Jan 19, 2018

Where to find snow after a dismal start to ski season

Aspen, CO
USA
by
Christopher Steiner
,
USA TODAY
A skier makes his way down a barely snow-covered slope at Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs, Colo., on Jan. 5, 2018. Photo: Chelsea Self, AP
A skier makes his way down a barely snow-covered slope at Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs, Colo., on Jan. 5, 2018. Photo: Chelsea Self, AP

Ski resorts in the western United States have been plagued with low snow totals from California to Colorado.

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Resorts in southern Colorado — Telluride, Purgatory — as well as those in central Colorado — Aspen and Copper Mountain, among others — have been particularly snow-challenged. Ski resorts in Arizona and New Mexico, such as Taos, have fared even worse.

But Colorado isn't totally bereft of snow. Steamboat, which resides further north in the state, as well as Winter Park and Breckenridge have squeezed decent amounts of snowfall from the systems that have passed through. Skiers going to Colorado soon should look to these areas first.

The good news for Colorado is that the drought pattern seems to be yielding to a storm cycle at the moment, which should give travelers some comfort when planning ski trips for the coming months. Many of the resorts that needed snow the most received good doses during the first half of January.

Even Utah, where resorts such as Alta and Snowbird have some of the largest averages for snowfall while also having very small standard deviations (which means their snow is more dependable, year in and year out), has been in a slump. Conditions during the holidays were thin, with just a smattering of intermediate and beginner slopes open, and travelers pulled back on trips to Park City and other Utah stalwarts. But conditions are getting better as Snowbird, for one, received 30 inches of snow during a five-day stretch in January.