Ski Season Forecast

Ski Season 2017

Dreaming of powder days? We’re with you. Ski season is already upon us in some areas in the U.S. So the question on every skier and snowboarder’s minds are: What is this ski season going to look like? The snow watch for powder is on!

Get pumped. According to our meteorologists, this ski season is going to be a good one for most resorts throughout the U.S. This is because they’re expecting wetter than normal conditions across the country and colder than average temperatures in the northern plains. Let’s dive in a bit deeper into precipitation and temperature forecasts.

Temperature & Precipitation Outlook

As we all know, especially lower latitude Northeast skiers, cold temperatures are necessary for keeping conditions ski-able. A warm thaw can ruin a base that took months to build. And in lower elevation areas, that could mean a quick end to the season. Thankfully, our meteorologists are forecasting lower than average temperatures throughout the nation’s biggest ski areas. In the Northwest, we’re looking at the best change for below-average temperatures. Our meteorologists are forecasting anywhere for 33-40% chance below for resorts like Whistler, Jackson Hole, and Big Sky.

However, in the Northeast, conditions don’t look as favorable. Mountains like Mad River Glen, who makes their own snow, could be in trouble with a 40% chance for above average temperatures. However, December will be an average month, so resorts like Sunday River and Killington may have time to get a large enough base on the ground. Killington’s snow operations have them skiing already, so it’s safe to say they have a great winter regardless of temperature. At least it will be wetter than average in most resort areas. The northern tier will have a wetter than average season, which will hopefully help the snowfall forecast. It all has to do with the timing of the temperatures and the precipitation. It’s also important to note that resorts that are at higher elevations and the top of mountains will fare better thanks to lower temperatures.

Overall Mountain Conditions and Safety

Regardless of conditions, it’s always important to prioritize safety. Whether you own the mountain, work at the mountain, or ski/snowboard at the mountain, there is a certain level of responsibility that falls on you. Mountain owners should use a severe weather tracker to monitor incoming storms and predict hazardous conditions. Ice can freeze up equipment and skier alike. It can also make for a treacherous descent from the top of the mountain. High winds are another condition mountain operations must look out for. Not only will they increase your patrons’ likelihood for frost bite, but they can also make chair lifts and gondolas unsafe for passengers.

Make sure any rules are posted around the mountain in the lodge, on lift lines, and on trail maps.

Ski Safety Tips

While there is a lot that mountain owners and management must worry about, a considerable amount of responsibility also falls on skiers and riders themselves. Our skiers and riders here at Earth Networks have a list of Golden Rules for everyone to follow. If you’d like to add to the list, please comment below.

  • Always stay in control. You are responsible for staying in control of yourself and not hitting people or obstacles in front of you. Stay on trails that go along with your skill level and know your limits.
  • Don’t go in the woods past 3pm. Everyone loves good tree and glades skiing. However, you should stay out of the woods after 3pm. If something goes wrong, you don’t want it to be dark while people are looking for you.
  • Group of three. Another rule made especially for the woods is to stay in a group of three. Three is the perfect number for a few different reasons. If someone gets hurt or has trouble, that leaves someone to stay with them and another person to look for help.
  • Wear the proper equipment. Helmets and well-fitting equipment in general is necessary for any day on the slopes. IT’s also important to check the weather before you head out not only for the snowfall forecast but to see how many layers you’ll need. Male sure you don’t get hypothermia!
  • It’s also good to go over some avalanche safety tips, especially if you’re skiing out west. Avalanches are deadly and happen in the blink of an eye. Make sure you have the proper equipment like an air bag and a shovel.


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