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Mid-December ... too early

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
This coming December, I've booked a week, beginning 12/9, to stay at Powder Mountain. Our family was there this past December, and had just an absolute ball! The laid back location reminded us a lot of Wolf Creek, Co. My concern is this may be too early in the season for Powder mountain and Snowbasin to be mostly or fully open. No one can know the weather, but if someone can help with when these places typically open, and most if not all of the slopes are open, I'd appreciate. Thanks
post #2 of 10
The odds are not in your favor. Pray.
post #3 of 10
The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is slow in the vacation travel business and great deals abound (not just skiing, check cruises for example), even at the last minute. If that's the time you have I would wait until November to see who has snow. The airline seats aren't full either, so I don't think it's a particularly wise move to use FF miles either, if that's the motivation. It makes little sense IMHO to advance book for a speculative time of year when you can afford to be flexible.

Powder Mountain's claim to fame is that it is extremely uncrowded. Why not take advantage of that and go sometime like President's week when other places are overrun? Nobody is busy in early December. The key factor then is to choose the resort that has snow.
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by xdog1
The odds are not in your favor. Pray.

I'm not sure why you would say that. Utah generally has some of the best early season conditions around. See the chart below on data from the USFS Alta guard station (lower-mid mountain). Alta, which also gets ~500" annually, is subjected to the same weather patterns as Powder Mt. Alta does benefit from the local lake effect, but also misses out on some of the storm systems that graze the nothern border of Utah, so call it a wash. Anyway, on average, expect 60+ inches of snow on the ground that time of year. Powder Mountain has gentler (less rocky) slopes, so the amount of nsow required to cover rocks is less. The sun is lowest on the horizon that time of year, so the snow that falls is usaully of excellent quality and stays fresh for long periods of time. Generally, Utah resorts (PM & SB included) will have most terrain open by mid December, since it's a dress rehersal for the Xmas crush. Not all lifts will be operational for $$ reasons, but all terrain is usually open. You should be fine.



See: http://alta.com/Frames/snow_report_snowfallhistory.htm


Edit: OK the chart ended up sucking. Heres the results you need to know: 85" snow on average fall in December (on top of the 82" that fall in November), 62" on average on the ground at the 8,800' level in December.
post #5 of 10
I don't think praying has anything to do with success % when it comes to snow cover. Someone should do a scientific study to see if there is any correlation.
post #6 of 10
If praying worked, I think that 100% coverage would be the norm for everywhere . So would 100% scores on tests.
post #7 of 10
I have an extensive analysis of early season reliability on skiingmag.com: http://www.skiingmag.com/skiing/trav...328638,00.html .

Utah is one of the 2 highest-odds destinations at that time of year, along with Whistler/Mt. Baker. But the odds are still low enough that they can be greatly improved by waiting until November to book.
post #8 of 10
Anyway, like I said, pray.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by xdog1
Anyway, like I said, pray.
OK, but what does that have to do with the price of rice in China?
post #10 of 10
I kinda agree with xdog1 here, from my 10 years of living in N. Utah, i'd say that mid-december has been good about 50/50. Much better chance of good snow in the cottonwoods that time of year, they get alot more snow and have a much higher elevation to hold snow longer.
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