Once summer settles in, the winter resorts around Lake Tahoe become magnets for city-dwellers aiming to beat the heat – and to have a bunch of fun doing it.
Every time we checked the snow conditions at Tahoe resorts in February, more had fallen from the skies – and at record levels.
A storm that may end up being the largest from coast-to-coast is already underway. From blizzard conditions in California to feet in the East, we’ve got the entire breakdown here for where to ski and ride in the coming week.
November has been good to many of us and the pattern to begin December is looking colder for most, with potential for more heavy storms.
Renovations all around at early-opening California ski and snowboard resorts – in restaurants, base lodges, bars and on the hill.
Here’s a sample road trip for those who have purchased an Epic Pass, have a week or two on the loose, and are ready to ski and ride across the West without having to shell out for a day ticket.
When the hustle and bustle gets too much down below, Californians head to the hills. And, the state’s ski and snowboard resorts shift into summer gear to provide the thrills, adventures and just plain relaxation that they are looking for.
Biking and hiking, zip lines and coasters, climbing walls and disc golf, concerts and festivals and the old-fav, a ride up the lift: ski and snowboard resorts in the West are changing gears as warm weather arrives.
Feet of snow is on the way for the Sierra Nevada range (Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows/Facebook)
Got that end-of-the-year spring skiing pass? Now is the time to use it! Epic March conditions continue for most of the East and parts of the West.
Above compact base area, mountain spreads out. (Kirkwood/Facebook)
Though less than an hour from the glitz and glamor of South Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood Mountain Resort couldn’t be a more unlikely neighbor. Stuffed up at the head of a box canyon, the mountain known as “The Wood” retains an old-school, bare-bones flavor that, despite ownership by Vail, emphasizes good skiing and riding over amenities (i.e., cell service is iffy).
Jay Peak picked up some fresh snow earlier this week. The first sign as we turn to a colder, more active pattern in the Eastern U.S. (Jay Peak/Instagram)
What a ride it’s been the past week with continued record snowfall for the Western mountains and a messy mix of snow, sleet, and (ick) ice for some of the East. The weather pattern is changing for all regions this week. Let’s dig into this week’s SnoCast.
The changes we can expect this week (Jan. 25-31) feature a much more tranquil scene for the Western U.S. Meanwhile, for the Eastern U.S., a colder pattern will take over again, with potential for patchy snowfall with any storm system that develops. For all areas, even in a warmer than usual Canada, there will be fair conditions to make snow, if needed. In the image below, you're looking at the higher elevation temperature map into this weekend - notice the blue areas indicate colder than normal air, and red indicates warmer than normal.
Here’s what to expect by region for Jan. 18-23:
West: After record snowfall at so many locations through the month of January, high pressure will generally dominate the Western weather this week. This will generally mean that snow will be limited, but that’s OK at this point, as some ski areas are having a tough time turning the lifts after so much snow fell. Just check out this image tweeted out by Kirkwood in California earlier this week.
Good news is that the weather ahead should allow some great stretches of sunshine and bluebird days to look forward to. Any snow that does fall in the West this week will generally be very light and spread out over several days, and mainly squeezed out at the highest peaks. Totals could range anywhere from 2-6 inches from Thursday through the weekend for Colorado and Utah peaks, and between 1-4 inches for most other mountain tops. A quick front will dip into the Pacific Northwest Sunday night-Monday allowing for some better snow in the northern peaks of the Washington Cascades
East: In the east, following mild temps and snow melt the past two weeks, the tables are turning (and the lifts will be, too!). A large atmospheric trough will build in, allowing colder air to settle in for most of the Great Lakes region, and down the Eastern seaboard. Cold is, of course, the first thing we need to set the stage for snow.
I’d keep my eye on a couple of things. A quick moving, weak low pressure system Wednesday-Thursday treks from the Midwest, northeastward into Quebec. This will bring a mix of snow, sleet, and perhaps some chilly rain to some of our Midwest ski areas, New York’s Adirondacks, and New England ski areas. Behind this system is when much colder air is ushered in by a persistent west/northwest wind. That wind and leftover moisture should allow upslope snowfall Friday and Saturday against the Adirondacks, Green and White Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire, and perhasps into Maine’s peaks, too.
A cold front dips into northern New England Sunday, which will bring a few more inches of fresh snow once again. Best bets: Whiteface, Jay Peak, Stowe. Here’s the snowfall forecast through Friday evening, keeping in mind another 3-6 inches may fall in the Northern mountains over the weekend.
Canada: After some fresh snow earlier this week in Quebec (~20 cm at Le Massif), we head into a warm stretch for much of Canada this week. Much warmer than average temperatures will prevail over most of the country for this forecast period we’re talking about. Check out the forecast model image below by the “European” ECMWF forecast model. The orange and red colors indicate above normal temperatures, which covers most of the country.
Despite this fact, temps will still be cold enough to support snow. With a large trough/active pattern over the Eastern country, I'd expect some light snow in the Quebec mountains through the weekend, perhaps 5-10 cm. Also in the West, a small area of exception to the warmer temps will likely be across the far southwest of the country in British Columbia. Expect new snow over the weekend as coastal moisture streams into British Columbia, allowing some wet snow for these ski areas, likely between 25-35 cm.
Happy skiing and riding! 'Til next week!
We all know that “summer” and “California” are inexorably linked, but it’s not just beaches and surf at ski and snowboard resorts up in the mountains.
It’s just been too good at Lake Tahoe resorts this season – and so much better than recent years -- not to stay open longer than planned.
Adult women constitute a prime demographic for growth the ski and snowboard industry so, in the past few seasons, Vail has fine-tuned its ski school offerings to coincide with the schedules and desires of the females on the mountain.
The southern Rockies got the bulk of this latest snow blast, and snow is expected to continue – in varying degrees of intensity – into next week in Colorado and Utah. Skiers and snowboarders at other areas of the West are still looking longingly to the skies.
The skies have brought the pre-Christmas gift of snow to the ski and snowboard resorts around Lake Tahoe this year, and the resorts are ready to celebrate. From Santa on the slopes to snowman-building to the tried-and-true fireworks and torchlight parades, northern California resorts offer up plenty for those who come to the Sierra Nevada.
After rolling across Tahoe and the southern tier of the Rockies, the weather is expected to take a break across the West for this weekend before another round arrives just before Christmas.The best bet for upcoming powder days will be along and north of I-70 in Colorado next week, meaning skiers and snowboarders at Steamboat , and Summit and Eagle county resorts might get those powder boards in shape.
Snow has receded to all but the highest ridges around Lake Tahoe, signaling the start of a busy summer season in the northern California mountains.
It was a good season at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. So good, that its not over yet!
The skiing and snowboard season in California was a mixed bag this season, but hope always springs eternal for the next season – as do the bargains for buying a season’s pass early.