The lesson to be learned is to do your homework and stay flexible. Some areas (like Panorama) are chronically so skimpy on snow that advance commitments should not be made until you know they are having a good year.
Kicking Horse is not quite that bad, but the current lift system forces you to ski top to bottom most of the time, and the lower half of Kicking Horse gets similar snowfall to Panorama. Neither area was ever in great shape at any time during 2004-05, so by January there was clear warning that a trip to one of these areas in March was not likely to be a success.
You could say I violated my own advice by going to western Canada twice in 2005. With snowcat skiing I had to make an advance commitment, but after that I modified the rest of the week to ski Lake Louise and Kicking Horse, which had some snow from the Tropical Punch, instead of Red and Whitewater, which had all rain.
In late March I went to Whistler, also committed far in advance. Here I had a 40-year unblemished history in my favor and got lucky with a 33-inch dump the 3 days before I arrived. Had I gone a week or two earlier it would have been pretty bad, and I was contemplating driving to the Okanagan for half the week.
Mammoth's history of consisent snow conditions is as good as Whistler's. Baldy is as erratic as anywhere, with 1/3 of seasons never having adequate snow for me to go there. But as it's an hour from home I can just go there a lot in the good years, like 1998, 2001 and 2005.