A Couple Of New, Revitalized Chairlifts Streamline Skiing, Riding In Oregon  

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With an even dozen ski areas within its borders, Oregon tends toward the low-key and local vibe at its winter resorts that, because of new operators and new money, continue to upgrade.

From top, the 34-year-old Skyliner high-speed quad at Mt. Bachelor had have major repairs in 2022 in order to operate last season. So mountain management has replaced it with a new Skyliner with six pack.

The new chair -- the first six-seater on the 4,100-acre mountain -- should give relief to base-area workhorses Pine Marten and Sunrise chairs, located on either side of the new Skyliner. It also will deliver more carver-dudes to the central mountain cruisers, and more park-rats to the resort's substantial cadre of Woodward terrain parks.

Over on Mt. Hood Meadows, another six-pack replaces an aging four-seater. A new Mt. Hood Express went in this summer to upgrade the original high-speed, installed in 1994. Increased capacity should help, since the new chair is one of three that haul skiers and riders out of the main base and onto the upper mountain. The resort has also gone cashless this season.

And up at year-round Timberline, there's a new conveyor to help develop a new learning area off Bruno's run.

New operators debuted this season at Willamette Pass, and the mountain will be open seven days a week for the first time since 2007. The Power Pass combine dropped cash on snowmaking and grooming, and expects to reopen the Midway chair. Squeezed between the Eagle Peak Accelerator high-speed and Twilight fixed-grip triple, the Midway last spun in 2015 to pull folks out of the base.

At Mt. Ashland, the nonprofit local hill has added a third night of twilight skiing and riding on Saturday and, in conjunction with that, now sells of Twilight Skiing pass. There are more snowcats in the fleet.

In the future, Mt. Ashland is set to revitalize the beginner area around the base lodge with a new chair that will run where the former Poma lift did. With it, skiers and riders won't have to hike out or use Comer lift to get back.

And, now at Hoodoo, kids ages 10 and under get free skiing and riding all season. Oldsters get a break, too, with $49 ticket for those 75 and older. Night lights got an upgrade.

 

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Winter's Largesse Means More Choices For Late-Spring Skiing, Riding In The West

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With record snowfalls in the West this winter, we are now going to see just how late into the year the Jones for skiing and riding can last.

Skiers and riders should expect limited terrain, fewer lifts and variable conditions if they head into the hills this spring. "Playing the mountain" is a well-established spring tradition, meaning following the sun as it runs across the trails to find the soft -- but not too soft -- snow.

Springtime brings out the quirky in managers of skiing and riding mountains. For instance, Brighton plans to go until May 29 but because it will only spin the Milly chair, crews will move the rails and boxes over there for a top-to-bottom terrain park. Willamette Pass will be open for weekends until May 14 and has a $19 ticket for sale.

But some things don't change. Timberline Lodge will once again have no closing date for its alpine slopes on the shoulder of Mt. Hood, as snow typically stays year-round on the highest Palmer Snowfield terrain. The mountain usually closes late summer or early fall to take a breath before reopening for the next winter.

Another old favorite resurfaces this summer. Beartooth Basin, America’s only summer-only ski area (on account of its location on the Beartooth Highway connecting Wyoming and Montana, which closes in winter), will open this summer after sitting out 2022 for lack of snow. The season is expected to go from Memorial Day into July.

The king of summer skiing is once again Mammoth Mountain. Some 800 inches of snow fell this winter, and the California resort plans to stay open to July 31 -- with a teaser for days beyond that. Compadre Palisades Tahoe says Memorial Day is the earliest they'll close.

Colorado's perennial champion, Arapahoe Basin, has targets June 4 as a temporary closing date. But up there on the Continental Divide, nothing is certain. Keep track via Al's Blog. http://arapahoebasin.blogspot.com/

Breckenridge has declined to be specific, saying "TBA May." Winter Park plans to stay open until May 14, or until "ALAP" -- a new acronym created by the resort's PR staff.

Elsewhere, tentative closings dates have been set for Mt. Bachelor (May 28) and Crystal Mountain (May 21) in the Northwest. In Utah Snowbird will run daily to May 14 and on weekends until Memorial Day ("at least"), and Solitude says it will stay open until May 21.

Bringing up the rear are Copper (May 7), Loveland (May 7), and Bogus Basin (May 6).

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SnoCast: Top Season Snow Total Round-Up

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How is it already time for the final SnoCast of the season?! What a wild winter it’s been. From record snow out West, to the slow onset and sweet finish out East. From capturing those final buttery, spring turns, to pushing back closing dates. This winter will be one to remember. 

In this week's SnoCast, we’ll look back on the winter season recapping some of the highest ski area snow totals and best storms of the season. Here’s the final SnoCast of the 2022-23 winter season!

 

 

Winter Summary

This winter was third consecutive season to be influenced by La Niña, which often brings a colder and stormier pattern across the northern tier of the U.S. and parts of Canada. But this season, the typical pattern was shifted a hair, with the storm track shifted slightly farther west and south from what we would expect.

Thus, we saw a cold and snowy pattern across most of the Southwest U.S., cold but near average precipitation in the Northwest, a mild Midwest with localized lake-effect booms, a warm and wetter than average Northeast and Southeast. In the ultimate "how it started>how it's going" comparison, the images below summarize how the winter was forecast to be by NOAA, versus how it actually panned out. You can read the full NOAA winter forecast verification blog with more details. 

Top Snow Amounts

Since this winter pattern favored a super-charged storm pattern and cold across the southwest U.S., this is where we saw some of the highest totals.  California and Utah won’t soon forget this season, with numerous all-time season snow records set at ski areas. 

While not a comprehensive (nor final) list with ski season and new snow still ongoing, here's a summary of some top snow reports from this season as of April 5, 2023.   

Mammoth Mountain, CA: 704” mid lodge, peak 882” (a new record, picture (right). For perspective, the mountain averages ~400" each season)

Brighton, UT: 848” (new record)

Alta, UT: 874” (new record)

Snowbird, UT: 808”(new record)

Solitude, UT: 779” (new record)

Sugar Bowl, CA: 768” (not a record, but still a lot. Even more impressive, the base depth in early April is over 20 feet on parts of the mountain)

Many of these ski areas have had too much snow at times, causing a halt in operations to dig out or conduct avalanche mitigation. Such is the case in Utah right now, but thankfully, you can still take advantage of the snow soon. Check out our story about extended closing date for many Utah mountains, thanks to abundant snow.   

Stormy West

Beyond the record setters, we saw a colder than average winter for much of the West, helping boost snow totals. While not a comprehensive list, here are some runner-ups on impressive amounts. You can take a look at your nearest ski area or region on the SnoCountry conditions tab from the homepage.

Timberline, OR: 608” (top in Oregon)

Jackson Hole, WY: 591" (top in WY)

Summit at Snoqualmie Alpental, WA: 520”

Wolf Creek, CO: 490” (top in Colorado)

Powder King, BC: 477” (top in British Columbia)

Lookout Pass, ID: 448”

Mt Bachelor, OR: 438”

Arizona Snowbowl, AZ: 398" (still with a 10-foot base depth in April!)

Purgatory, CO: 374”

These totals really helped out the water basins with impressive snow-water equivalent tallies. Parts of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and California are running more than 150% of normal...GREAT news to put a dent in the ongoing drought.   

 

East

Okay, okay. We get it. The West had a banner year. The West is a lot higher in elevation and has a drier climate, so naturally there's more snow than the lower and more humid East, but that doesn't mean there wasn't some great skiing this season. You just had to know where to look!

Pockets of the Great Lakes region and New England had some incredible days. While the majority of winter was warmer than average, we saw one-off snow storms and lake effect influence to boost totals and bring huge powder days. In all, the East did have a below average snow season up until January, but turned around late in the season boosting snow cover in February and March. 

Here were some top totals of remaining open ski areas by state across the Northeast:

Jay Peak, VT: 349" (top tally in the East. Photo on the right from the March 14 powder day)

Mt. Bohemia, MI: 232"

Sugarloaf, ME: 171"

Bretton Woods, NH: 148"

See who's still open in the Northeast, Midwest (yes, there are a few!), and Quebec.

And while we don't want to leave out the Southeast, we've definitely had stronger seasons. Warm and wet weather dominated this year, causing much below average snow amounts. But like the rest of the East, we found some sweet times.

The season lasted a total of 138 days (38% of the year!) from start to finish: Sugar Mountain Resort and Cataloochee Ski Area (both in North Carolina) opened on November 14, 2022 and Snowshoe Mountain Resort closed it all up on Sunday, April 2.  The top ski area total went to Canaan Valley, WV with a total of 62.4", which fell short of the annual average of roughly 150". 

The Real Apres-Ski

With that, it's "apres-ski time" for me and SnoCast. I hope you have loved reading my weekly forecast updates and took advantage of new snow and amazing conditions on the slopes. 'Til next season, enjoy what's left out there, and have an amazing off season. Hope to see you again next fall when the flakes start flying again. 

-Meteorologist Kerrin Jeromin

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SnoCast: Ski Season Summary and Where Snow is Still Falling

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The 2021-22 ski season is winding down. In our final SnoCast of the season, we’re checking out the season sum-up, and where the snow is still falling for the remaining ski areas still turning chairs.

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SnoCast: Snow and Chilly Temps Kick Off November

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We've gotten a taste of ski season across the U.S. and Canada this week with bursts of cold and snow. These bursts are exactly what the (ski) doctor ordered to get us that much closer to the slopes. Here's how the forecast shapes up this week. 

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Lava Laps: Spring Skiing And Riding On Northwest Volcanoes

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Now that spring has hit the West, the place to go this season is the Pacific Northwest with its nation-leading snowpack on the slopes of the high-elevation dormant volcanoes.

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All Over The Northwest, The Lights Go On For Night Skiing And Riding

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For Pacific Northwest skiers and riding seeking a different look, feel, and sound -- and fewer crowds -- to their experience, check out night skiing.

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SnoCast: Parade of Storms Will Kick Off 2021

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2021 already looks good with storm after storm lining up in the West, and a turn to a more active pattern for the East. Here’s where to find great ski conditions through the first week of January.

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Summer At West Ski Resorts With Covid-19 In Mind

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Many of the usual summer activities -- mountain biking, ziplines, hiking, scenic lift rides -- will be in place in the West during the warm months. But the Covid-19 pandemic has forced resorts to tone down or fully eliminate offerings for the time being.

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Deep Into The Spring: Still Skiing And Riding To Be Had

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The 2018-2019 ski and snowboard season isn't going out quietly, as healthy snowfall through April has prompted resorts across the SnoCountry map to extend operations into May – or beyond.

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Loveland Opens For 80th Season

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Not long before it's like this at Loveland. (Loveland/Facebook)

Ever since 1936, Loveland Ski Area has been among the first mountains to open for the winter season. And 2017-18 is no different for the Continental Divide ski and snowboard area.

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Timberline To Open On Weekends

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Ready to carve the first turns of the season at Timberline. (Timberline Lodge/Facebook)

The ski and snowboard season is officially underway as Timberline on the slopes of Mt. Baker will crank up a chairlift on weekends.

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Keep On Keepin' On At Western Resorts

Hittin' the summer ski scene at Squaw. (Squaw Valley/Facebook)

Hittin' the summer ski scene at Squaw. (Squaw Valley/Facebook)

After one of the best snow season in recent times, a quartet of Western mountains will keep the lifts turning well into what should be the season for sun-bathing and surfing.

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Endless Winter: Where To Keep Skiing, Riding In West

Endless Winter: Where To Keep Skiing, Riding In West

Squaw-Alpine wants to stay open all summer. (Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows/Facebook)

A bonanza year in much of the Sierra Nevada and plenty of late-season snow in the Rockies will keep a dozen ski and snowboard resorts operating into May and beyond.

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Timberline Named Official Training Site For US Ski Team, US Snowboarding, US Freeskiing

Timberline Named Official Training Site For US Ski Team, US Snowboarding, US Freeskiing

Timberline's Palmer Snowfield in February. (Timberline)

Oregon's Timberline Lodge and Ski Area has joined Copper, Mammoth, and Soelden as official U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) training sites.


Home to the Palmer Snowfield, Timberline has long been known as a summer training site for U.S. Olympic athletes.

“Timberline has a long and storied history as a summer training site for The United States Ski Team. From Tony Sailer, Billy Kidd, Steve and Phil Mahre to Ted Ligety; from Cindy Nelson and Picabo Street to Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin ... All have trained at Timberline in the summer as well as virtually all other U.S. Olympic Alpine athletes," commends Timberline's president, Jeff Kohnstamm.

US Ski Team at Timberline

Olympic athletes in all disciplines, including alpine racing, snowboarding, freestyle and freeskiing, will participate in summer training at Timberline.

“This partnership really allows us to ramp up what we are dong there, training more extensively, across more teams,” USSA’s  Luke Bodensteiner told SnoCountry.com.

The 2017 summer training season is especially important. The 2018 Winter Olympics, taking place in PeongChang, South Korea, are only a year away.

Palmer Snowfield Timberline

“Getting time on snow in really specialized venues like Timberline are make and break for our team. Creating that access, with priority to training space, bringing teams for pretty extensive periods of time, is going to make a real difference for us in the Olympics,” Bodensteiner told us.

Although it will not eliminate the need for international travel, the ease and accessibility of the Palmer snowfield will mean less time U.S. athletes will have to be traveling for summer training.

Timberline also offers a hard-to-find facility in the summer: a half pipe.

U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing will be training in High Cascade Snowboard Camp's and Windells Camp's terrain parks, where they’ll find a full 22-foot halfpipe, 22-foot pipe with airbag, large jump to airbag, and every type of freestyle feature found in today's top terrain parks. That coupled with camp-specific handle tows will allow team members to access parks without lapping Palmer chair.

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Labor Day In The Mountains Goes To Higher Level

Labor Day In The Mountains Goes To Higher Level

Fly through the sky at Seven Springs for Labor Day fun (Seven Springs/Facebook)

The end of the summer is unofficially marked by the Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2-5), and then the long, long wait for ski and snowboard season to begin.

So before the waiting begins, get a whiff of the high-mountain air and winds in the pines by checking out the holiday festivities at resorts all around the country.

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Still Find Summer Skiing In Lower 48

Still Find Summer Skiing In Lower 48

Timberline’s Palmer Express lift usually operates June 1st through Labor Day for summer turns on Oregon’s highest peak. (Timberline/Facebook)

Some skiers and riders just can’t get enough, and they aren’t satisfied with wind surfing, whitewater rafting or plain ol’ hiking in the summer. For them, there are options out there that require some travel, a bit of hiking and plenty of sunscreen.

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Low Winter Snow Keeps Summer-Only Beartooth Basin Closed

Beartooth Basin WyomingWhen Rocky Mountain resorts have shut down for the season, there’s always been a summertime option for skiers and snowboarders: Beartooth Basin in northern Wyoming.

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Spring Skiing From Coast To Coast This Weekend

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The spring skiing and riding season rolls on with eight areas turning lifts this weekend.

 

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New Freshies Keep Skiing, Riding Strong In West

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New snow in the West is keeping the season alive and well every day at several resorts in California, Colorado, Oregon and Utah. Several other ski areas are playing the “re-open” card on weekends.

 

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