AMERICA ASKS: WHERE’S OUR SNOW?
14th November 2016
With the Thanksgiving holiday a week away, wannabe skiers in the US are desperate for what the Alps have lots of – snow. And at last it’s started snowing!
Thanksgiving, which this year falls on 24th November, traditionally marks the start of the season for many resorts in the US.
The long weekend is when many skiers and snowboarders flock to the slopes for their first turns of the winter.
But this year there has been a distinct lack of the white stuff.
The snow drought has been exacerbated by unseasonably warm temperatures which have prevented snow-making.
It’s caused problems over the border in Canada too.
On Wednesday the International Ski Federation announced that it had been forced to call off the first men’s downhill and Super G World Cup races of the season.
They were due to take place at Lake Louise on 26th and 27th November but were cancelled “due to warm temperatures, lack of snow and unfavourable weather forecasts”.
There is snow in Lake Louise, which opens to the public on Friday 18th November, but not enough for racing.
But finally the weather is turning more wintry.
Forecasters said they expected a snowstorm to swing into the west from midweek, though it was unclear how much it would dump on the ski resorts of Colorado and Utah before heading eastwards.
At least the snow is now falling.
Only a couple of US resorts have managed to open so far.
Arapahoe Basin and Loveland, both in Colorado, were able to make enough artificial snow during a cold snap to open a limited number of runs.
Mammoth Mountain in California is one of the few areas to have had some natural snowfall. It opened on 10th November.
But many other ski areas had to put back their planned openings as we reported here.
There are lots of crossed fingers that the wintry blast will deliver enough snow for the busy Thanksgiving period, but resort owners are not panicking.
Snowbird in Utah was due to open last Friday, 11th November, but was unable to.
The opening date was initially put back until 19th November, but then delayed again.
On Tuesday the resort said it hoped to announce a new estimated opening date this coming weekend “as we get a feel for the temps and weather”.
And late on Wednesday, Snowbird shared this photo with the simple message: “It begins”.
According to KSL News output on 16th November, the storm should deliver some 6 inches to 12 inches forecast for Snowbird by the weekend.
With temperatures dropping Snowbird has begun operating 55 snow cannons with the aim of opening in time for Thanksgiving.
Aspen Mountain and Snowmass in Colorado are due to open on Thanksgiving Day.
The Aspen Snowmass Facebook page shared this photo on Tuesday, adding the message “Keep those snow dances coming”.
The snow dances appeared to work and one local out and about on Thursday was very happy about it!
Copper Mountain, also in Colorado, says it now plans to open this Friday, a week later than originally scheduled.
“Our top priority is to provide our guests with a high quality and safe surface for Opening Day,” said Gary Rodgers, president and general manager of Copper Mountain Resort.
“The decision to delay Opening Day is always difficult and is not one we make lightly. Our teams have been working around the clock to prepare the mountain for the upcoming season, but we do need a little more cooperation from Mother Nature.
“We are eager to welcome our loyal guests back to Copper on November 18.”
Keystone, owned by Vail Resorts, is also aiming to open on Friday.
It has been able to operate its snow cannons, and has been running them non-stop for 12-hour overnight stints.
“We’re thrilled to open for skiing and riding this Friday,” said Mike Goar, vice president and chief operating officer for Keystone Resort.
“I’m incredibly proud of everything the resort teams have been able to accomplish to prepare the mountain for our guests.
“We’re all ready to welcome winter!”
A blog on the Keystone website reported the exciting news of the impending storm, adding: “Winter is certainly coming. Keep up the #snowpantsdance!”
That’s one way of doing it.
Or, since street protests are in vogue after Donald Trump’s victory in the Presidential election, you could follow the lead of these “angry” snowsports enthusiasts in Steamboat, Colorado.
We can’t argue with that!
See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.
PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news