While shoppers were scrambling for Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains, skiers and snowboarders in the western United States and Canada cashed in on big snowfalls across several regions. Given that ski season traditionally gets started in earnest around Thanksgiving weekend, the 2016-17 season is off to a good start in the West.
Back in 2012, The Weather Channel began naming serious winter storms in alphabetical order just like hurricanes. This latest storm was named Blanche—fitting considering Blanche means “white.”
British Columbia – 6 feet+
Whistler Blackcomb opened for the season the day before the Thanksgiving with a bountiful powder day. The day’s snow added up to more than two feet. By the end of the weekend, more than six feet of snow had fallen at the Canadian resort.
Pacific Northwest – 70 inches+
Blanche left a white cover across the ski areas of Washington and Oregon. Known for its record-setting snowfalls, Washington’s Mt. Baker led the way in typical fashion with 27 inches in a 48-hour span. More than 70 inches in the past week gave Mt. Baker bragging rights for the deepest snowpack in the United States.
California – 34 inches
Two feet of fresh snow in the Lake Tahoe area allowed Squaw Valley to open the upper mountain on Tuesday, November 29, with top-to-bottom skiing on Mountain Run. Mammoth Mountain also racked up big snow totals with 34 inches from the storm at the resort’s summit.
Utah – 3 feet
By the evening of Monday, November 28, Snowbird was approaching three feet with more in the forecast. Snowbird’s Little Cottonwood Canyon neighbor, Alta Ski Area, had not opened for the season, but plenty of snow should be waiting when the area opens on Friday, December 2.
Colorado – 20+ inches
The San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado got the first helping of snow with Purgatory leading the way before Thanksgiving thanks to a 17-inch day. The rest of the state eventually got their share. For example, Winter Park picked up 20 inches for the week.
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New Mexico – 9 inches
Taos Ski Valley, the state’s biggest resort, is not scheduled to open until December 15, but New Mexico skiers and boarders got to hit Red River Ski Area for 9 inches of fresh snow over the weekend. Red River is scheduled to close during the week but reopen on Friday, December 2.
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