With wacky weather across the United States last winter skiers of all regions pondered where the snow was best in 2017-2018. Ultimately what was a trying season for many areas reminded us that you never really can estimate what will come next season. Here are some thoughts summarized from the regional capitals of United States skiing.
A slow snow year in Utah directly dropped skier visits and indicated how important conditions are for tourism. Low snow is disappointing for Utah where powder is the prized commodity and the ski industry is enormous. Unseasonably warm dry spells and lingering pollution in the Salt Lake Valley made the powder panic real when the snow started to arrive late season. Utah skiers are looking for just a little more luck next season and a return to a more average winter snowpack.
Park City: 2017-2018 Snowfall: 167” Average: 290”
Following a whirlwind season in Montana and Idaho many locals wondered if they would ever see snow that good again. Resorts in the North posted banner years and many extended their seasons due to healthy bases. As many reliable snowpacks suffered last winter skiers were looking to Montana and Idaho with great envy. More of the same next season would be a good thing in Montana and Idaho.
Schweitzer: 2017-2018 Snowfall: 434” Average: 300”
The slow start felt in Colorado and Wyoming was unfortunately a early predictor for the season that lay ahead. Some of the largest and most famous resorts in the United States struggled to open terrain and keep the slopes covered even in the heart of winter. Resorts in lower elevation Southern and Western Colorado took a real hit with record low snow and long breaks between storms. As the season ended some areas saw snow totals catch up to more normal levels but local skiers were still jonesing for better conditions. Spoiled skiers in Colorado and Wyoming are hoping next season provides more of a return to normal and the fantastic conditions they are used to.
Beaver Creek: 2017-2018 Snowfall: 193” Average: 325”
After a record low snow year for Arizona, and New Mexico many were already expressing concern for the imminent fire season in January. Snow can be a very fickle thing for the Southern resorts normally but the 2017-2018 season raised discussions on global warming, future drought and snow trends. Southwest skiers are hoping for a major weather shift in the coming season for better ski conditions and a healthier natural environment.
Arizona Snowbowl: 2017-2018 Snowfall: 99” Average: 260”
Expectations ran high for California and the Pacific Northwest following a strong season last year. While conditions and snow totals never reached epic levels for most of the West Coast, drought prone areas were happy to see any snow. Hit or miss seasons have plagued the West Coast the last 10 years and most skiers just wanted consistent skiing. As we look to the future of our sport many ski areas are wondering what all these average seasons will do for business. West Coast skiers and riders are hinging on a stronger winter this season with more frequent storms and colder temps.
Mammoth Mountain 2017-2018 Snowfall: 274” Average: 400”
The extremes of hot and cold weather made for an interesting ski season on the East Coast. Several NorEasters brought good snow to the East but warm spells in between hurt conditions and diminished the storms effect. Even though the East is not known for favorable powder like it’s West Coast counterparts many skiers were happy for the good snow days that came scattered throughout the season. Looking ahead to next season those on the East Coast will hope for more consistent cold weather but have tuning equipment ready to address whatever snow conditions present themselves.
Jay Peak 2017-2018 Snowfall: 361” Average: 355”