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WINTER ARRIVES IN USA - Katie Bamber, North America
Saturday October 6, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Snow and cold temperatures have come early to the States and three resorts opened at the weekend, in the East and West.

North America is expecting its long-awaited snowstorm.

The weekend forecast is looking good in the USA and Canada, with a winter storm watch through Sunday.

Jackson Hole is expecting anywhere between 20-40cm this weekend.

Storm watchStorm watch

Aspen, though beautiful, is ready for a dumping.

Aspen ColoradoAspen Colorado

One that has snow already falling is Copper Mountain, to open on 16th November.

That's just two weeks to go.

And with this coming snowstorm many other resorts are hoping for that natural snow to help the snow guns that have been pumping since mid-October.

Copper MountainCopper Mountain

Copper MountainCopper Mountain

Further west in Oregon, Mt Bachelor is looking like the white room.

Mt BachelorMt Bachelor

Of course, these snow pictures - though dreamy - can show us just one whited-out view of the resorts.

The US is in need of snow and resorts have been awaiting this snowstorm to really start the season countdown.

We'll keep a close watch here on snowfall totals and opening dates...

Jackson Hole WYJackson Hole nearing ski ready...

Friday 19th October saw Killington ski resort on the east coast open.

Colorado had its second and third resorts turn on the lifts on the weekend, with Arapahoe Basin just pipping Loveland to the post on Friday 19th (Wolf Creek was first).

Loveland Loveland opening day

A BasinA Basin opening weekend

A-Basin and Loveland have been pumping the snow cannons in a bid to be the first.

But fellow Colorado resort Wolf Creek jumped the (snow) guns and officially began winter in North America on 13th October.

Bring it...

Killington opens todayKillington opens today

Arapahoe BasinA Basin is looking ready for opening today

The Colorado resorts Wolf Creek, Arapahoe-Basin and Loveland have all reported more than half-a-metre of snow.

However, where there's snow...

Two avalanches have been reported in Colorado.

Last Friday, a skier was caught in a slab avalanche on Loveland Pass but was able to ski to safety.

On Monday, a climber was swept over cliffs on South Arapaho Peak by an avalanche and brought himself to safety.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC)Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) image

The layers in the snow caused the avalanche triggered by the hiker.

The slab was drifted snow from a storm on 14th October and the bed surface from an earlier storm.

"Avy season hit me by surprise today," the hiker said.

Skiers, riders, climbers, and mountain walkers - educate yourself on avalanches and make sure you're prepared. Slides can happen as soon as there is snow so be smart out there. 

Instagram user and skier @robbyemmons has been playing with fire (or snow)...

A-Basin and Loveland have both been blasting the snow cannons during the cold temps in the bid to win the race in the old neighbouring battle to be the first open.

Loveland will swing its lifts this Sunday 20th October.

LovelandLoveland's messaage

A-BasinA-Basin's message - Let's get going!

A-Basin and Wolf Creek both report half-metre of fresh stuff that have lead to early openings, nearly 3 weeks before the projected opening for Wolf Creek.

Good job all round!

Here's a look at the opening weekend:

The resort will just be open for weekends until later in the month.

Loveland Ski Area in Colorado has been working tirelessly, making snow and piste bashing for an early opening.

The resort is hoping for an opening sometime in the next 2 weeks.

It helps that Mother Nature dropped more than 60cm over the past week on the Colorado resort.

Arapahoe Basin is battling Loveland to open first, and it's looking gorgeous and white that way, as well:

Arapahoe BasinA Basin, CO

Even more good looking, the fluffy stuff is dropping on the east coast of America too.

So far, North America is winning the snow race, but it ain't over yet...

Read more here as the Alps look positively autumnal and winter creeps in on the Pyrenees:

Wolf Creek as it prepared for the first weekend skiing of the winter season:

Wolf Creek, ColoradoWolf Creek, Colorado, 13th October - photo Josh Baker

Wolf Creek, ColoradoWolf Creek, Colorado, 13th October - photo Josh Baker

Wolf CreekWolf Creek preparations for opening

Southwest Colorado has been experiencing a storm that's brought snow, up high and low down.

And good news for other ski states, it's moving across the country.

While we reported on the first turns back in September after the early snow high in Jackson Hole (read The Countdown for more of this) it was followed by the first lift-assisted skiing of Winter 18/19.

Ski Patrollers on Silverton Mountain snuck in the first lift-served turns of the Colorado ski season.

This small ski area claims the highest lift-served terrain in North America, topping out at 4,100m.

The season's first skiers took the lift to 3,750m and hiked up another 100m for the edge.

"The light was flat, the snow was cold and the stoke was high," said the Silverton patroller Skylar Holgate.

It looks a lot like winter.

Silverton CO first turnsSilverton CO first turns

Silverton CO first turnsSilverton CO first turns

And with this massive ski state gearing up, we've put here a list of (snow-dependent) opening dates for the big resorts in Colorado, for those of you ready to go...
  1. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area: Mid-October
  2. Aspen: 22nd November
  3. Beaver Creek Resort: 21st November
  4. Breckenridge Ski Resort: 9th November
  5. Copper Mountain Resort: 16th November
  6. Crested Butte Mountain Resort: 22nd November
  7. Keystone Resort: 9th November
  8. Loveland Ski Area: Mid-October
  9. Silverton Mountain: Nov. 24 
  10. Steamboat Resort: 21st November
  11. Telluride Ski Resort: 22nd November
  12. Vail Mountain: 16th November
  13. Winter Park Resort: 14th November
  14. Wolf Creek Ski Area: 2nd November
Alta Ski Area in Utah has received 61cm of snow so far this season.

23rd November is when you can get your piece of this:

There's was 25cm snowfall mid-week in nearby Cottonwood Canyon ski resort, Powder Mountain:

Aspen SnowmassAspen 10th October

Autumn in the mountains and mountain towns of North America is something really special.

Snow started falling at the start of September in Europe and it's edging its way in on America.

It's pretty spectacular, with the white dusting on the reds, golds and greens of fall trees.

Sun ValleySun Valley

However, short as it is, soon the snow will cover all this and we'll be on our way.

Copper MountainCopper Mountain had 10cm+ 11th October

Up in Canada, Banff has had more than a little snow and has been looking like a whiter wonderland.

The area is aiming for an early November opening.

BanffBanff Canada

In British Columbia they're experiencing the gorgeous blend of winter and autumn.

RED Mountain blend of winter and fallRED Mountain blend - winter and fall

RED Mountain blend of winter and fallRED Mountain blend

Whistler BCWhistler BC

In the States, she's surely on her way.

Check out these videos of resorts and ground disappearing under the snow for winter:

The snow cannons have been switched on in Loveland and A-Basin as they begin their usual battle open first.

Telluride in Colorado is looking glorious as snow sits on the golden trees:

Crested Butte COCrested Butte, CO

And Steamboat sees its first snow of the season:

Fall's shown herself in all its glory, despite it being a dry summer (not to mention the dry season last winter), the drought sometimes hampering the full array of colours the trees give.

We've watched the Aspens turn through all their awesome colours and witnessed summer in the big ski states of Wyoming, Utah and Idaho turn quickly to autumn, very soon to be winter.

I've made the most of the warm fall by camping, fishing, biking before the mountain towns turn into winter havens for the fast approaching ski season.

Katie camping right on time for the bears' last couple of weeks fattening up before the big hibernation.

PlanetSKI's Katie Bamber in front of the Grand Tetons - 1st OctoberPlanetSKI's Katie Bamber in front of the Grand Tetons - 1st October

It's cold enough; the start of the week saw snow cannons switched on and there's been dustings in the major ski states of Utah and Colorado:

Park City UtahPark City UT

Arapahoe BasinA Basin Sunday 7th October

Copper Mountain's cannons are onCopper Mountain's cannons are on

Jackson Hole on the weekend got a good October dumping:

Car under snow in Jackson HoleCar under snow in Jackson Hole

The photo above is of Lorraine Hutchinson's car, or snow pile, in Jackson, WY.

The storm bringing lots of snow came a day early and has covered Jackson Hole ski resort in snow, both down in the valley and up top.

Jackson Hole, Saturday 6th OctoberJackson Hole, Saturday 6th October

What a quick turn from when we were camping there on Monday 1st October...

We drove by the resort to check on the conditions and here are the pistes and peaks of Jackson Hole, without a trace of white stuff...

Jackson Hole - no snow at the end of SeptemberJackson Hole - no snow at the end of September

Moose basking in the last of golden fall - TetonsMoose basking in the last of golden fall - Tetons

Montana's Big Sky took a big 6" this weekend:

Big Sky's big 6Big Sky's big 6"

Blend of seasons in Big Sky - Peak photo Blend of seasons in Big Sky - Peak photo

Banff in Canada doubled that and had a cool 30cm last week.

It's known for extreme conditions and extreme powder snow, so we weren't surprised.

Read on below for our first update on North America's snowfall.

Let's take a look at some of our favourite resorts in red, gold, green and white on the cusp of winter as Mother Nature makes her way there slowly (this year round).

Aspen - a little less goldAspen - a little less gold

Winter ParkWinter Park

We've actually been on winter watch for a while, can you believe. Check out our piece here as we started at 100 days to go 'til winter on the early snow in the mountains:
Jackson HoleJackson Hole

Down in Denver, the Colorado ski state's main city, there's even been snow.

However, this cool capital sits at 1,500m - an average for many European and US ski resorts - so it's not unheard of...

Vail Saturday 6thVail is ready, looking like this at dawn on Saturday 6th October

But the prize for early season snow here in North America perhaps goes further north.

Across the border in fact in Canada.

The people of Banff in Alberta were caught by surprise with snow falling out on the streets this week

Banff, CanadaBanff, Canada

And it's looking pretty good up in the mountains in its three ski resorts.

Sunshine Village, Banff, CanadaSunshine Village, Banff, Canada

Lake Louise, Banff, CanadaLake Louise, Banff, Canada

Mt Norquay, Banff, CanadaMt Norquay, Banff, Canada

30cm fell in 24-hours and our friends in Banff say it is certainly getting them in the mood for winter.

Even if they were somewhat surprised.

"Nice little snowfall we are getting here in Banff and Lake Louise, it definitely came by surprise," said PlanetSKI reader, Steve Pampell, from Banff.

"Was a fun morning, as after getting my daughter all sorted for daycare I realised that all my winter gear is still in storage - always fun. I know what I will be doing this afternoon."

"Bodes well for some fantastic early season conditions. Hope this keeps up!!"

And here's a video of the snow in nearby Sunshine Village:

There's been less snow in the USA, but resorts are looking ahead to the coming winter.

Ski resorts across Utah have also received their first measurable snowfall - 6 weeks before resorts open.

The southern Utah resorts of Brian Head and Eagle Point have seen some snow.

And here is what it is like in Snowbird and Deer Valley near to Salt Lake City.

Snowbird, Utah, USASnowbird, Utah, USA

Deer Valley, Utah, USADeer Valley, Utah, USA

Deer Valley, Utah, USADeer Valley, Utah, USA

Some of the first opening dates are also being announced.

Mammoth Mountain in California will open a few runs on November 8th.

"The amount of terrain available that day will depend on the weather leading up to it. Will Mother Nature provide, and if it doesn't, will it be cold enough to permit much snow making?" said a statement from the resort.

"In any event the day will be full of festivities, including the traditional banner breakthrough at 8:30 a.m., a beer toast at 11 a.m., followed by live music."

Here at PlanetSKI we were in Mammoth as it opened all its slopes back in November last year:

It is currrently looking autumnal in Mammoth.

Mammoth MountainMammoth Mountain


As it is elsewhere here in the USA, with Fall raging in full on glory with its many colours across the ski resorts.

Take a look at these big resorts with the turning aspen trees, awaiting snow for the winter ski to start next month:


Late September, early morning in Jackson HoleLate September, early morning in Jackson Hole


And if you like pictures of autumn it's pretty good in the Alps too as we have reported elsewhere on PlanetSKI (with some snow as well).



I'm now returning to Europe for the autumn ski events in the UK and then the early season in the Alps, but will be keeping an eye on things in North America.

Not least because I am back in the New Year to report on all things from across The Pond.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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