Are you dreaming of a White Christmas? You're not alone. Ski resorts across North America are asking Santa for bountiful December snowfall in the hopes of satisfying the needs of their guests during one of the busiest weeks of the year.
Following last season's record-breaking snowfall in North America, Year Two of La Niña has been slow to develop. While December powder days might have been the norm in 2010, it's still very early and the 2011/2012 season could quickly rebound with a few big storms scattered across the country. In fact, some of those storms have been blessing certain regions just in the last week.
Planning a last-minute holiday ski vacation? Want to know where the best snow is right now? We've got you covered...
49 Degrees North, Chewelah, Wash.
The Pacific Northwest has been the center of all of the early-season snow. To date, 49 Degrees North has seen over 80 inches of snow and has a current base of over 50 inches. The entire mountain is open with three lifts servicing 62 runs.
Mt. Baker, Bellingham, Wash.
Much like 49 Degrees North, Mt. Baker has gotten a ton of the white stuff early this season. The current base is 68 inches at Pan Dome, and 53 inches at the Heather Meadows base area.
Mt. Bachelor, Bend, Ore.
Oregon has seen some early snow but not as much as their neighbors to the north in Washington. Mt. Bachelor has received 70 inches of snow so far this season with a base of 32 inches. Right now, there are limited runs open but they plan to open more this weekend.
Photo Courtesy of Arizona Snowbowl.
Arizona Snowbowl, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Snowbowl officially opens for the season on Friday, Dec. 16. The foot of snow they received in the last week should make for an epic opening day. With more snow in the forecast and the late opening day, there will be plenty of pow to go around once Santa cruises into town.
Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, Mount Charleston, Nev.
When you think of Vegas, you probably think of slots more than snow, right? Well so far this season Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort has received nearly 80 inches of powder giving them a 50 inch base. With all of their lifts open, maybe think slots and snow in Vegas this holiday season.
Photo Courtesy of Powderhorn.
Powderhorn, Mesa, Colo.
The resorts on the Western Slope of Colorado have received more snow than their more-popular neighbors in the Front Range of the state and Powderhorn is no exception. Powderhorn boasts a 35 inch base and has received over a foot of fresh snow in the past 48 hours.
Aspen/Snowmass, Aspen, Colo.
10 inches of fresh powder in the past 48 hours helped Aspen's four mountains to make this list. With a base of 34 inches at Snowmass and Aspen Highlands and more to come, looks like Aspen will have plenty of the white fluffy stuff come Christmas... and we're not referring to the mink coats in town.
Snowbird, Snowbird, Utah
The Bird had a record-setting year last season. While the early-season results haven't matched the lofty snow numbers of a year ago, they have received 88 inches so far. A 30 inch base has allowed them to open four lifts with two more coming on-board on Friday, Dec. 16 in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Sunburst, Kewaskum, Wis.
Wisconsin has seen more early snow than normal this season. The same October storms that hit the Rockies also dropped snow in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. Sunburst currently has six runs open.
Photo Courtesy of Sundown Mountain.
Sundown Mountain, Dubuque, Iowa
Much like Wisconsin, Iowa got some nice accumulation in October. However, Iowa is a bit colder than Wisconsin, allowing resorts to make snow earlier. Sundown has an impressive snowmaking system that can churn out 12 inches of the man-made stuff in 24 hours. They currently have 13 runs open.
Photo Coutesy of Stowe Mountain Resort.
Stowe Mountain Resort, Stowe, Vt.
Much like the rest of the Northeast, Stowe has been hampered by warm temperatures and minimal precipitation. A couple of early storms combined with a robust snowmaking system has enabled them to keep a base and build on it to open 16 runs.
Stratton Mountain, Winhall, Vt.
Stratton's snowmaking system has them leading the way in southern Vermont. The same early storms that hit Stowe have helped Stratton build a base and open 12 runs, including some top-to-bottom skiing.
Sugarloaf, Carrabassett Valley, Maine
Sugarloaf probably received as much early snow as anywhere else in the Northeast thanks to their location in northern Maine. However, that same warm streak a few weeks ago has diminished their base. They now have 10 trails open and new snow on the ground and cold temperatures have locals optimistic.
Photo Courtesy of Sugar Mountain Resort.
Sugar Mountain Resort, Village of Sugar Mountain, N.C.
Sugar Mountain's location in the valley between Grandfather Mountain and Beech Mountain keeps the weather just cold enough to make snow earlier than any other resorts in the region. With six runs open, Sugar Mountain is the top choice right now in the Southeast.