EPIC SNOW IN US SKI RESORTS
11th February 2020
Last modified on May 21st, 2021
If you’re heading west in the near future you are in for a real treat. US resorts, particularly those in Colorado and Utah, have had huge dumps. But the avalanche risk is high.
Thursday 20th February
It’s been a spectacular February for snowfall in parts of the US and Canada.
Some resorts have had around 1.5 metres of fresh snow.
Here are the latest images we have – from Mammoth Mountain in California, sent to us on Monday 17th February.
“At Mammoth Mountain, all base lodges, lifts and terrains are open for the season,” said a statement from the resort to PlanetSKI.
“The mountain is reporting a current season total at 138” at Main Lodge and 162” at the summit, with firm, machine groomed surface conditions.”
The skiing is ‘awesome’, as they like to say there.
As usual, it comes with problems.
The heavy snow has led to dangerous conditions in the backcountry.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) says there were almost 100 avalanches between 14th and 17th February, half of them large enough to bury, injure or kill.
Four people were caught, three of them in a single slide that killed two snowbike riders near Vail on Saturday (15th February).
“Backcountry travelers triggered 18 of these large avalanches,” CAIC said on Wednesday 19th.
On average, six people die in avalanches each winter in Colorado.
“As it stands at the end of February, four people have been killed in the 2020 avalanche year,” CAIC said.
“We still have a lot of the year left. Let’s work together to buck the trend! Please read the forecast before you out and match your plan to today’s conditions, carry avalanche rescue gear, and get some avalanche safety training.
“We want you to have a great rest of 2020 playing in the mountains and come home safe each and every day!”
See our latest on snow conditions in the Alps and the UK:
Our North America round up below was compiled on 11th February…
Breckenridge has had a mighty 1.5 metres, with a nice 20cm top up overnight Sunday into Monday.
Not far away in Copper Mountain the snowstorms have been described as ‘unreal’.
By Monday, the resort had recorded more than 1.2 metres of snow in 7 days with ‘lots of of pow stashes to be found!’
Vail has thanked its skiers and snowboarders for their patience and its staff for their dedication and hard work to get the mountain open in ‘epic’ conditions.
“It’s been a wild few days here at Vail with historic snowfall,” the resort said on Monday.
It’s not only the snowfall that’s been epic, however.
Some of the lift queues have been too, it seems.
This was the scene, below, at the weekend after almost 1 metre of fresh snow fell in 48 hours.
We wrote about the queues in this Skiing Secrets post.
And here’s what it was like to ski at the weekend at Aspen Highlands…
Arapahoe Basin has had more than 1 metre in four days.
“This has been quite a storm – and we are not quite done yet, the Chief Operating Officer Alan Henceroth said on Monday.
“It snowed much of the day again today. There are a few inches of snow sitting by the Flaming A right now. Everywhere I went today the skiing was excellent, deep, deep powder. Even though we were busy for a Monday, I was still finding new snow in the middle of the afternoon.”
Loveland posted the photo below on Tuesday 11th February to illustrate the amount of snow they’ve had.
It was going to be a beautiful bluebird day.
Telluride has had a more modest 15cm in the last 24 hours, with snow still falling on Tuesday morning.
Alta and Snowbird were closed from last Wednesday until the weekend with visitors and staff told to stay indoors.
The only road in and out of Alta in Little Cottonwood Canyon was blocked for days by heavy snow and a series of natural avalanches.
This one, on Friday last week, came down into a car park.
No one was hurt.
The road was re-opened on Saturday.
“We get this much snow a lot,” an Alta spokesperson said to local media.
“It’s just the way the storm came in and the way the weather was created unstable circumstances.”
For those in resort, there’s a lot of digging required before they’re going anywhere…….
It’s not too shabby across the border in Canada either.
One of our regular readers, Tord Nilson, has just sent us some images from Sunshine Village and Lake Louise near Banff in Canada.
“The Wild West in Sunshine opened yesterday; some great snow in there but it needs a little more,” said Tord.
“Avi danger quite high in there so make sure you the gear and know how to use it!”
“The Trail Crew told me that the groomers are in some of the best conditions that they’ve ever seen – incredibly impressive on that front.”
“However the temperatures have been fluctuating hugely in this part of Canada,” Tord added.
And it is looking pretty good elsewhere in Canada too.
For all the weather news from the Alps, see our latest snow report, with updates from the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove, who is in the Aosta Valley in Italy.