Ski season has finally kicked off here in Yellowstone Country. With the first significant storms coming in mid November. It has been, however a slow start to the season, especially compared to last year's record breaking snow fall. This has left a lot of locals asking "where's the snow?" and "when's it coming??". Most recently I was sitting in this very ski chair asking myself the same question.
Most of the ski resorts are open including my home resort Jackson Hole. They opened the weekend after thanksgiving and have been rocking and rolling since then. At the moment they have the most amount of terrain open in North America, but are also waiting for a big dump of fluffy stuff to get things moving into high gear. Luckily for most ski resorts in Yellowstone Country it has been well below freezing at night and most of the day...making ample time for building a base with man-made snow. Things are looking average currently, which again for most of us up here is a bit of a disappointment. We were spoiled last year and it's reflected on every ski bums face so far this year. But as they say: one big storm changes everything!!
In terms of when the snow is coming: I was lucky enough to catch an avalanche and mountain weather presentation last week by the director of the Teton Science School. He also happens to run a weather reporting website specific to the Jackson Hole area. He spoke not only on avalanche safety, but a general weather outlook for this winter, and apparently it still coming!! The slow (compared to last year) start to the season is mostly due to a large cold air mass that is sitting over the northern half of the US. This creates a ridge right on the California coastline, preventing other weather systems from moving west to east across the US. We can sure feel that up here as it's been hovering around the single digits / teens for the last two weeks. According to his presentation this is starting to subside and we should expect a consistent flow of storms right around the winter solstice (Dec 21st). This is promising and something to look forward to. Winter is a great time to visit Yellowstone Country, not only for skiing, but also great deals on lodging and food. There are also a plethora of other activities including snow coach tours, snowmobiling, winter wildlife tours, etc. Hope to see everyone on the slopes!!