What may have started as a lackluster ski and snowboard year has taken a turn-around. Late January storm cycles rolled into the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies, one after the other. Snow piled up in feet rather than inches, which has catapulted ski resorts into solid coverage for February.
While skiers in early January bemoaned thinner than normal snow coverage and dodged rocks on slopes, all that changed in a matter of days. In mid-January, the weather pattern altered across the region. The high pressure abated, dropping feet of snow on resorts in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
For many, the onslaught of late January snow brought the base snow depth back up to normal. For some resorts, the snow pack more than doubled in depth within just a few days.
In Washington, Mt. Baker gained more than nine feet of snow in less than two weeks. In places on the mountain, the snow base has hit 176 inches deep. Even low elevation ski areas such as the Summit at Snoqualmie and Alpental started piling up snow with a two-foot overnight dump.
Snow pelted the Oregon resorts, including Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline Lodge, and Mt. Bachelor, with five feet of snow in the first storm cycle. Continual snow pushed the base up to 100 inches at those three resorts by Jan. 25. Mt. Ashland re-opened after closing due to low snow, and Cooper Spur Resort opened for the season.
In Idaho, more than five feet of snow fell in one week at Brundage Mountain Resort. Photo courtesy of Brundage Mountain Resort.
In Idaho, the late January storms turned conditions around with resorts picking up three to six feet of snow in just a few days. Base depths jumped up in the last week to more than five feet at Sun Valley and seven feet at Schweitzer Mountain. Storms gave out enough snow finally to get Bogus Basin and Soldier Mountain open for the season.
Montana ski resorts got a big boost, too. Whitefish Mountain Resort garnered enough snow to open its last lift in Hellroaring Basin. Big Sky, Blacktail Mountain, Lost Trail Powder Mountain, and Montana Snowbowl lead the state in base depth with more than six feet of snow.
In Wyoming, four feet of snow blanketed Jackson Hole in the first storm cycle. Jackson and Grand Targhee’s base depths shot up to more than six feet this week. See the conditions for yourself in the Jan. 24 video from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort:
The forecast across the region bodes well for skiers and riders. February is expected to bring more snow storms to the region, setting ski resorts up for vacationers over President's Weekend. For up-to-date snow reports on individual ski resorts in the region, check here.