Will There Be Skiing For Thanksgiving?

November 20, 2015

Good news this evening…there will be a limited opening at 3 Oregon Ski Areas tomorrow.  And I do mean LIMITED.

That said, you can go up, have some fun in the (ahhh…) sun, plus enjoy drinks/food/entertainment.  But you won’t slide on the snow too far.  At least it’s a start.

Timberline will open their Bruno beginner lift, Meadows has the Buttercup lift going, and Bachelor opens just a terrain park accessed by a lift.

You can see why the terrain will be limited to a few swaths of snow; the current snow depths at the base areas:

  • 10″ Mt. Hood Meadows
  • 15″ Mt. Bachelor
  • 19″ Timberline

Typically you need 25″ or more to open at least a few lifts and 50″ to open the majority of resort acreage.

So will we see SOME sort of real opening for Thanksgiving weekend?  It’s going to be a close call; totally dependent on just one more snow event in the next 8-10 days.  That’s later Monday and Tuesday.  Right now this is what I’m thinking:

MarkSnow_MtHoodFcstThe ECMWF and GEM models today were drier than this, but the GFS has been wetter (whiter?).  This 5-9″ forecast then is more or less an average of the two.

Assuming we get less than a foot, it’s still going to be tough to open another lift or two.  Since we don’t see any good system other than this in the next 10+ days,  all hope for some skiable terrain in the month of November is riding on Monday’s system.

Now you skiers/snowboarders don’t need to get all worked up (for now…) since it’s definitely not unusual to see ski areas remain closed over Thanksgiving.  Take a look at Mt. Hood Meadows base total from past years on November 25th (next Wednesday).  This year I’m guessing it’ll be 15-20″ by that time.

MarkSnowPack_MeltingQuickly2

IGNORE THE BANNER, that is a graphic from a blog post last year at this time.

Look at 2007 and 2008!  Terrible start, but those were BIG snow years with great skiing, especially 2007-2008.  It just took awhile for things to get going.

So my gut feeling is that we will see extremely limited terrain available for snow play through the Thanksgiving Weekend.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen