If your holiday wish is to be waist-deep in powder to ring in the new year, pack your skis or snowboards and head to the Pacific Northwest or the Sierra’s Mammoth Mountain.
Traditional holiday favorite resorts in Colorado and Utah have been struggling to open runs this year. It finally snowed last week, but the snowpack is still lower than average.
La Niña weather conditions have hit some resorts hard, according to experts at SnowPak, a resources website for skiers and snowboarders.
The Pacific Northwest region, however, has been getting more than its fair share of snow, with ski fields in British Columbia having a hard time digging out.
The SnowPak team looked at precipitation and snowfall data to determine the snowiest resorts during the upcoming holiday. The team also looked at the resorts’ number of acres open for skiing and the cumulative snowfall (a good thing to check to make sure you aren’t skiing on patches of grass or rocks).
SnowPak’s five resorts predicted to be the snowiest are:
Mt. Baker Ski Area, Wash.: This resort recorded the most snow in the world during the 1998-99 season. It looks like the resort may have another killer season this year. Mt. Baker currently has the highest base depth of 94 inches, so the mountain is practically already covered in powder. That said, this is a relatively small ski area of 1,000 acres with some very gnarly terrain that's best for advanced skiers.
Grand Targhee Resort, Wyo.: This is a short flight from LAX -- you'll be at the resort in only four hours -- and offers 3,000 acres of terrain that's open for your skiing pleasure. With a predicted snow base depth of 80 inches, you won’t have to worry about patches of grass or rocks.
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada: North America’s largest and most popular resort makes the list with a sound base depth of 67 inches and more than 5,000 acres open to skiing. What makes this more impressive is that this is only 70% of the terrain, and it’s only a matter of time before the whole 8,171 acres opens up. On the flip side, this resort is known to be crowded over the New Year's holiday and is pricey.
Lake Louise Ski Resort, Alberta, Canada: As this season’s snow storms push deep into British Columbia, they reach the edge of Alberta, where Lake Louise Ski Resort is a prime beneficiary. The predicted base snow depth is 65 inches; 82% of the resort is open for skiing. This is a less crowded alternative to Whistler Blackcomb if you’re committed to skiing in Canada.
Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Lakes, Calif.: Closer to home, Mammoth Mountain is in contention to be one of the snowiest places you can spend New Year's, with a predicted base depth of 63 inches, thanks to assistance from its extensive snow-making network. Most of the resort is open for business.