Winter Roundup: Steep, Deep, and Deals

by Kirsten Dobroth | December 5, 2016

There’s always that time before ski season when the lifts haven’t started to run, and the snow hasn’t started to fall, but you know it’s coming. Usually that time comes within a brief window in September before sleet and snow starts to move in throughout October, and powdery peaks are ready for skinning come November.
This year brought that same kind of suspense, albeit a bit longer, and with a bit more uncertainty than previous years  – at least in Colorado – where warm temperatures and clear skies lingered into November, with ski resorts pushing back their openings throughout the state. While this wasn’t necessarily indicative of the entire country – areas like Big Sky, Montana (which is currently having another powdery reminder of the season) and resorts throughout the Pacific Northwest were leaking powdery shots throughout October and November – it did leave some pretty big questions about what the upcoming season would bring in the form of precipitation.
But all of that is in the past. Areas of Canada, in particular, saw big storms all offseason that have the rest of the country drooling over waist deep opening days (did anyone see pictures from Whistler’s first week spinning the lifts?!). Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has also been putting out some pretty enviable marketing material from the last month that has translated into a first weekend full of face shots with more on the way (10 inches throughout the weekend, with dustings on and off all week, according to Open Snow).
Tahoe’s off to a good start too. Northstarr at Tahoe opened its backside to the public, and more snow is set to hit the area late this week. Ski areas like Sierra at Tahoe, Heavenly, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows should benefits from the late week storm, and have already seen some nice early season snow totals from early winter storms.
Smaller resorts around California and the southwest are also seeing promising early season accumulations with opening days scheduled for later this week. Homewood, in Lake Tahoe, is set to open December 9th, and Taos announced via their website that their “snow dances have been working” and is slated to open the same day.
Utah’s been having a big month, too. Pictures of the snow from last week in Little Cottonwood Canyon were otherworldly, and snow totals accumulating in the form of feet have been reported from Snowbird, Solitude, Canyons and Park City, Brighton, Deer Valley, and Alta. More is on the way, with inches to feet more to come in spots over the next week.
And after a warm and dry October and November, it’s finally snowing in Colorado – a lot. Telluride opened with 50 inches of snow, and Steamboat has seen 46 inches of fluffy goodness so far this winter. After delayed openings, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breck, and Keystone are finally starting to look like normal, with Copper and Winter Park seeing dustings all week, as well.
There’s plenty of powder to be found back east, too. After a nearly nonexistent season last winter, Vermont has been seeing some big snow totals, with resorts like Killington and Okemo set for an inch or two nearly every day this week. New Hampshire’s Mt. Sunappee is set to start spinning lifts on December 6th, and take advantage of the area’s storms. Upstate New York should see some reward from those storm systems too, with spots like Greek Peak in New York expected to add to its base in hopes of an opening date in the near future.
It may have seemed like this whole winter thing was never going to happen, but Mother Nature has thankfully changed her mind with no end in sight for most places. For any of us who get to enjoy that change of season, or are planning a trip to one of said locations, let’s hope things stay that way.

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