It is certainly a deep December in Jackson Hole. Overnight Wednesday and into Thursday, Jackson Hole received ample amounts of snowfall. Their 5 am report claimed 5 inches at the base with 7 inches at mid-mountain and still snowing hard… like really hard. Basically all lifts spun on a delayed opening due to avalanche mitigation hazards, but once they were up and running it was game on.
The snow down low around the Apré Vous area was rather dense and skied pretty tough, but it’s the start for a killer base as there are still deep creek beds and exposed rock. Once skiers and riders got onto Casper and Teton lifts around 9:45 people really began to get the good turns. At around 10:15 Bridger Gondola and the Tram opened with access to a great array of terrain including Thunder Chair and Sublet. The snow was extremely good off Thunder and by the time anyone got to it there was about 18 inches of the stuff. Unfortunately, terrain was limited as the JH team still had some preparations to make.
Another 5-7 inches fell through the night on Jackson Hole, according to the 5 am report, creating more work for patrollers and covering more terrain. All lifts spun at about the same time, opening around 10:15 am. With even fewer people at the resort on Friday compared to Thursday- most likely due to the fact that it pissed rain through most of the night until around 8 am at the lower elevations- it will go down as one of the days to remember for this season.
Once all lifts opened the goods were ripe for the picking. Huge terrain expansions came with the openings too, Tower Three Chute and almost all the Mushrooms opened off of Thunder and Sublet had similar options with close to all terrain being accessible. With nearly three feet over the two days and coming down even harder Friday morning, it appeared that Christmas had come early. Everyone was sporting snow beards and grinning from ear to ear as they regaled one another each chair ride with tails of their previous lap and how good conditions were for December.
As great as conditions appeared to be once on the upper mountain, there were very much two faces to this storm. On the descent from the upper mountain chairs skiing became pretty difficult. With the addition of over a foot of extremely dense snow and even some rain to boot, the lower mountain did not ski well nor did it allow for much terrain openings down low. This storm is starting a great base no doubt, but they still have a ways to go for the lower elevations to ski as they should
However, on the bright side, JH is reporting that on Friday 12/16 a base depth of 82 inches in Rendezvous Bowl off of the tram marks the deepest snowpack on record for that date and they’re also reporting breaking the 200 inch snowfall mark for the season which bodes very well for them.