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.


There is near-perfect skiing now in the nation's more northerly areas. Midwest, Southern California and lower New England still need snow

FAR WEST: MT. BALDY, CALIF.: 4-6 W but rain had previously ruined base. Needed to operate: 6-12 NS. Area has played host to plenty of sight-seers and snowball commandos but no skiers as yet.

SQUAW VALLEY, CALIF.: Skiing here has been excellent the past month. On top of the mountain there is 12-24 new PO on an estimated 96 base. Down below it is 12 new PO on 36. The lodge is sold out again for this weekend. If driving, be sure to bring chains.

RENO, NEV.: Local drumbeaters claim skiing here is best in the Far West. They have a point: 15-18 PO on 55 HB at the Ski Bowl with conditions rated excellent. New Year's business broke all previous records. Don't forget to bring auto chains.

NORTHWEST: MT. BAKER, WASH.: Here is heaven for those who like difficult touring in snow up to the knees. 29 NS, dry but not PO, on 96 HP with temperatures below 20. Crowds have been heavy but with everything operating there is no waiting. Bring the chains.

SNOQUALMIE PASS, WASH.: Ski schools sponsored by local newspapers begin this weekend and will cause a 5-10 minute wait on most lifts. 4 NS on 50 total means good conditions. Chains are a good idea.

MT. HOOD, ORE.: At Timberline everyone's smiling because of 8 new PO on 77. Little Betsy is operating but not the chair lift. Temps. 20-25. The aerial tramway is running. Govt. Camp has 4 new PO on 44 and roads have packed PO surfaces, so chains are a must.

GROUSE MT., BRITISH COLUMBIA: 14-16 NS on 33-64 HP and HB with conditions good. On lower areas the snow is a little heavy in spots and demands caution. The twin chair lifts will carry heavy traffic this weekend due to local newspaper's ski school, largest in Canada.

ROCKY MTS.: ASPEN, COLO.: All trails open except Bell Mountain and Silver Queen. 3 NS on 36 at top of mountain, 3 NS on 12 lower trails, Ruthies Run rates excellent. All roads open, but there is half-hour wait for chair.

ARAPAHOE, COLO.: 4 packed PO on 22, conditions good, but another 12 NS would help smooth out the surfaces. Average Sunday crowds have been running around 500 which can mean a 15-minute wait on the lift.

JACKSON, WYO.: Area is operating at last with 8 NS on 12 partly packed base.

SUN VALLEY, IDA.: 9 new PO on 16-25 HP with over-all totals 20-35. All eight lifts are operating and the skiing is excellent.

ALTA, UTAH: 10 PO on 35 HP, temps, around 25. Waiting time for lifts 10 minutes. Area has had excellent skiing to date with December's attendance total 27,000—5,000 over 1953.

WHITEFISH, MONT.: 13-18 PO on 8-14 with some areas not packed out. Skiing rates near perfect.

BANFF, ALBERTA: Area has 2 NS on 15 but more is needed. Chair lift is still closed.

MIDWEST: BOYNE MT., MICH.: New snow provided skiing for the first time. 3 packed PO on 1-4 HB. Olympic Champion Stein Ericksen, now teaching here, did aerial somersaults in New Year's torchlight parade and sent the folks home gasping.

RIB. MT., WIS.: Snow fell everywhere in this general area last week except on the ski slopes. 5 HB fair on lower slopes, none on upper areas. 5 NS needed for good skiing.

TERRY PEAK, S. DAK.: With temperatures in the 40s, the weather is poor for snowbirds. 2-3 PO on 16-18 HP, skiing poor. Lift operates on weekends only.

NEW ENGLAND: STOWE, VT.: Trails are in excellent shape with no sign of IC which sometimes makes January skiing here uncomfortable. On Mansfield there is 5-8 new PO on 16-30 HB. Spruce Peak has 7 NS on 16-30. This is a good weekend to try Stowe because post-New Year's letdown means small crowds.

MAD RIVER GLEN, VT.: Perfect skiing expected to continue with 4-6 new PO on 18-34 HB.

BIG BROMLEY, VT.: Despite occasional rain, conditions remain good to excellent. 6 PO on 4-15 frozen HB. New Year's attendance totalled around 5,500. Orvis Trophy giant slalom here Jan. 8.

FRANCONIA, N.H.: Cannon Mt. has 5 new PO on 1-30 base, upper trails fair to good with lower poor to good under area's conservative rating system. Franconia also uncrowded during January, hence good spot to visit for ski week.

NORTH CONWAY, N.H.: Trails and slopes need only minimum cover, so skiing is good with 4-6 W on 4-8 HB upper, 4-5 W on 2-3 HB in lower areas.

BERKSHIRE MTS., MASS.: Little skiing here this winter and the immediate prospects are discouraging. Jiminy Peak has a 3 GR base, other areas less and all are closed.

NEW YORK: WHITEFACE MT.: 1 PO on 8 GR with conditions fair to good. Forecast: sleet followed by snow.

TURIN: The 15 HB has held up despite recent rain. Skiing rates fair to good but a new powder surface would help.

BELLEAYRE: 1-6 frozen GR with conditions poor to fair but everything is open and the lift runs daily. Gross receipts for December set a record for the month.

PENNSYLVANIA: LIGONIER: Temperatures in the 40s closed down the tows. 9-10 W and GR, poor on the upper trails and no skiing in lower areas.

QUEBEC: MONT TREMBLANT: A 14-inch blizzard last week raised the base totals to 28 minimum, 53 maximum, highest in the East. 2-4 PO surface means excellent skiing.

LAC BEAUFORT: Area has 2 new PO on 35-40 HP and excellent skiing. Despite recent snowstorms roads are clear.