Colorado, West, fall behind in snow |

Colorado, West, fall behind in snow

Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Balmy and dry fall weather could put the Colorado ski industry’s two-year string of record snowrider numbers in danger, and most of the West isn’t in any better shape.

Last year, despite getting less snow than the season before, Colorado numbers were still up 6.7 percent in the first half of the season.

But this year it is even warmer and some major resorts weren’t open for Thanksgiving, usually the first big revenue producer of the season. Telluride and Steamboat still aren’t open. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on snowmaking has made it possible for some resorts to open, but if they use the water now they not have it if they need it later in the year.

Veteran skiers will bring out their rock skis.

Late this week, after four straight weeks of temperatures in the 50s and 60s, Telluride got 11 inches, the Telluride Daily Planet reported. “This is a great kickoff to the season. With Mother Nature helping out and the extensive mountain improvements, were looking forward to a great year,” said Telluride CEO Dave Riley. However, the resort will not open until Nov. 30.

Also unlike last year, some of the state’s biggest contenders have plenty of snow. Whistler-Blackcomb, which contends with Vail frequently for the No. 1 rank of ski magazines, has 37 inches. Vail has 18. Stowe, in Vermont, has 49 inches on its upper mountain.

“… for the best and earliest snowfall of the season, head north to Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia,” says Outside Online.

“We’ve had lots of early snowfall, 110 centimeters (44 inches). It has been great up here. Sunny but cold so the snow stayed and it is light and fluffy,” said Ryan Proctor, public relations coordinator Whistler-Blackcomb. Thirteen lifts are open.

Eldora, one of Colorado’s smaller resorts, has the deepest base in the state, 24 inches.

Wolf Creek, which often has the most snow in the state has 10 inches, and most of that came this week.

Fortunately, Utah and California resorts also have little snow. No Utah resort is open, including Alta, considered the power capital of the nation.

Resorts initially had some trouble making snow until temperatures cooled down to the mid-20s for extended periods. Ski resorts in Colorado have banded together to try to fight climate change.

Meanwhile, resorts in several other areas of North America, hurt by a lack of early snow last year, are doing much better this year.

The long-range forecast for much of the Rockies is for dry weather, possibly leading to drought in some areas next year. The Pacific Northwest, home to Whistler, is expected to be wetter than normal.

The dry weather puts extra pressure on Colorado’s resorts because they have sold hundreds of thousands of ski passes. That can bring numbers that quickly overwhelm the terrain and lifts that are open.

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