Us Ski USA - California

Welcome to the Ski USA page, providing a regular round-up of the skiing conditions and current snow reports for the main ski resorts in the United States. Over recent years some of the best and consistent piste conditions have been reported at Aspen (Colorado), Alta (Utah), The Canyons (Utah), Winter Park (Colorado), Big Sky (Montana) and Jackson Hole (Wyoming). However, in any given week or season the best slope conditions may be found at a number of other North American resorts so keep an eye on the snow forecasts and reports if you are planning a last minute trip.

For off-piste powder, Alta, Aspen, Big Sky, The Canyons, Winter Park and Loveland have proven among the most consistent in the country over several seasons but check out the reports below for the latest news. For big snowfalls and accumulated snow depths the Californian resorts of Squaw Valley and Mammoth feature strongly in the records as do the dry powder resorts of Solitude, Alta and Snowbird. Timberline in Oregon also has an enviable snow record.

With more than 500 ski areas spread across some 38 US states, America is one of the world’s leading ski nations, clocking up around 50 million skiers on the slopes each winter.

US ski resorts are spread right across the country from East Coast to West. There are also resorts in Alaska and it’s sometimes possible to ski in Hawaii on the slopes of 4205m high Mauna Kea, although there are no ski lifts there.

You’ll find a great diversity of terrain when you ski USA from the comparatively low lying mountains of New England and the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia to the south, to smaller hills across the MidWestern prairies, to the Rocky Mountains and Sierras on the West. The Rockies stretch over a mile above sea level at resort height in some cases, resulting in almost half of the 20 highest ski lifts in the world being located in Colorado.

What’s common to this diverse selection of ski areas, which range from small private hills owned by schools and military bases to major international resorts like Aspen and Vail famed around the world, is a dedication to high service standards. When you’re skiing USA these include high quality on the slopes with well groomed, normally uncrowded slopes with uplift generally provided by chairlifts, gondolas or cable cars (known as trams in North America) rather than drag lifts. Indeed the chairlift, as well as the hot tub, are both American inventions credited to Sun Valley in Idaho.

Some ski areas in the USA date back the best part of a century. Most were established by pioneers, often on a shoestring budget with just a simple tow lift converted from a car, lorry or even motorbike engine. But decades of gradual growth have led many of these original small, simple set-ups to become major international resorts – Mammoth Mountain in California is a good example of this.

Others were set up by emigrants from the Alps, most famously Cranmore Mountain Resort in New Hampshire which was established with help from Austrian downhill ski technique pioneer Hannes Schneider from the Austrian Arlberg who arrived in the US having refused to join the Nazi propaganda machine when they took over Austria in the 1930s. During the Second World War he helped train the 10th Mountain Division of the U. S. Army, some veterans of which also became resort developers after the war.

Famous resorts like Vail, now the largest ski area in the US, were established later with strong European involvement. Other resorts like Aspen and Breckenridge were former 19th century mining settlements that found a new lease of life when ‘white gold’ was struck.

Along with growth on the mountains, the 1990s and first decade of the current century saw a boom in resort ‘real estate’ developments with hotels, condominiums, shops and restaurants created at the bases of ski slopes which in some cases had previously only had car parks. This period – which slowed dramatically from 2008 due to the global economic situation – led to an era of corporations taking over from individual families, and currently four or five large companies own and operate around 50 leading US resorts between them.

In Eastern North America snowmaking developed in the 1950s and rapidly became an essential requirement at most of the ski areas in the region, leading to it becoming known as “the snowmaking capital of the world.”

In the West of the country, which is best known for its destination resorts particularly in states like California, Utah and Colorado, a major selling point is abundant, deep powder snow which is the norm if not always guaranteed. One of the snowiest places on earth are Alaska and Washington State in the North West of the country where falls of up to 50 feet (16 metres) can be recorded in one winter, more than any other ski region on earth.

Criticisms of US skiing from some, when compared to Europe, is that ski areas are mostly smaller, lift tickets more expensive, spectacular scenery is rare and the resorts and slopes are too sanitised and bland at some of the most corporately run areas. The kind of family run, home-cooking small mountain hut is quite rare in the US where large cafeterias serving fast food are more common. However many of these ‘flaws’ for some are seen as assets by others, which when combined with the other points listed in this article combine to make the US ski experience the best on earth.

And despite the well groomed pistes, many resorts have built reputations for challenging off piste terrain, including Jackson Hole in Wyoming, Alyeska in Alaska and Squaw Valley in California.

The country’s positive attitude to children is also seen as an asset for families in most cases, with children praised for their efforts in nursery and ski school.

The US is also the home of snowboarding with Jake Burton inventing the sport in Vermont in the late 1970s. Stratton there has organised snowboarding contests longer than any other. However the country is also home to three resorts that still ban snowboarding: Alta and Deer Valley, both in Utah, and Mad River Glen in Vermont.
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USA - California: latest snow conditions round-up


USA Great skiing was on offer across the USA, with light snow falling across the Rocky Mountains to give a lively fresh covering of powder to play in on Thursday. In Colorado and Utah 2-3cm was recorded widely at our featured resorts, topping up the already excellent conditions. Steamboat (170cm) bucked the trend following a surprise 23cm of overnight snow, which thanks to temperatures as low as -10C resulted in some light and fluffy off piste snow. Most lifts are open across the state so head to the big resorts of Aspen (155/201cm), Breckenridge (147cm) and Vail (160cm) for the largest amount of available terrain. Some fantastic skiing was also available across California, with the resort of Mammoth (266/419cm) boasting the deepest base depth in the country. The sun was shining and with all terrain open at most of the resorts in the state it certainly is a great time to be out in the Californian Mountains. Sadly the same could not be said for the East Coast on Thursday, where mild conditions resulted in spring-like skiing at all of our featured resorts. Expect the pistes to firm up rapidly throughout the day as temperatures cool and drop to almost -10C by Friday. Some fresh snow is possible over the weekend which is great news as this should help to soften the piste surface. The outlook is also looking positive.

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Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in USA - California. Fresh snow is forecast at 0resorts. Powder is reported at 0 resorts and 12 are reporting good piste conditions.

All resorts

Best piste conditions (12)

Ski resorts of USA - California, alphabetically

Bottom Mid Top
Resort Webcam Top
snow depth
top and bottom
Good piste
on-piste
Powder
off-piste
Fresh snow depth
last snow
Fresh snow depth
next 9 days
0–3 | 3–6 | 6–9
snow (cm)
Weather Next 5 days weather forecast.
Freezing level (m)
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri

(2083m — 2632m)

snow report yesterday

277
185
Packed Powder
clear
clear
partially cloudy
cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 2358 m
3950m 3800m 3600m 3650m 3350m

(1981m — 2164m)

Alta Sierra at Shirley Meadows webcam
clear
clear
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 2072 m
3950m 4000m 3900m 3800m 3550m

(2194m — 2438m)

snow report yesterday

198
152
Packed Powder
clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2316 m
3950m 3850m 3700m 3700m 3450m

(2177m — 2684m)

snow report yesterday

132
102
Machine Groomed
32
clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2430 m
3850m 4050m 4000m 3900m 3750m

(2012m — 2593m)

snow report yesterday

211
211
Packed Powder
clear
clear
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2302 m
3950m 3850m 3650m 3650m 3400m

(2179m — 2684m)

33
clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2432 m
3900m 4100m 4000m 3900m 3750m

(2195m — 2378m)

snow report 2 days ago

254
254
Variable Conditions
clear
clear
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 2286 m
3950m 3800m 3600m 3600m 3350m

(2133m — 2652m)

snow report yesterday

292
216
Packed Powder
2
clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 2392 m
3450m 3700m 3650m 3600m 3350m

(2143m — 2655m)

China Peak Mountain Resort webcam
clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2399 m
3950m 3900m 3750m 3700m 3450m

(1859m — 2073m)

clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 1966 m
3950m 3800m 3600m 3550m 3400m

(2012m — 2499m)

snow report yesterday

213
178
Machine Groomed
clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2256 m
3950m 3850m 3650m 3650m 3400m

(2143m — 2362m)

snow report yesterday

292
190
Powder
clear
clear
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 2252 m
3950m 3800m 3600m 3600m 3350m

(1923m — 2015m)

clear
clear
partially cloudy
cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 1969 m
3900m 3800m 3650m 3650m 3400m

(2002m — 3068m)

snow report 3 days ago

210
210

Excellent

Fresh
25 cm
6 days ago
clear
clear
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2535 m
3800m 3850m 3650m 3650m 3400m

(1899m — 2402m)

snow report yesterday

257
165
Variable Conditions
clear
clear
partially cloudy
cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 2150 m
3900m 3850m 3650m 3650m 3400m

(2300m — 3089m)

snow report 2 days ago

137
97
Packed Powder
clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2694 m
3350m 3750m 3700m 3650m 3450m

(2377m — 2987m)

snow report yesterday

231
226
Packed Powder
clear
clear
partially cloudy
cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 2682 m
3900m 3850m 3650m 3650m 3400m

(2424m — 3369m)

snow report 3 days ago

419
266

Excellent

Varied
30 cm
38 days ago
clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2896 m
3600m 3800m 3700m 3650m 3450m

(2012m — 2499m)

snow report yesterday

61
36
Hard Pack
11
clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2256 m
3950m 4050m 4000m 3850m 3700m

(1981m — 2621m)

snow report yesterday

on 1 Jan
5
clear
clear
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 2301 m
4000m 4100m 4000m 3900m 3700m

(1676m — 2103m)

snow report yesterday

Mt Shasta webcam
239
168
Variable Conditions
clear
partially cloudy
clear
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 1890 m
4000m 3700m 3450m 3450m 3200m

(1941m — 2624m)

snow report yesterday

234
135
Machine Groomed
partially cloudy
clear
partially cloudy
cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 2282 m
3850m 3850m 3650m 3650m 3400m

(1768m — 2255m)

snow report yesterday

on 1 Jan
clear
clear
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 2012 m
4000m 3800m 3600m 3600m 3350m

(2023m — 2697m)

snow report yesterday

277
152
Machine Groomed
clear
clear
partially cloudy
cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 2360 m
3900m 3800m 3650m 3650m 3400m

(2133m — 2498m)

snow report yesterday

132
102
Machine Groomed
32
clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2316 m
3950m 4100m 4050m 3900m 3750m

(2041m — 2389m)

snow report yesterday

91
61
Machine Groomed
clear
clear
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 2215 m
4000m 4100m 4050m 3950m 3750m

(2057m — 2255m)

snow report 3 days ago

Soda Springs webcam
122
30
Variable Conditions
clear
clear
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 2156 m
4000m 3800m 3600m 3600m 3350m

(1874m — 2743m)

snow report 3 days ago

317
182

Excellent

Varied
18 cm
8 days ago
clear
clear
partially cloudy
cloudy
clear
Mid station 2308 m
3950m 3800m 3600m 3600m 3350m

(1554m — 1707m)

clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
Mid station 1630 m
4050m 3750m 3500m 3550m 3300m

(2098m — 2555m)

snow report yesterday

Sugar Bowl webcam
343
208
Packed Powder
clear
clear
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2326 m
3950m 3800m 3600m 3600m 3350m

(2042m — 2291m)

3
clear
clear
clear
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2166 m
3950m 4050m 3950m 3850m 3650m

(2057m — 2240m)

snow report yesterday

356
267
Packed Powder
clear
clear
partially cloudy
partially cloudy
clear
Mid station 2148 m
3900m 3800m 3650m 3650m 3350m