December started out looking quite bleak for ski resorts. On December 7, the The Snow Industry Letter trade newsletter was citing the lack of snow in various parts of the country. Headlines screamed! Mt Bachelor had to postpone its opening day. Stowe Mountain Resort, VT, had measured 37 inches of snow this season. Killington in the central part of the state had measured 36 inches. n Colorado, there has been just 23 inches at Purgatory Resort near Durango and only 35 inches at Keystone Resort. Wolf Creek and Arapahoe Basin all had 36 inches at that point. In fact, A tweet around that time said “It’s been 224 consecutive days (and counting) since it snowed a measurable amount in Denver, and it broke the record for the latest date for a first snowfall – a record that has held since snowfall records began in 1882.”
In some parts of the country things are changing almost as rapidly as the spread of Omicron. In other places, not so much, according to a recent story on CNN. In general, In the Sierra Nevada mountains, isolated snow could pile high enough to reach the second story of a building — up to 10 feet over the weekend, according to meteorologists at the Sacramento National Weather Service. CNN is reporting that an atmospheric river is dumping you-know-what in many areas just in time to “save Christmas”. Mammoth is reporting the most recent snowfall in California with 21″ on the ground.
Skiable terrain has been limited at many mountain resorts and long lift lines are being reported at New England locations despite the lack of snow as evidenced by the photos above from 12/19. Many Vermont resorts are reporting only a fraction of their available terrain. Even though the state has gotten some natural snow, the majority of open trails are covered with machine-made snow. The Facebook page belonging to Skiology Matt tracks weather conditions and weather related results.
On the other hand, some sea level coastal cities like Portland and Seattle could get snow and the chances of that happening are one to three percent. The storm ssystem is expected to hit the Rocky Mountain region as well. In general, a white Christmas on many places if iffy this year and seeing snow on the ground is what motivates a lot of people to head for the slopes.
CNN has published a story showing a “snow map” indicating parts of the country that are likely to see a white Christmas.
But what isn’t clear from the map is where these probabilities have changed. CNN crunched the numbers for more than 2,000 locations that have ever had a chance of a white Christmas in NOAA’s normals data.An incredible 64% of those locations have a decreased chance of a white Christmas in the new normals data compared to the previous 30-year average (which took into account weather from 1981 to 2010).
OnTheSnow is a good resources for skiers and snowboarders who want to find out how much snow has fallen or is expected to fall at their favorite ski/snowboard resorts.