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Heavy March Storms Prompt Resorts To Stay Open Longer

Extension-Crystal-Cover Everyone gets to hit the slopes at a number of resorts in the West, thanks to late-season storms. (Image via Crystal Mountain Facebook)

It's been a schizophrenic ski and snowboard season in the West, starting with a scratchy Christmas and meager January, but finishing up with mega-dumps into late March.

While storms arrived off the Pacific Ocean as usual this winter, above-freezing temps produced more rain than snow at many resorts that typically get inundated in December and January.

However, temperatures dipped in mid-winter, the storm cycle settled in, and some remarkably intense winter weather dropped near-record amounts. As a result, a number of resorts in the West have announced extensions to their seasons as the snow just keeps on coming in the Sierra, Cascades and Rockies.

Mt. Hood Meadows' 2,100 acres got lots late this season. The Oregon resort is approaching its average of 430 inches per season and has decided to run daily to April 28, then weekends until May 18. All terrain is expected to stay open until May 5; thereafter, fewer trails will be open, and lifts will run to 2:30 p.m.

Also in the Pacific Northwest, Washington's Crystal Mountain will run daily until April 14 -- as planned -- but add two weekends April 19-21 and 26-28 to finish off the season. Only intermediate and advanced terrain will be open, with limited lift operations and no lessons.

North of Lake Tahoe in California, Sugar Bowl now has nearly 15 feet at its summit following the latest storm cycle. That was plenty for mountain management to add three weeks to the season through April 28. And, both China Peak and Kirkwood have extended to April 28.

In Utah, Brian Head was the first to announce a season extensions. Once storms started sagging to the south, Utah's southernmost ski and snowboard mountain got hammered. Consequently, all lifts will keep spinning at Brian Head until May 5 -- with a hint from management that they might go beyond that.

Utah's Wasatch Range always seems to get lots of snow, be it El Nińo or La Nińa. On the eastern front, Deer Valley has added another week of skiing and riding to its calendar, ending on April 21. The skiing-only resort totaled 320 inches of snowfall so far, just a bit above average.

And Park City Mountain had decided that they have enough snow to keep spinning lifts. Mountain management announced that one of the nation's largest resorts will stay open another eight days to April 22.

Over in Colorado, Steamboat seemed to be immune to the lethargy of early-season storms, and then catching plenty in the later months. Some 340 inches fell this season, enough to add a week to the resort's operations calendar to April. 21.

And farther south, despite no snowmaking, Monarch Mountain was the beneficiary of multiple March storms to build up enough base to stay open an extra week to March 14.

-- This article will be updated if more extensions are announced.




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