The start to the 2018-19 ski season is such that we could be in line for a banner year across much of the country and in the western U.S. especially. More than just its ski terrain and slopes, Colorado has been leading the way this year in weather and snow conditions. A recent report from The Denver Post’s The Know has some eye-opening figures and comparisons from last year.
Vail has been able to take full advantage of its enormous 5,000-acre terrain since mid-November with the famous Back Bowls open for Thanksgiving and one of the earliest openings ever for the resort. In Winter Park, there is 90 inches of snow compared to 52 inches at the same time the previous year and considerably higher than the yearly average of 71 inches. At more than 1,300 acres, the skiable terrain is more than 10 times larger than it was last year. Copper Mountain has about 5 times as much skiable terrain and skiable trails as the same time the previous year. The snowfall amounts have just about tripled. In southern Colorado, there isn’t the same eye-popping numbers, but even these resorts, most notably Telluride are still slightly above average.
In fact, it’s not just Colorado and what stands to make this a banner year for skiers and snowboarders is the breadth of the snow-driven weather. USA Today reports that there is similarly strong snowfall in Utah, Wyoming, and California, which together with Colorado comprise a sizable share of the overall U.S. ski industry. From the news report:
“In Wyoming, Jackson Hole has collected 114 inches of snow and already has stretches of steep upper terrain open. Snowbird and Alta, on the Salt Lake side of the Wasatch in Utah, have come alive after a slower start compared with other states, with 110 inches of snow having fallen in just a few weeks.”
And it’s not as if the eastern U.S. is that far behind or even behind their own seasonal averages. In particular, Stowe in Vermont has had its own notably strong start to the season with many parts of the ski area that don’t typically open till January already doing so by the end of November.