Skip to main content
Original Issue


A late roundup of snow conditions in America from a picked group of local skiers

CO=corn snow; GR=granular; PO=powder; IC=icy condition; HP=hard-packed snow; W= wet; HB=hard base; SB=soft base; NS=new snow; BC=breakable crust; BS=bare spots; CL=trail or slope closed; DC=dangerous condition; UC=unbreakable crust.


Conditions improved across the nation this week as more snow came in, especially in the Northwest. But generally, the northern Rockies, the Northwest and the Midwest are having a late winter. Best skiing to date has been in Vermont, northern California and Utah

NEW ENGLAND: STOWE, VT.: Formal opening Dec. 18 will mark debut of new double chair on Spruce Peak. 4 PO on 15-24 HB with more expected. Skiing to date on T-bar trails has been good-excellent.

MAD RIVER GLEN, VT.: 4 PO on 10-20 HB, good so far. Full area operation commences Dec. 18 with only moderate crowds expected. Christmas-New Year's reservations available.

BIG BROMLEY, VT.: Unusual early-season conditions—meaning excellent skiing—continue here. Under 1 PO on 16-20 HB and sub-freezing temps. Lift-line waiting time only 5-9 minutes last Sunday despite crowd of 1,700. Regular daily operation begins Dec. 18.

NORTH CONWAY, N.H.: More snow would be a big help. 3-8 frozen GR, good on upper area but fair-to-no-skiing on lower. Daytime temps. around freezing or below.

FRANCONIA, N.H.: Daily operation starts Dec. 18. 3 PO on 4-27, good. Giant slalom and cross-country this weekend opens eastern competitive schedule.

JIMINY PEAK, MASS.: Rain settled 6 HB but a substantial snowfall is needed to open the area. Outlook was for light snow or light rain.

NEW YORK: BELLEAYRE: Fair-good on lower but you have to pick your way over upper trails due to thin cover. 1 packed PO on 1-6. There were 2,000 on hand last Sunday. Temps. just below freezing.

WHITEFACE MT.: Area has done fine early-season business with 2 PO on 6 HP. Fair-good on lower T-bar areas. Temps. in 20s and roads are clear.

PENNSYLVANIA: LIGONIER: 2-15 drifted PO on 1-6, good. All tows operating, with crowds light so far.

QUEBEC: LAC BEAUPORT: 5 PO with 13 total, good skiing. Lowering temperatures and light snowfalls anticipated. Big moment coming up is selection of Winter Carnival Queen.

MONT TREMBLANT: Only North Side chair lift operating and it's rough going down the Sissy Schuss. Other trails CL. 2-3 NS on 13-16, with temps. way down, 3 to 13 above. More snow is badly needed.

MIDWEST: BOYNE MT.: Area is still shuttered. Stein Eriksen, Norway's Olympic champion here as an instructor, is among those hoping for snow. Official opening date is now Dec. 26.

RIB MT., WIS.: Fair-good on slopes, with only one trail open. 6 unsettled PO on no base.

TERRY PEAK, SO. DAK.: Banana-belt weather continues. 5-plus HB with BS and no snow anticipated. Opening may be delayed until Christmas weekend.

ROCKY MTS.: ASPEN, COL.: New double chair lift dedicated last weekend, with conditions good to very good. 2 PO on 26-28 HB at top and midway, 2 PO on 14 HB at bottom. Temps. 25-29.

BERTHOUD PASS, COL.: 4-12 PO on 12 base. Most trails packed, and good skiing everywhere. Weekend crowds heavy.

JACKSON, WYO.: 12 NS but "our kind" of winter has not arrived. Lift still idle.

ALTA, UTAH: Skiing continues excellent, and they mean excellent—8 PO on 32 HB. More snow expected. Upper Germania area is best. Weekend crowds have been good, waiting times around 10 minutes. However, lift lines may lengthen as schools let out this weekend.

SUN VALLEY, IDAHO: Unusual snow shortage so far with only 3 at valley floor, 14 on top of Baldy. Official opening Dec. 18.

WHITEFISH, MONT.: Tows not operating, weather not cooperating. Snow is at least two weeks late, with only the diehards skiing on trails above 5,000 feet.

BANFF, ALBERTA: Hard to find a native who can recall a milder December. Snow scarce and at least a foot is needed to permit skiing. Temps. have been 35-45, 15 degrees above normal, and no relief is in sight.

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO: Will open Dec. 18 if there is enough snow. So far only 8 PO and that's not enough.

FAR WEST: RENO, NEV.: Excellent skiing to date with 4-5 packed PO surfaces on plenty of base. All lifts running daily. Crowds have been light so far but a surge is expected for the holidays. Car chains advisable.

SQUAW VALLEY, CALIF.: 12 PO on 60 base adds up to excellent skiing. All 35 trails are open, with the best action on the upper third of the mountain. Temps. 25-35. Crowds have been small—around 500—and there is immediate seating on the lifts.

MT. BALDY, CALIF.: Nothing doing. 4-7 HP on upper, only patches lower with plenty of BS and rocks. Lifts are idle. Skiers from Los Angeles are driving 325 miles north to Mammoth Mt., where there's 12 dry-packed PO on 36 base.

NORTHWEST: MT. HOOD, ORE.: Last weekend 2,000 skiers waited up to 45 minutes for lift at Timberline. The reason: 3 NS on 30, good. Temps. around 30. At Govt. Camp tows. CL, traces of NS on 6 base, 12 more still needed.

MT. BAKER, WASH.: Conditions improving at last. 10 dry old snow on 36 HP with some BC. Skiing generally good, with best runs at Austin Pass. Temps, below freezing, with weather outlook promising. Chains are a must because last eight miles of road are covered with packed snow.

GROUSE MT., BRITISH COLUMBIA: 11-13 NS on 5 HB produced skiing for the first time this winter. Plateau area is best. Sky Line Run needs additional 20 inches. More snow anticipated daily. Chair lifts running regularly but nowhere near capacity crowds as yet.