From the Polar Vortex bringing a record-breaking deep freeze to the Northeast to the record snowfalls in the Pacific Northwest, winter has been in the news for weeks. While many would rather skip these headlines, it’s good news for those thinking about a ski break. Read on to find out more about which regions have seen the most snow for a ski trip that makes the most of what Mother Nature has to offer.
With the recent series of snowstorms in the Pacific Northwest, the PNW is your best bet for loads of powder right now. Some of the resorts with the biggest snowfall in the last week include:
- Washington: Alpental/ The Summit at Snoqualmie, Mt. Baker, Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass and 49 Degrees North
- Oregon: Mt. Hood Skibowl, Mt. Hood Meadows &Timberline Lodge
The most snowfall has been seen in Washington, with some mountains like Crystal receiving around 40 inches over 72 hours during the middle part of the week. While this does mean great ski conditions should stick around for a while, it also means potential lift closures either due to precipitation or high winds, particularly on the upper mountain for some resorts. However, with more snow in the forecast, a quick trip to the PNW might just be the best choice you can make right now.
But Washington doesn’t get to take all of the glory. Utah’s Snowbird and Brighton resorts have seen some heavy snowfalls this week as well, as has Tamarack in Idaho, with over 40” falling in just a few days. Pockets of the Tahoe region also received plenty of powder with Mt. Rose having to close on Thursday due to storm conditions that provided over 30” of snow. Northstar Resort also reaped the rewards, with over 70” of snow dumping down in just seven days.
If you’re looking for something more central, some Colorado resorts like Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Aspen and Breckenridge have received new snow thanks to late week storms, while those considering the northeast may find the best conditions in Vermont resorts, which saw the highest regional snowfalls for the week.
PLANNING A SKI TRIP
While it might be tempting to look up the region or resort with the most recent snowfall and decide where to go on snow conditions alone, that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get the most out of your ski trip. Heavy snowfalls often mean white out conditions or high winds and closures, which is not going to make your time on the slopes enjoyable. Then again, time it right and you can be skiing deep powder all day long under blue skies.
Conditions aside, there are other things to think about when planning your ski trip – even if it is last minute. Here’s a checklist to get you started:
- What is your budget? There are a lot of costs that go into a ski trip. Travel, accommodation and lift passes at a minimum, not to mention food and entertainment. Depending on your situation, there’s also ski equipment rental and/or lessons that also add to the cost of your trip. If you’re looking to cut costs, driving rather than flying can save you money if you have ski fields nearby, as can choosing accommodation off the mountain (slope side lodging is usually the most expensive) and bringing your own lunch rather than buying it at the resort.
- What is your skill level? Or more importantly, if you’re traveling with family and friends, what are their skill levels? Even if you’re an expert skier, not everyone is going to ready for double black runs, so make sure you choose a resort that can accommodate a variety of skill levels. Of course if it’s just you or yourself and a couple of others with the same ability, you can choose the mountain that offers more runs at your particular level.
- What are you looking for off the slopes? If you’re more of an après-ski party animal than a quiet family dinner type, the destination you choose will have a big impact on your overall enjoyment when you consider how much time you’ll spend off the snow during your vacation. Be sure to find out more about the ski town vibe including what it has to offer in terms of local bars, restaurants, spas and shopping.
With that said, snow conditions are still important, so here are some good resources for current conditions and snow forecasts: