It’s time for us to look into the crystal ball of predicting the weather and take a look at an early Christmas forecast for your favorite resort.
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Now before we get into the forecast you are all waiting for, let’s catch up on what has been going on around the major resorts of North America.
Although the big snowfalls of November at Canadian resorts are a thing of the past, many of the resorts are still getting a good amount of snow. The resorts scoring the best are the coastal resorts such as Whistler Blackcomb and the resorts closer to the Alberta border, such as Kicking Horse, though even as far West as Revelstoke. Accumulations have been consistent with several good powder days and strong bases for this time of year. Check out what Snow Forecast think about what will happen for Christmas.
Dry, dry, dry. Although the weather has been superb, Tahoe resorts are desperate for some natural snow. Snowmaking is the only thing keeping these places skiable at all and to be honest, they are doing a terrific job. However the lack of natural snow means there is still limited terrain open and has left many of the sunny aspects completely bare which is a little strange so close to Christmas. But heck, that’s Tahoe for you. 300+ days of sunshine each year and when it snows, it SNOWS!
The weather pattern has been kind for the resorts further south as the storm track has been favoring these areas. These resorts have received consistent snowfalls allowing for much of the terrain to open everywhere, though wind has also been a problem as the storms roll through. Powder days have been plentiful and there are plenty of smiles in resort administration as powder seekers adjust their plans from the more popular resorts of the Rockies, to travel where the powder is.
With the exception of the resorts of Southern Colorado, Utah and Colorado have been extremely hard pressed for natural snow lately. A few isolated storms have brought much needed top ups for areas further North, though apart from one or two minor snow events, locals are looking to Tim Tebow to do his bit and ask for another miracle; Snow for Christmas. Locals are reporting less than desirable ski and boarding conditions at the big resorts such as Breckenridge and Vail, though snowmaking is again saving the day for the major trails. The verdict here is that Christmas is going to be very crowded with limited terrain as trail crews do their best to get some more areas open in time for the holiday season.
So now to the forecast. Does it look any better that what we’ve had? Well… yes and no. Depends on what you want for Christmas.
On one hand, holiday makers are desperate for a white Christmas, powder conditions and plenty of open terrain, though on the other hand, they secretly crave bluebird and relatively warm days to enjoy their time off work with the family.
To get you into the spirit of things though, what about a video from Whistler Blackcomb taken on their “Santa day”!
If you are dreaming of a white Christmas, you are in luck! It looks at this early stage as though a nice system should move on shore in the next few days delivery a gift of white powder (not the Columbian stuff either) pretty much everywhere on Christmas day. Whistler looks to score best (surprise, surprise) with several feet possible over the holiday weekend, though the interior resorts won’t be left out. Of the interior, look for heavier falls around Kicking Horse once again, as up to a foot is possible here. Temperatures should also be extremely comfortable sitting just below freezing allowing the snow to fall, though not at the cost of freezing yourself to the chairlift.
Verdict: White Christmas with comfortable temperatures and great snow conditions
Good news and bad. If you are after fresh snow, sorry, it looks as though you are well and truly out of luck. If you are after brilliant sunny days with relatively light winds and warm temperatures well above freezing, you are in luck! I really can’t see any new snow falling in the short term, though the forecast for more sun looks an easy one to predict over the Christmas break. Be careful for patchy conditions and the freeze thaw will probably make skiing off piste pretty ordinary as well. Best you go in with low expectations of resort conditions and high expectations of great weather and good times.
Verdict: Sunny and warm with average to poor snow conditions
Reports are varied as to the strength of a storm set to pass through New Mexico on Thursday. Some are reporting the prospect of more significant snow, though we are leaning toward an accumulation of a few inches just prior to the weekend. Over the weekend on Christmas eve and boxing day, it looks like confidence is high for superb weather and very comfortable temperatures just below freezing. Conditions in these area are far better than further north at this stage, so this would be a great pick if you are still unsure as to where to travel for the holidays.
Verdict: Sunny and comfortable temperatures with good snow conditions
The usually very reliable Utah and somewhat less reliable, though usually solid Colorado are struggling a little. Most resorts are well below their average terrain openings for this time of year and local reports on the ground are less than flattering for most areas. Fortunately, a small system should pass through in the next few days, although the forecast is for less and less snow as we get closer to the event. Maybe we’ll see 3 or 4 inches if we are lucky across the board, though some local falls of half a foot are not completely out of the question. It should be pretty cold on Thursday as the system passes through, though expect a return to superb conditions over the weekend. Christmas day looks like a big blue sunshine and warm temperatures special delivery, which should bring smiles to faces of families who struggle in the snowy conditions (hey, we are just trying to put a positive spin on things, right).
Verdict: Sunny and comfortable temperatures with average to poor snow conditions
Head north! If you are yet to make plans and are looking for a white Christmas, your best bet is to head north… to Canada. If you just want to be in the mountains to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful sunshine, stay at the major resorts of the USA.
No matter what you do, Happy Holidays to everyone and we hope to keep you well informed with Christmas forecasting over the break.