Wow, our New England skiing melted down faster than the Red Sox in September. Over the weekend, many ski resorts closed for the season ahead of schedule. A week of 80 degrees and sunshine will do that. The last resorts standing, still skiing this week, are Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Saddleback, Loon, Waterville Valley, Jay Peak, Stowe, Sugarbush and Killington.
The common denominator among these New England ski areas: serious snowmaking and elevation. And it's not over, Boyne resorts Loon, Sunday River and Sugarloaf have vowed to make snow when cold temps permit – likely tonight and tomorrow. Saddleback is also poised to make more snow on key trails, they host Pond Skimming and the Park Shark Challenge next weekend. Bretton Woods and Wildcat may re-open next weekend.
It has been a difficult season across the country as well, with late snow starts in Colorado, Utah, and California too. But it was not a snowless winter. There are a few resorts that got the lion’s share and are still skiing on deep base depths. If you care (I understand if you want to forget the whole 2011-12 ski scene), here are a few big benefactors of snow.
In Oregon, Mt Bachelor, Mt Hood and Timberline received 40 inches of snow just last week, they are wide open skiing on a 14 foot base, with a season yield of 35 feet (420 inches) so far. Washington's Crystal and Stevens Pass have also been dumped on this winter.
Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole in Wyoming have received 31 and 29 feet of snow respectively this season (most of which arrived after I visited in January - funny - ha!), considerably more than Vail's 17 and Park City’s 18 feet.
Mammoth has 6-8 foot base depths and fresh snow, the California resort received 17 feet of snow this season, the majority of which has fallen in March. Lake Tahoe ski resorts received late season snow, after a slow start. Currently Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows - now on an interchangeable lift ticket, plus Heavenly and Kirkwood - both Vail Resorts now, are open with 70-144 inch base depths.
Whistler/Blackcomb, Lake Louise and Sunshine in the Canadian Rockies had record snow years too. But Europe takes the big snow cake, St Anton and Solden in Austria received 25 feet of snow in one winter snow storm, the winter was consistently cold, they still have base depths of 12-14 feet. That’s where my ski tips are pointing for spring skiing.
Mammoth Photo by Greg Burke
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.