2016-17 Ski Season Progress Report: Whistler and Sunshine, BC Likely Best Early Skiing

Robin Azer |
Squaw Valley: First Major Ski Resort to Open for the 2016-17 Season? Credit: TahoeActivities.com
Squaw Valley: 
Credit: TahoeActivities.com

2016-17 Ski Season Progress Report as of November 13, 2016

October 2016 was exceptionally stormy over the northwestern quarter of North America. However, most of the moisture was subtropical so snowfall was confined to the highest elevations. So far in November storms have been confined mainly to the Northwest and Western Canada. Most of the western US has been dry and exceptionally warm, so there is minimal snow on the ground at most areas. Early season planning should generally assume the season is about 2 weeks benind schedule. Postponed openings at areas like Grand Targhee, Breckenridge and Copper Mt. are red flags. Whistler and Sunshine rate to have the best early skiing this season.

California: The Sierra had a major storm mid-October with snow levels in the 9,000 foot range and a smaller one at the end of the month. Mammoth had 10 inches at Main Lodge, 3+ feet at the top of the mountain and opened on schedule Nov. 10 with 9% of terrain. Mt. Rose had 15-30 inches snow but the base is 4-7 inches. Squaw Valley had 2-11 inches snow and lots of rain.

Pacific Northwest: The region had a record wet October but the rain/snow line was above most of the ski areas. The Whistler alpine is the conspicuous exception. Cams show a good snowpack at the top of the Whistler gondola and there are anecdotal reports of a 50-inch alpine base. Whistler should open in a week or so, though the lower mountain will likely need to be downloaded. Mt. Bachelor had 27 inches in October, 7 so far in November and has a 1-18 inch base. Mt. Hood had 12 inches total snowfall.

Canadian Rockies and Interior B.C.: Snowfall has been more widespread in this region, though only 1/4 to 1/3 of it since Nov. 1. Snowfall and base depths: Big White (15 inches, 6 inches), Red Mt. (25, 16), Whitewater (69, 41), Revelstoke (111, 27), Kicking Horse (71, 27). Sunshine claims to be half open on a 24-29 inch base. The 36 inches reported snowfall is possibly since Nov. 1.

Revelstoke, B.C. photo: revelstoke
Revelstoke, B.C. PC: Revelstoke Mountain Resort

U. S. Northern Rockies:Grand Targhee had 59 inches snowfall but only 2 inches of that in November so it has postponed its opening. Mid-mountain Jackson Hole had 26 inches October snowfall but there is now no base. Brundage had 4 inches snowfall and has a one inch base.

Utah: Utah was far enough south and east to miss most of October’s action. There was a bit of snow mid-month but later rain washed it out. Alta reports 4 inches snowfall, but cams at Alta and Snowbird show little snow, even up high with the warm November weather.


Northern and Central Colorado:A-Basin opened a run on snowmaking October 21 and is now 4% open. Loveland opened Nov. 9 and has had 7 inches snowfall. Copper had 11 inches in October, 4 in November and postponed its opening along with Beckenridge. Cams show minimal natural snow at Steamboat and Winter Park.

Southern and Western Colorado: This region has been dry. The Rocky Mountain Biological Lab at Gothic (between Crested Butte and Aspen) has had 13 inches season snowfall, less than a quarter of normal. Wolf Creek has had 5 inches snowfall.

Northeast:Killington opened October 25 with a mix of manmade and 17.5 inches snow but only Bretton Woods has opened as well in the East. Other snowfall totals: Sugarbush 23, Whiteface 16, Cannon 4.

*Report from BestSnow.net

Bretton Woods NH
Bretton Woods NH

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