Heavy snowfall at the week and Monday in the north-western corner of North America has raised excitement levels for the start of the 2019-20 ski season in the USA – potentially just days, and definitely at worst only a few weeks away.
Montana got the biggest falls, with reports of up to four feet (1.2 metres) of “heavy wet snow” in parts of the state. The governor declared a temporary state of emergency in the affected areas.
Just to the south in Wyoming, Jackson Hole (video above posted yesterday and pictured top) was dumped on too.
Further north in BC, Canada, several ski areas reported at least 60cm (two feet) of snowfall. This was Apex resort.
NASA took this image using their Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on theirs Terra satellite showing the snow (in cyan) across Montana and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Sasketchewan. The image combines natural and infrared wavelengths in order to distinguish snow and ice (cyan) from clouds (white).
No US areas have opened as a result of the snow but some die-hard skiers have been hiking up. Steven’s Pass in Washington state was one of those where skiers were spotted hiking up to make first turns whilst the early snow lasted.
A race is now on between ski areas in Colorado, California and several centres in the East Coast to be the first to run their lifts for winter 19-20, with the first potentially opening at any time in the next 2-4 weeks.
One North American area that looks like it could open any day if it wished is Timberline on Mt Hood in Oregon. The ski area has a permanent snowfield and is open most of the year, only ending it’s 18-19 season a month ago at the start of September. It reported 35cm (14 inches) of fresh snow and says it has a foot lying at its base but so far has not announced a season start date.
Although the snow has largely eased off and temperatures have warmed up they have been sub-zero overnight and a number of resorts have been firing up their snowmaking systems. This was Mt Rose in California at the weekend.
Sub-zero temperatures have also been forecast for the coming week at ski areas on the East Coast too where resorts like Killington in Vermont, Sunday River in Maine and several ski areas further north in Quebec try to open by mid-late October if they can.