Adventurers seeking ultra-deep powder can find salvation at these 5 ski-and-snowboard meccas
The 2016-2017 winter season will be one to remember for skiers and snowboarders thanks to record breaking blower snow totals across the West. This is due to an juggernaut of storms that picked up steam in late November and continued all through December, January, and into the beginning of February. The storm train has been dumping on much of West but here’s a quick look at five locations that have stood out among the pack.
California & Nevada border:
Instead of bringing delight to skiers and snowboarders eager for fresh powder, the intense snowstorms that buried the mountains of California and Nevada under up to 10 feet of snow in January caused several winter resorts to close.
15 feet of snow has fallen at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows since the beginning of the New Year, topping the resort’s 45-year historic record for January snowfall of 175 inches during the 1981-82 season. The resort has already reached two thirds of its average annual snowfall of 450 inches with months left to go in the season and is gearing up to once again host the longest season in Tahoe. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is open with top to bottom skiing and riding at both mountains. Terrain will continue to open as resort teams work hard to dig out buried chairlifts. The massive amount of snow combined with high winds and road closures shut down the Woodward Tahoe Ski Area in California, which referred to the storm as #Snowpocalypse2017.
Nine feet of snow in three days also shuttered California’s Kirkwood Mountain Resort in California, and road closures and other complications from the storm likewise left Nevada’s Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe unable to welcome the normal stream of snowsports crowds.
Mammoth Mountain, California
With snow totals exceeding 214% or normal, California’s Mammoth Mountain is poised to break some records if the snow keeps up. The last time Mammoth was on track with this much snow was the 1994 – 1995 season. That was Mammoth Mountain’s longest season, totaling over ten months, with the resort operating from October 8 until August 13. Mammoth typically receives an average of 400 inches of snow per season, but has accumulated at least 35 feet (420″) of snow so far in 2016-17. Plans are on tap to keep the lifts turning until at least the 4th of July. Thanks to record snowfall totals this year, such as 20 feet (240″) of snow dumping down in January alone, there’ll be many more days to surf the white wave to come.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming *UPDATE BELOW*
Jackson, Wyoming and the neighboring resort of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort have been hardest hit in the most recent weeks of February. With current snow totals exceeding 140% of normal, Wyoming’s iconic ski area was forced to close for a few days after receiving more than 30 inches of snow. The storm crippled the area and put the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort over the 450-inch mark for the entire season. 17 electrical poles were downed due to the storm, and the Teton Village was declared a “state of emergency.” at one point the area was listed as a “disaster area” after three of four highways had to be closed, Powder magazine reported.
*UPDATE 2/21/2017* – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort closes 2/21/17 as they dig out from even MORE snow. Mountain Operations Staff at JHMR have been working hard all day to dig the ski area out and ensure safe conditions, but high winds and 18 inches of new, heavy wet snow have made the task impossible. Refunds were issued to all skiers/riders. If you’re going to Jackson in Feb., you should prepare for epic conditions with the latest snow totals coming in at over 470″.
Snowbird and Alta, Utah
Receiving enough snow to invoke the rare, though legendary, “Inter-Lodge” rule during the first week of February, Snowbird and neighboring Alta are doing well with an epic Wasatch snowpack at about 170 percent of average (340 inches). Inter-Lodge is a legally backed safety measure employed by the resort areas to prevent accidental deaths from avalanche conditions above the resort base areas and roads.
We found this POV video on Vimeo highlighting one lucky rider’s pow session at Alta to give you an idea of what we’re talking about here.
Crested Butte, Colorado
At the closing of December, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) had received over 11 inches of snow in the last 24 hours, and was then reporting the deepest storm totals throughout the state of Colorado. It appeared that winter had arrived in full force for the holiday season. The guests and local residents were ecstatic with the snow from mother nature and the stoke levels are high in the lift line. Since then, it hasn’t let up. The Mountain Operations team and Ski Patrol continue to work diligently to maintain the open terrain. Old Man Winter does not appear to be going anywhere ensuring this season will be filled with lots snow!