Last weekend a train of storms on what is called the Atmospheric River entered the west coast of North America and places like Relay Peak in Tahoe to Mt Hood in Oregon got hammered with feet of snow. So, what is an atmospheric river? It’s a relatively narrow region in the atmosphere responsible for most of the horizontal transport of water vapor outside of the tropics. Nearly 50% of the precipitation on the West Coast comes in this form and is attributed to mega snow-storms in the mountains like the Sierra Nevadas – A sight to behold as a skier/snowboarder.
Backcountry skiers and snowboarders were out there getting the goods and there was MUCH to be had. Shane Ricketts (Instagram: @mountain__man__ ) along with Zack Holm headed up to Mt. Shasta last weekend and they confirmed that the snow is DEEP. Be sure to check out our write-up in the coming weeks about their adventure. For most of us though, it’s all about lift-accessed terrain. So, where can you go NOW (or really soon) to get some turns in? Here are the resorts opening in our very near future:
Arapahoe Basin – The first to open the last to close
Known as “The Legend”, their investment in snow making and high elevation has really helped them be a competitive force in holding the torch as the first to open in Colorado and many times the first to open in the U.S. The earliest ever opening being October 9th in 2009, this year they opened on October 21st for A-Basin’s 70th birthday. Go get ’em!
Loveland Ski Resort – Closest major resort to Denver
Loveland is located only 53 miles from Denver with over 1,800 acres of terrain. Nearly every winter A-Basin & Loveland duke it out to see who will open first. With no date set yet, opening is very close as it’s only a matter of time…
Mt Rose – Where the snow is
Just like their motto says, it’s “Where the snow is!” due to the highest base location in the Lake Tahoe basin. They can fire up the snow guns before any resort and keep ‘em running longer than anyone else in Tahoe. Their target date is October 31st.
Killington – The beast of the East
Not to be outdone by the West Coast, Killington is attempting to have a VERY early opening this year. Always known to be in the running as one of the earliest if not THE earliest resort to open and the latest to close (do you see a pattern here that many resorts want to claim that tag line?), they are targeting to open on October 25th. They even got lucky with a few inches of real snow to go along with their snow guns.
Timberline Ski Resort – Open 12 months a year
Known for their summer skiing and being open twelve months a year, Timberline usually shuts down for a few weeks of maintenance and the first snowfall to refresh the base but that’s about it. The ski resort got walloped with over 13 inches of snow last week and there are reports stating they’re open. Based on their website and Facebook posts, it doesn’t look like it’s lift accessed terrain but we will continue to watch and see if this changes. Until then, it might be an earn your turns kind of day.