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How many months long is your normal "better" (or true heart) of the skiing season in your area?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I was just wondering what the normal length is in different areas. I don't mean the occasional early/late storms that may allow for some better skiing earlier than normal or later than normal. Also not talking about rare freak seasons where snow and cold weather may have been far and few between nor excessively abundant. I'm talking about the time period that on average through the years when the "better" skiing is expected and usually sustained. Basically the heart of the average season where the given resorts are and can stay nearly fully operational and weather conditions can be counted on for good skiing (within reason).


Living on the east coast we often generalize western skiing as anything Midwest and onwards. Basically group it anything Rockies/SierraNevada's, etc. But I do understand its really all different areas. Midwestern, West, Northern, Southern, whatever. And may all have different "good" ski season lengths. I (as many do) refer to my area as the Northeast but for skiing imo not really. living in jersey and being closest to the poconos I would just say east but than dedicate the term "northeast" to the Upstate ny , Vermont New England area and up into eastern Canada. There is a large enough difference in temps and snows imo to be considered a different kind of snow and ski season to designate the two regions differently. .


Anyway anyone from around the globe as well may also please chime in here.


The way I view the heart of the ski season (for my general local area of the poconos) when "better" skiing and weather can be counted on and sustained is usually mid janurary till mid/late march. That's really only 2 and 1/2 months for the heart of it. Anything later or earlier is hit and miss. May be better some years and worse others and may even be very good but just cant count on it or expect it. I don't even bother to go till at least MLK weekend and even then it could be hit and miss.


So what is the length of the true heart of your ski season? and what area are you talking about. Just like to see the differences for just how bad or good it all is.

Edited by rollin - 3/7/15 at 7:12pm
post #2 of 18

"Official" season at Bristol in Upstate NY is Thanksgiving to the first weekend in April.They beat the opening by a week this year and will probably go until mid April.


I'll start skiing as soon as they open as my pass is already paid for and usually try to make closing day. We can usually count on Dec.,Jan.,Feb. and March as decent skiing. Four months ain't bad.

post #3 of 18
PNW, generally mid November through April 20'ish, then spring/early summer limited lift served through June for Crystal. Year round for touring if you want, but.... Then Hood will have summer camps if you're into that, but this year is going to be pretty truncated.
post #4 of 18

Thanksgiving through February is what they really plan on.  Thanksgiving can be pretty hit or miss.  More likely to see skiable conditions in mid March than in November around Western NC. 

post #5 of 18

We regularly have some sort of lift-served skiing from mid to late October through early to mid June here. (ie, ABasin)  The true heart of the season is more like mid November to mid May. It's easily a good 6 months, I'd say. Hooray for altitude.

post #6 of 18

Whistler/Blackcomb always runs US Thanksgiving weekend to our Victoria Day 3rd Monday in May.

On better snow years have skied as early as October and finished June.

Glacier skiing then starts end of June and runs to August.

Best skiing typically is mid December to end of April.

The base on the upper 2500 vertical will still be building into May.

The lower 2500 vertical usually starts to be effected with freeze thaw by mid April. 

Skiing the full vertical is often still possible in late May but many will download.

This year lots are downloading now. 

post #7 of 18
The resort opens and closes according to a pretty fixed schedule (barring conditions problems) from the first weekend in December to the first or second weekend in April. Only once in the last few years has it closed early and that closing could have been prevented if they had waited two days to tell their employees they were released. As it was, they announced an early closing and promptly got a foot. Another year they opened a week late. But, in general, four months. This is based on agreement with the Forest Service, and, near as I can tell, the normal pattern of skier visits. That is, since they don't get the ticket sales to justify opening early or staying open longer if we got a surprise early or late dump, they just don't do it.

Whitefish also allows uphill travel both in and out of the official season, so there is frequently a good contingent of diehards hiking for their turns before and after.
post #8 of 18
December,January and February maybe a week or two into March, in the lower Midwest. Next Sunday 3/15/15 is the last day of our season.
post #9 of 18

For northern VA, mid-Dec to first week of March has been okay for 10 out of the last 11 seasons.  Meaning enough cold weather by early Dec that snowmaking could cover enough slopes to be open the week before Christmas.  Usually completely open by the first weekend of Jan.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

A lot mentioning December and while I can go It usually just doesn't pay imo around here to go until mid Jan unless of course we get a rare but substantial early dump or two and sustained cold weather to keep it going in combo with the blowers. With the weekend crowds so close to the big metropolis it usually just isn't worth the day trip to small resort that's only a percentage open. Just too much travel, money, work, to make it worthwhile imo. Its always so much nicer when old man winter comes early and stays. To many Decembers I have even played golf.  It really would be nice if we got another solid month as a norm for better skiing instead of more a rare. Don't get me wrong, you can still go skiing as they are open, but its just that its usually only imo "good" and consistent for a rather short time period.

post #11 of 18

In central VT I would concur with 2nd week of January to St Patrick's.  Although we tend to open the weekend before Thanksgiving and will ski weekends till Cinco-de-Mayo, to have reliably good conditions on 90% of the mountain MLK is a good bet. This year we were skiing natural snow trails the 2nd week in December, last year it was after MLK before the natural snow trails didn't call for rock skis.


This year is closer to "normal" for length so far, but maybe 1 out of 3 years Christmas is iffy. 1 out of 3 years mid April is iffy. Some years they both suck.

post #12 of 18

After 15+ years of skiing in New England, I've concluded that there's a month during each season where the skiing is "amazingly good".  Sustained cold, sustained snowfall, etc.  When that "one month" occurs is anyone's guess.  I've seen it happen in every four week period imaginable, December through April.  This season is an aberration where it's been insanely good for 2+ months. 


In terms of "the skiing doesn't suck" in the northern Vermont region,I would honestly say mid-January to late March is a pretty solid bet for having good conditions (by our lowly standards).  There's a reason why the New England Gathering is in mid-to-late March.  A year's worth of snowpack, temps are climbing out of "frostbite" range, etc.


I've found that April can get into thaw/refreeze patterns...  i.e., if it doesn't thaw, it sucks.  If it does thaw out during the day, it's great.  So I get choosy about April skiing days.

post #13 of 18

One week.

post #14 of 18

Mid November the mountain is usually 100% open and skiable under a reasonable definition of the term.  I have to add the last bit because Wolf is super, super aggressive with terrain openings- normally once they open a chair, everything served by that chair is then open, even if it has no snow, not enough snow, requires hiking out, etc.  Usually off-piste and hike-to lines are open on opening day. A typical opening day is 3-4 lifts open and about 400 acres. 


But in most years by Mid November there has been enough snowfall to have good skiing on and off piste.


The official season is the first week in November to the First week in April.  That makes high season Mid November to closing day.


The mountain opens the instant there is snow on the ground. In 2011 that was October 8. About 4 years in ten the mountain opens before Halloween. The mountain has also reopened into May after storms, but the reality is that the mountain skis really well and could be 100% open into most Mays if there were anybody around to ski it.

post #15 of 18

I have to agree with Kevin on this one. The OP wasn't asking about how long the season is at your mountain, but when the sweet spot of the season is. For me, the sweet spot doesn't occur until I can ski off trail. In northern VT, that's something that typically starts happening early to mid January. Then you can reliably keep skiing off trail through the end of March. Once you get into April, the snowpack starts to recede and things start sticking up out of the snow that have been submerged since January. At that point, it's back on trail, and the sweet spot is over. 

post #16 of 18
In a normal season here, it's skiable off piste most of the time we're open. Because they don't open early and they do close without much regard to snow. There was a time when they did try to open by Thanksgiving or sooner, but they don't now, they've found their peak open/close dates, which correspond to when people come, which is WITHIN the dates things are good, usually. THIS YEAR, people are starting to empty lockers, because they've given up on off piste ever coming back again, and I predict we won't last until the end of the month. We were supposed to stay open a week later this year, too. I'm sure that won't be the case next year. Sunday was pretty light considering there was a regional championship race here with 200 competitors AND the Classic where famous sports stars sign autographs for people in the Summit House. There have been many years where no one has been here closing week and there's been excellent skiing on the last day. So, since we were told to ignore the impact of unusual seasons, I'm sticking with four months. This year, might have been two months.
post #17 of 18

In central NY, I'd say the "heart" of the ski season is typically first week in January through first week in March.  Last Saturday was the first weekend I've seen the conditions decline since mid-January.  Occasionally we get lucky late December, but that's a whole lot of wishful thinking.  If we were 30 miles north, I imagine we'd get an extra week or two, due to lake-effect snow.

post #18 of 18
A very short 100 day season (late Dec - end March). Normally the sweet spot (or stretch) is early Feb (snow making ends and natural snow piles on) through to pretty sweet spring conditions (a solid base with typical March snow squalls to freshen things up). This has been a very good year so after one week of the WROD, my local hill and one just an hour were fully open or close to in early Jan. Some years the snowmakers fight it out with Nor'easters bring enough rain to launch an Ark. The snow lasts into April but economics of power rates, wages, no school trips and really no walk up traffic mean a end March closing. But I'm just greedy I guess.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › How many months long is your normal "better" (or true heart) of the skiing season in your area?