December 5, 2022
Posted: November 24, 2022 3:00 am
The heavy snow through some parts of the U.S. over the past week has many Americans thinking ahead to ski season. Some resorts have already opened for the season, sending skiers and snowboarders flocking to the high country. Wondering what your favorite ski areas have in store this winter? Here is a look at the 2022 U.S. ski forecast.
Resorts Already in Operation
The La Niña weather pattern has created snowy enough conditions for some resorts across the Cascades, the central Rockies, and Sierra Nevada to see enough wintry precipitation to fire up the lifts. It is not unusual for the La Niña influence to control what parts of the country see the first significant snowfall of the season.
It did not look as if any ski resorts in the Northeast would be open by Thanksgiving after an unseasonably warm start to the month of November. However, a blast of Arctic air flowing down from Canada into the region by the middle of the month aided in the artificial snowfall production. In addition, the record-breaking lake-effect snow event to hit the Great Lakes region at the end of the last week also helped to produce a solid base of snow for many of the most prolific ski destinations in Michigan and New York.
Northwest and Rockies Predicted to Have Great Ski Season
In a bit of a turn, it is the Pacific Northwest that is forecast to see the best conditions in the country this year. Ski experts are predicting that resorts in Washington and Oregon will see plentiful amounts of snow.
The Rocky Mountains from Canada down into Colorado may also experience a better than average ski season according to some predictions. This means that destinations in Vail, Breckenridge, and Aspen may be the hot spot this season for avid winter sports enthusiasts.
Conditions May be Lackluster in the West
One area of the U.S. that may not see ideal conditions for skiing is nearly the entirety of the West, including Utah, California, and Arizona. Storms are expected to be more sporadic this year. So while there may be periods of great snowfall to boost the powder, this region may also experience dry spells that deplete the snowpack.
Warmer than average temperatures are also a possibility out West. This could reduce the snow quality that is produced both by Mother Nature and the artificial snow-making machines.
Slow Start to Season in Northeast
It may take a bit longer for the season to ramp up in the Northeast. While the second half of the season may bring some significant snowfall, it could take some time for these storms to arrive. This means that resorts stretching from the high terrain of North Carolina through the Appalachians and into Pennsylvania may need to utilize the artificial snow makers during the first half of the winter season.
Those farther north may get luckier with more snow in the forecast for New England and upstate New York. However, there is also a good possibility that the early snowfall in this region may lose its powdery texture and turn icy later in the season.
Ski conditions are expected to be better than normal in the Midwest, particularly in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Like the Northwest, this part of the country is forecast to see significant snowfall early in the year that will hang for the duration of the winter season.
Advantages of Artificial Snow
Although there is nothing quite like flying down the slopes after a fresh powdery snowfall, artificial snow also has its advantages. Because of the unique formula used to produce this type of man-made snow, it is able to withstand warm spells that hit during the winter.
Artificial snow does not have as much time to freeze as it moves from the machine to the ground. This translates to a greater density when compared to natural snow. This property helps the artificial snow to retain its moisture even when the sun comes out and the mercury begins to rise.
As an added bonus, snow machines can also be used during the warmer months to prevent wildfire spread in areas that are vulnerable to this weather impact at other times of the year.
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