REVIEW OF LAST WEEK---
The big news is the drought easing snows in much of Colorado, Utah, and the Tahoe region where anywhere from 10-30" have fallen since February 16th. Vail has received over 30" of snow; Keystone 18"; Alta and Snowbird 13-18"; Jackson Hole a phenomenal 38." According one skier in Jackson--"This is the best I've ever seen it here. It is a paradise; nothing else like it in the Universe."
British Columbia, Quebec and even Alberta have seen some improvement in their ski conditions as well. Fernie picked up about three feet earlier last week; Mt. Tremblant about a foot; while Kicking Horse, B.C. kicked the habit of sub-par snow conditions by registering 27" of powder! Yeepee!! Castle Mt. resort in Alberta received a foot as well and can now claim one of the best based in that province with 180" of snow recorded so far this winter. This is quite a contrast toSunshine Village and Banff though both of those resorts experienced 8-14" of powder as well.
In the east, it was a mixed bag this past week. The stellar ski conditions of late were replaced by rain and freezing rain on the 23rd with flooding in parts of southern New England greatly aggravating the incredible conditions of late.Woods skiing is out in many places even in Vermont and New Hampshire as a crust of ice and rain froze over during this most recent arctic invasion. The cold air is resulting in some light snows again. Stowe and Smugglers' Notch has received about 10" the past three days, while Sugarbush has received about 7." The return of colder weather and light snow will mean good conditions on most groomed trails in the Northeast and England. Better than average conditions continue across ski resorts in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, though again, the powder is gone in many areas.
GLOBAL WARMING AND THE SKI INDUSTRY
If one was to look at this natural gas price chart from late February, he/she would think that global warming is a farce. Natural gas prices had one of the biggest, fastest upward price moves ever! However, in my opinion, global warming is real. Just because parts of the United States and Europe had a cold winter does not mean that we are taking the right steps to clean the environment and arrest global warming.
In the January/February issue of Sierra Magazine, there was an article titled, "Downhill Slide--American Corporate Ski Resorts are more about Real Estate than Ski Runs." However, the National Ski Area Association (NSAA) published an article in their newsletter, "The Resort Industry Can Combat Climate Change." One of the ways the ski industry is trying to change their image of not being environmentally caring and savvy is by establishing February 22nd as "Sustainable SlopesDay." Here are some of things some ski resorts were doing this year to fight global warming:
**Resorts adopted a new climate change policy this season to address global warming. On February 22nd, "Sustainable Slopes Outreach Day," they showcased simple, innovative efforts they are using to reduce carbon dioxide and other heat trapping emissions associated with global warming. Skiers and snowboarders had a chance to sign up for global warming solutions of their own.
*Resorts are using a variety of measures to reduce global warming emissions in their operations, including pollution-free wind energy to run buildings and lifts and the use of energy-efficient "green building" techniques. They're retrofitting existing facilities to save energy (and money); replacing inefficientcompressors in snowmaking operations; using alternative fuels in resort vehicle fleets; and providing or promoting car pooling or mass transit use by guests and employees.
I had the pleasure of volunteering with Sid Embree, President of Clean Commodities on February 22nd at Killington Resort in Vermont. Killington offset vehicle emissions from about 300 of its guests by giving away "title" to 300 tons of carbon dioxide emission reductions to skiers and boarders whho filled out a questionnaire about global warming. Clean Commodities purchased the emission reduction rights from a renewable energy power producer. For each individual that filled out the questionnaire, we gave them a certificate that they just reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 1 ton---or about 20% of what their average carproduces in one year. I look forward to working with her next winter on some products with "willing" ski resorts.
My observations while volunteering was that young kids and teenagers, especially women, were more likely to come up to me and ask questions about the environment and fill out the questions. Older adults were not as willing and were often "stuck in their old ways" of thinking having adopted a laissez faire type attitude about the environment.
Other ski resorts are beginning to do their part about global warming. For example. Five ski areas (Gore Mountain, Holiday Valley, and Peek 'n Peak in New York and Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon) teamed up with Green Mountain Energy Company, the nation's largest and fastest growing retail provider of cleaner electricity. GMEC purchased enough pollution-free wind power to run the resorts' main chair lifts for the day - 18,000 kilowatt-hours - offsetting more than 10 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
In California, Mammoth Mountain is rolling out a new alternative energy project - the use of solar heating for lift shacks. In Wyoming, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort purchases wind energy to power two of its chairlifts: Moose Creek and Union Pass; and the list goes on.
We will have more information later in the year.
Some of the best skiing of the season will bless Colorado and Utah with another 1-2 feet likely the next couple days; consistent of the map we provided you with last week. Even Taos and southern Colorado around Crested Butte and Telluride could see well over a foot of snow by mid-late week. In the east, bitter cold weather and sunny skies will be the rule with temps 8-15 degrees below normal. Several inches of snow is likely in B.C./Alberta with a possible importantstorm system bringing over a foot of snow from Red Mountain, Panorama and Whistler to Sun Valley, Idaho, Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood by this weekend. Cold easterly winds across the eastern sloped of the northern Rockies could mean another big dose of snow at Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee by Saturday or Sunday.
I look for several inches of snow early this week at Squaw Valley, Tahoe and Alpine Meadows with a possible important event on March 2nd-3rd--just when I will be heading out their to ski for a week.
Today's map valid for March 3rd for shows several "X's" over central Canada, west of British Columbia in the Pacific and over Idaho. These represent several storm systems that will bring normal to above normal snowfall to the central and northern Rockies, Pacific Northwest and British Columbia over the next week. The black, solid lines are headed south out of western Canada (cold) into the northern Rockies.
Continued colder than normal weather in the east and a possible Nor'easter late this week or early next week may bring powder again to far southern New England resorts, while northern New England sees below normal snowfall the next 5-7 days.
The forecast about 10-15 days for now is for the possibility of yet another Nor'easter, possibly favoring northern New England as well with good late winter ski conditions down the east coast. Somewhat drier weather may dominate Colorado, Utah, and parts of the Sierras after March 6th, but until then, several chances for snow should greatly improve ski conditions out west.
Our March long range forecast will be issued next week. For the best ski weather information and various goodies..go to www.bestskiweather.com