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The West...and the East

abc

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The West just got buried in feet of snow..and we are having a great spring where snow continues to fall. Considering we both had a lousy opening season i wonder if ski resorts have to consider staying open longer...
Will this be the new normal? Last year it dumped 15 inches at K on 4/17. Stowe this year is covered in snow but closed. It snowed up top st SB Friday. Don't know if they are thinking about this..but I am.
Oh..its snowing a little at Jay
As the earth warms up, there're more moisture. So yes, more late season snow storms. The trend is believe to be real and long term.

At the same time, the warmer temperature is making early season harder and harder for the mountains. Not cold enough to even make snow! That trend too, is even more real that we all can feel. And will accelerate.

So yes, the more favorable time to ski has shifted towards the later part of the calendar. In terms of weather, the "ski season" has shifted. So yes, your impression of the season gotten better later and later in spring is quite probably true.

Unfortunately, the skier visitation pattern hasn't changed at all. I doubt the number of spring skiers has really change significantly.

I believe there're enough "late season specialist" mountains around for all the spring skiers. More mountains open will simply spread their visitation numbers thinner. As a spring skier myself, I'm fine with the options available to me.

It's just too bad there're so many major holidays early season. People jammed the limited number of trails. Mountains had to make snow for those dates, which often times got washed away in the typically January thaw. All that push up cost which translate to cost to tickets.
 
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Kingslug20

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I think if it becomes an actual trend long term..things will change..
 

abc

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The trend had been in play for decades!

Ever since I started skiing, I never like Christmas-NY part. But yeah, I had those days off. And very few other vacations. So I had to ski in those days. Rarely had I enjoyed it. Too busy, too few trails, too icy. It got to a point that I just "waste" those day off to do other things (like going to somewhere warm)

Fortunately, I also had Easter off for most of my career. I enjoy skiing in spring sooo much more!

It's only now people finally noticed the mismatch of holidays and the best time for skiing.
 

Kingslug20

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Im wondering if resorts change...people might in time if it continues..plus now with cheap passes..more people are skiing...and most people really dont like below zero weather..so..maybe in time spring skiing will get more popular...who knows..
 

abc

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I would think it would have to go the other way... more people skiing in spring and resort will stay open longer (or run all chairs instead of closing terrains)
 

Kingslug20

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Yes..thats what im thinking...
I have to be frequently reminded that most people dont like standing at the top of mansfield in 30 mph wind at 20 below...in a blizzard...
 

machski

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The trend had been in play for decades!

Ever since I started skiing, I never like Christmas-NY part. But yeah, I had those days off. And very few other vacations. So I had to ski in those days. Rarely had I enjoyed it. Too busy, too few trails, too icy. It got to a point that I just "waste" those day off to do other things (like going to somewhere warm)

Fortunately, I also had Easter off for most of my career. I enjoy skiing in spring sooo much more!

It's only now people finally noticed the mismatch of holidays and the best time for skiing.
You over simplify this way too much. Sure some years early season stinks, bit others early season is the bomb! Been skiing since '86 in New England, been hit or miss early and hit or miss late continuous. Last two years have been miss early season, but two seasons do not mark a climate shift trend.
 

abc

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You over simplify this way too much. Sure some years early season stinks, bit others early season is the bomb! Been skiing since '86 in New England, been hit or miss early and hit or miss late continuous. Last two years have been miss early season, but two seasons do not mark a climate shift trend.
I'm "over simplifying" on purpose!

How many years early season was a bomb? How many years spring skiing is fantastic?

There're trends. Then, there're outliers. The "last two years" are not outliers. It's the norm. And increasingly so. That's the trend.
 

machski

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I'm "over simplifying" on purpose!

How many years early season was a bomb? How many years spring skiing is fantastic?

There're trends. Then, there're outliers. The "last two years" are not outliers. It's the norm. And increasingly so. That's the trend.
Sorry, a two year trend does not indicate the new norm. Yes, many have not been 18-19 great, but skiing K and SR by late October is more the norm than not except last two years.
 

abc

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Sorry, a two year trend does not indicate the new norm. Yes, many have not been 18-19 great, but skiing K and SR by late October is more the norm than not except last two years.
Sorry, you're wearing rosy glasses.

K and SR in October is more niche'y than skiing Hunter after Easter! You've completely missed KK's point.
 

djd66

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I have always thought - why blow snow in early November when there is a huge chance that there will be a massive meltdown. I get that areas want to get something open early on, however I would rather see them save some of the snowmaking budget for later in the year to extend things on the latter half of the season.
 

deadheadskier

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The argument could be settled with data. I'm not interested in looking it up......just saying, for those who are passionate about their beliefs, there's a way to prove it. You know snowfall averages trending by month for a start.
 

Dickc

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Early seasons are an outlier, but there have been some notable ones. October 2005 comes to mind. We had two Nor'easter's that October, and the second one swallowed a hurricane off the coast. Killington was open on mostly natural snow for Halloween weekend with multiple lifts, Snowdon, Superstar, K-1, North Ridge, and officially over 40 trails with Oh so much poaching going on!

2009 was another one. We had a BIG cold spell hit on the Monday night of Columbus day weekend. Snow guns were on Tuesday, and Sunday River was open on Thursday October 15th.

I've also seen years where Sunday River struggled to get to the bottom of Barker by the second weekend of December.
 

snoseek

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Those early storms often melt out. Logically pushing spring out makes more sense but I guess whatever makes money
 

Kingslug20

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Its just a thought experiment. If a shift occurs due to whatever you want to call it.. and it lasts..will things change..
1. Resorts dont bother to blow snow early and watch it melt.
2. They stay the present course.
3. They extend the season.
 

cdskier

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The bottom line is that demand exists early season, whereas late season it simply does not. I don't see this shifting much, if at all. Early season you have people that want to get out there and ski because they haven't skied in months. They start to get a taste of cooler weather and start to hear about snow and start thinking skiing. Late season even when resorts have plenty of snow left, people simply stop skiing. It gets warm in the cities. People start thinking of warm weather activities. They forget there's still snow in the mountains. They've had enough days on the slopes where the "urge" to ski simply isn't there anymore for many people. And some people simply don't like the soft snow conditions you find in the spring.

And let's face it...even when snow falls in the mountains this time of year, it doesn't make much difference at a lot of resorts. You can have a foot of snow one day, and be back to bare ground in many spots a day or two later. There's simply too much sun/daylight hours with a higher sun angle and too much warm temps this time of year for snow to stick around for long even when it falls (maybe with the exception of some far northern resorts).

I'd be curious to see actual data on snowfall trends by month. But you also have to remember that you you need to really look at long term data to truly see trends. We've had a couple years in a row with crappy starts and a decent amount of snow at the end which is what some people seem to be remembering and keying on...but does that make it a trend? At the same time, we just had "Snowvember" less than 4 years ago where Sugarbush's season snow total was up to almost 70" by the end of November for example. SB was 100% open at Lincoln Peak by December 8th that year thanks to all the natural snow. That same year they only had 7" of snow in April. Again though, this really doesn't mean much (other than to simply use as an example that some people have short memories and quickly forget the "good" recent early season years when you have a couple bad ones that were more recent).
 

abc

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Its just a thought experiment. If a shift occurs due to whatever you want to call it.. and it lasts..will things change..
1. Resorts dont bother to blow snow early and watch it melt.
2. They stay the present course.
3. They extend the season.
All of the above is happening!

1. Vail had blatantly stop making snow in: Hunter, Wildcat, Attitush... any others? (the excuse is labor shortage, but I think the real reason is they don't want to see it melt away in a matter of days)

2. Most resorts have no choice but to blow snow to ensure there's terrain open for the Christmas week. They will close as usual as skier numbers dwindle in spring.

3. Some will extend the season for a week or two on weekends if there's strong demand. That will be more likely in years with poor start early season.
 

Smellytele

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All of the above is happening!

1. Vail had blatantly stop making snow in: Hunter, Wildcat, Attitush... any others? (the excuse is labor shortage, but I think the real reason is they don't want to see it melt away in a matter of days)

2. Most resorts have no choice but to blow snow to ensure there's terrain open for the Christmas week. They will close as usual as skier numbers dwindle in spring.

3. Some will extend the season for a week or two on weekends if there's strong demand. That will be more likely in years with poor start early season.
Question on point 1 - If it is a vail policy to not blow snow early than why do it at mt snow which has a much great chance of melting out than at Wildcat?
 

jaytrem

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Question on point 1 - If it is a vail policy to not blow snow early than why do it at mt snow which has a much great chance of melting out than at Wildcat?
So far they haven't been as aggressive as Peak was. I can say 20 years ago, the place was quite dead until Thanksgiving. Not sure what changed, but people seem to be itching to get out there early these days. Not sure Wildcat would pull in the early season numbers that MS does.
 
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