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 Most US ski areas are open now meaning around half the world's total of already-open areas, an estimated 500 or more resorts, are in the US. The good news is that after a largely dry November (following a snowy October in the Rockies) it has been dumping down in most areas; good timing for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend just passed. And nowhere has been snowier than California where ski areas were forced to close at times due to the volume of snow.

This follows a very dry autumn up to a week or so ago. Kirkwood (142/152cm) has reported one of the biggest 7-day totals with 142cm (nearly 5ft) of snow, with Bear Valley (142/142cm) not far behind with 116cm (nearly 4ft) of fresh. Many other areas in the state have reported 60-90cm (2-3ft) of fresh snow. It's been snowy across most of the rest of the country too, from coast to coast. Healthy 30-60cm falls almost everywhere.

Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in USA - California. Fresh snow is forecast at 32 resorts. Powder is reported at 5 resorts and 11 are reporting good piste conditions.

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Recent Eyeball Snow Reports for USA - California

All resorts

Best powder (5)Best piste conditions (11)

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)
Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed

(2083m — 2632m)

snow report today

135
51

Fresh

Fresh
19 cm
on 8 Dec
25
2
5
heavy snow
cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2358 m
2150m 1800m 2350m 2700m 2600m

(1981m — 2164m)

snow report 2 days ago

Alta Sierra at Shirley Meadows webcam
5 cm
2 days ago
4
light rain
snow showers
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 2072 m
2650m 2300m 2750m 3450m 2950m

(2177m — 2684m)

snow report today

91
76
Packed Powder 10 cm
2 days ago
rain showers
snow showers
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 2430 m
3200m 2650m 2700m 3450m 3350m

(2012m — 2593m)

snow report today

135
135
Powder 8 cm
today
26
4
2
moderate snow
snow showers
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 2302 m
2350m 1950m 2550m 2650m 2650m

(2179m — 2684m)

snow report 2 days ago

11 cm
2 days ago
1
rain showers
snow showers
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 2432 m
3200m 2600m 2700m 3450m 3350m

(2195m — 2378m)

snow report today

122
122
Powder 20 cm
on 8 Dec
23
2
3
heavy snow
light snow
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2286 m
2100m 1800m 2350m 2700m 2550m

(2133m — 2652m)

snow report today

86
61
Packed Powder 5 cm
on 8 Dec
19
1
light snow
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 2392 m
2400m 2100m 2600m 3050m 2650m

(2143m — 2655m)

snow report on 8 Dec

8 cm
on 8 Dec
18
1
light snow
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 2399 m
2400m 2050m 2700m 3100m 2750m

(1859m — 2073m)

snow report on 8 Dec

9 cm
on 8 Dec
8
moderate snow
light snow
clear
cloudy
cloudy
Mid station 1966 m
2050m 1950m 2250m 2500m 2450m

(2012m — 2499m)

snow report today

91
38
Machine Groomed 10 cm
today
17
4
light snow
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 2256 m
2300m 2000m 2700m 2700m 2650m

(2143m — 2362m)

snow report yesterday

20 cm
on 8 Dec
23
2
4
heavy snow
light snow
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2252 m
2100m 1800m 2350m 2700m 2550m

(1923m — 2015m)

snow report today

1 cm
today
20
1
heavy snow
cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 1969 m
2150m 1900m 2450m 2750m 2600m

(2002m — 3068m)

snow report today

Heavenly webcam
157
109
Packed Powder 10 cm
today
20
1
4
moderate snow
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 2535 m
2250m 2050m 2600m 2750m 2650m

(1899m — 2402m)

snow report today

84
38
Powder 18 cm
today
22
2
heavy snow
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2150 m
2200m 1950m 2500m 2750m 2600m

(2300m — 3089m)

snow report yesterday

opens in 14 days 6 cm
on 8 Dec
22
light snow
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 2694 m
2350m 2050m 2550m 3050m 2600m

(2377m — 2987m)

snow report today

155
145
Packed Powder 13 cm
today
30
3
5
moderate snow
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2682 m
2300m 1950m 2600m 2600m 2650m

(2424m — 3369m)

snow report today

165
102
Packed Powder 8 cm
on 8 Dec
25
light snow
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 2896 m
2350m 2050m 2600m 3050m 2600m

(2012m — 2499m)

snow report today

76
30
Machine Groomed 8 cm
2 days ago
1
light rain
snow showers
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 2256 m
3100m 2500m 2800m 3550m 3450m

(1981m — 2621m)

snow report yesterday

8 cm
2 days ago
1
light rain
snow showers
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 2301 m
3100m 2450m 2800m 3550m 3450m

(1676m — 2103m)

snow report yesterday

45 cm
on 8 Dec
21
4
1
light snow
partly cloudy
clear
light snow
cloudy
Mid station 1890 m
1950m 2050m 2750m 2450m 2450m

(1941m — 2624m)

snow report today

Northstar at Tahoe webcam
84
46
Wet Snow 15 cm
today
20
1
3
heavy snow
light snow
clear
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2282 m
2150m 1900m 2450m 2750m 2600m

(1768m — 2255m)

snow report on 8 Dec

17 cm
on 8 Dec
21
2
heavy snow
snow showers
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2012 m
2150m 1800m 2350m 2700m 2550m

(2023m — 2697m)

snow report today

127
109
Wet Snow 13 cm
today
23
2
1
moderate snow
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2360 m
2250m 2000m 2600m 2700m 2650m

(2133m — 2498m)

snow report 2 days ago

Snow Summit webcam
61
46
Variable Conditions
light rain
snow showers
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 2316 m
3200m 2550m 2700m 3500m 3350m

(2041m — 2389m)

snow report yesterday

91
61
Packed powder or groomed snow 7 cm
2 days ago
light rain
snow showers
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 2215 m
3150m 2450m 2700m 3500m 3400m

(2057m — 2255m)

snow report today

122
122
Packed Powder 23 cm
on 8 Dec
22
2
1
heavy snow
snow showers
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2156 m
2150m 1800m 2350m 2700m 2550m

(1874m — 2743m)

snow report today

109
53

Fresh

Fresh
19 cm
on 8 Dec
25
2
5
heavy snow
cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2308 m
2150m 1800m 2350m 2700m 2600m

(1554m — 1707m)

snow report 4 days ago

73 cm
4 days ago
3
heavy rain
partly cloudy
clear
light snow
partly cloudy
Mid station 1630 m
2100m 1800m 2300m 2400m 2300m

(2098m — 2555m)

snow report today

114
71
Wet Snow 10 cm
today
23
2
4
heavy snow
light snow
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2326 m
2100m 1800m 2350m 2700m 2550m

(2042m — 2291m)

snow report 2 days ago

4 cm
2 days ago
1
light rain
snow showers
clear
clear
clear
Mid station 2166 m
3100m 2550m 2800m 3550m 3450m

(2057m — 2240m)

snow report yesterday

Tahoe Donner webcam
20 cm
on 8 Dec
22
1
1
heavy snow
cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
partly cloudy
Mid station 2148 m
2100m 1800m 2350m 2650m 2550m

(2194m — 2438m)

snow report yesterday

5 cm
on 8 Dec
17
1
light snow
snow showers
clear
partly cloudy
clear
Mid station 2316 m
2350m 2100m 2800m 3000m 2750m