead until March hit,” said Day Franzen, co-owner of the ski area. “[We’re] hoping to make some of it up with a longer than normal season, probably until Memorial Day. The past few weekends have been light. [We’re] sick of digging out. And I lost most of my staff to $100/hour shoveling gigs all over Tahoe. Everyone is very grumpy. We need sun.” 

Further east, resorts in Utah and Colorado have had similar snowfall-related fortunes (or misfortunes, depending on who you are and what your job is) this season. At Alta Ski Area, Utah, the previous snowfall record of 748 inches, set during the 1981-82 season, has been broken by a significant margin, with an early-April season total of 823 inches. Alta’s first snowfall of the season fell on Oct. 22, resulting in an average of more than 6 inches of snow per day. Of course, the heavy snowfall doesn’t come without challenges.

“The snow banks are higher than any local can remember,” said Brandon Ott, Alta’s marketing director. “But with one powder day after the next, it has created more early mornings and more shoveling. Our employees are worn out. At the same time, it’s this lifestyle that a lot of us want to be a part of, and you go into each ski season with hope and curiosity as to what the winter’s going to bring. It’s going to be a year that all of the employees will talk about for the rest of their lives, and I think that energy is what’s getting everyone through.”

Despite the significant snowfall and above-average road closures and interlodges—orders by the town marshal for everyone to shelter indoors while avalanche mitigation takes place—Alta saw an amount of closures in-line with historical averages.

Alta plans on staying open until April 23, but due to staffing and historical spring skiing trends, won’t extend beyond that. And while Ott noted the historic snowfall has resulted in many resorts in the Wasatch experiencing record visitation, Alta’s visitation is slightly down this year, likely due in part to parking reservations, which were introduced last year. 

“We’re trying to prioritize the skier’s experience—we’re not in the mindset of year-after-year growth,” Ott said.

Just north, Snowbasin is setting its own milestones, with March being the snowiest month on record thanks to a whopping 200 inches—and a 562-inch season total as of April 3, which surpassed the previous record of 475 inches, set during the 1981-82 ski season. In fact, this season’s snowfall total has already exceeded that of the previous two seasons combined, and there is still plenty of time for more.

With its opening on Nov. 18, and an anticipated closing date of April 23, a week later than the original closing date of April 16, this season is slated to be the longest in the ski area’s history. And even with the record-breaking snowfall and an elevated need for avalanche mitigation, the resort managed to remain open every day this season.

“We have an exceptional team that was able to keep at least multiple lifts running—we never had just one—every day this season,” said Davy Ratchford, vice president and general manager of Snowbasin. “We did have to dig out some lifts by hand, especially once we started with these storm cycles. It was a herculean effort by the team, but they did it, and we were able to keep our resort open and running while other resorts were closed down.”

Ratchford noted that visitation by season pass holders nearly doubled this season compared to last; he attributes this to the mountain’s accessibility and reliability.

“We’re a very reliable mountain,” he said. “If you’re in your car and can go to multiple places, you’re going to start driving to the place you feel you can absolutely ski on that day.”

To that end, Snowbasin is having its best season to-date in terms of visitation numbers and revenue, and even welcomed visitors from all 50 states for the first time. The abundant snowfall has also contributed to an impressive initial wave of next year’s season pass sales, which are up from last year. 

Next season, skiers and riders will get to enjoy a new six-person chairlift—the DeMoisy Express—which will support the existing gondola that offers access to the mountain’s Strawberry zone.

Like many Utah resorts, Solitude is also having a noteworthy season, with 753 inches of snow —the mountain’s snowiest season on record—significantly exceeding the 500-inch annual average it typically receives. Because of this, the mountain will remain open through May 21, for a total of 185 days, making this the resort’s longest season to-date.

While Colorado’s snowfall totals don’t quite rival those of Utah and California, they also had an above-average season. Steamboat, for example, has exceeded 400 inches for the eighth time in its history (and first time since 2010), and is extending its season by a week, to April 16, for the first time in 30 years. 


Midwestern ski areas have had a mixed season, with some reporting above-average snowfall and others below.

Michigan’s Mount Bohemia, for instance, has reported a cumulative total of 232 inches as of April 1, which is shy of its annual average of 273 inches. Even with the underwhelming snowfall this season, Bohemia plans on offering skiing and riding during weekends through April.

In Wisconsin, Granite Peak had an above-average year, totaling around 85 inches, which exceeds its annual average by 25 inches.

Unlike the resorts further west, which ran into challenges resulting from the abundant snowfall, Granite Peak’s weather-related difficulties came in the form of high humidity during the month of January.

“The biggest challenge we had was a very cloudy, foggy, and high humidity month of January,” said Greg Fisher, Granite Peak’s general manager.  “Due to the high humidity, snowmaking was challenging, and we needed to shut down a number of times due to the quality of snow we were making even though temperatures were below freezing.”

These challenges inhibited the mountain from opening up approximately five trails until the end of January, which, according to Fisher, missed their goal of having 100 percent of their terrain open by early January. Despite these challenges, the mountain only closed three days due to rain, and none due to cold temperatures. 

Overall, Granite Peak had a strong year, with skier visitation in-line with their last two seasons—both of which were some of the most successful seasons historically. While unlimited day tickets and advanced day ticket purchases were down, revenue was up due largely to new products, pricing, and season pass sales. In fact, Granite Peak saw its strongest season pass sales yet, with a 31 percent increase since the 2019-20 season. 


Winter came late on the East Coast, with a number of warming and rain events early in the season putting a damper on skiable terrain. In fact, it wasn’t until between mid-January and early February that many resorts had enough snow to offer skiing on natural terrain—the early season was all about snowmaking. But after the initial hardship, a few critical snowstorms in February and March helped the snowpack to rebound, providing what looks to be a decent late spring ski season ahead.

For example, to date, Killington has received 194 inches of snow, which is typical of a ski season in southern Vermont. And while it’s still too early to say when the mountain plans on closing, Kristel Killary, Killington’s brand marketing and communications manager, says the aim is to stay open until June, or at least Memorial Day Weekend, which is also when the resort’s summer operations begin.

Thanks to the late snowfall (58 inches fell in March alone), sales of the Killington Spring Pass, which went live on March 24 and offers access for the remainder of the ski season, have exceeded last year’s numbers.

Further north in the state, Jay Peak, which is known to have some of the deepest and most reliable snow on the East Coast, ended up with similarly solid snow totals, but it didn’t get there without its struggles.

“January became a 100-inch month for us, and despite some minor setbacks, we’ve been able to maintain the snowpack through preservation tactics like ice cubes down the toilet, inside out pajamas, and quietly crying in the corner,” joked Jay Peak’s communications manager Mike Chait. “February was less-productive for snowfall than we typically experience, but that was bolstered by a strong first-half of March.”

With a season total of 349 inches, which is around average for Jay, yet still impressive by East Coast standards, Chait felt the resort was looking strong for an early May closing date. Even with his optimism about staying open into May, though, Chait did point out that revenue does experience a large drop during this type of year.

“Where we see the most value is in ensuring our stakeholders have access to the most snow in the East as long as possible.”

Mont Tremblant, just north of the U.S. border in Quebec, Canada, has had an impressive season. Thanks to 247 inches of snow so far, which broke the previous record of the 242 inches that fell during the 2018-19 season, Tremblant has decided to extend its season an extra week to April 23.

“With the solid base that we have, there will be plenty of skiable terrain left to enjoy,” said Felix Burke, who is responsible for public relations at Tremblant. “And hopefully, we’ll be accompanied by warm spring conditions to finish off what has been an amazing season.”

In New Hampshire, the early season was just as, if not more, difficult than in Vermont. Still, as of March 19, the state’s skier visits were pacing to be ahead of last season’s by about 7 percent. But according to Jessyca Keeler, president of Ski New Hampshire, these numbers didn’t pull ahead of last year’s until around mid-February, when the state began seeing regular snowfall.

“The ski areas were all hard at work making snow, and that certainly helped keep the season going,” said Keeler. “For skiers and riders—especially the more casual ones—seeing all the storms come through the Northeast made a big difference in the skier visit traffic our resorts saw.”

Just to the east, Maine’s Sunday River was plagued by the same rainfall and warming events in the early season as the rest of the Northeast. And while the 126 inches it’s received is below-average overall, impressive infrastructure and a strong snowmaking team has helped the resort play the cards it was dealt.

“We made a lot of decisions in the early season that allowed us to consistently roll with the punches and put out a great product,” said Sunday River’s director of marketing Luc Burns. “This is reflected in having the most open terrain in New England through the middle of January this year. Once the natural snow starts, other resorts can overtake us, but no one is able to handle a fickle winter like Sunday River.”

Thanks to late-season snow events in February and March, the mountain is on-track for an April 23 closing date.

Even with the early season struggles the East Coast has faced, most resorts now have enough snow to stay open until, or later than, originally projected closing dates. And for those who want to keep their season going even later, the ski season out west seems to have no end.

This report was compiled by Josh Laskin.