While some latitudes of North America battle a bleak snow year, skiers and snowboarders across Western Canada are reveling in powder. Some British Columbia and Alberta ski resorts saw enough snow to start the New Year off with 100 percent of their terrain open.
In British Columbia, a steady stream of Pacific storms caused Whistler Blackcomb to bump 100 percent open. As of the first week in January, the resort was fast approaching the 500cm/200-inch mark for snowfall this season.
Sam Danniels skis in the abundant holiday snowfall at Whistler Blackcomb. Photo by Logan Swayze/Coastphoto.com. Courtesy of Whistler Blackcomb.
Further inland, Red Mountain Resort also opened completely. The fact that the resort relies on natural snow speaks to the multiple days of snowstorms that rolled in over the holidays. The resort has all 88 runs open and all chairs operating, including Granite and Red.
After receiving more than 15 feet of snowfall for the season and on par to match Whistler Blackcomb in snowfall so far, Revelstoke Mountain Resort was primed to launch the 2012 Swatch Freeride and Freeskiing World Tour this week. This is one competition that requires lots of snow. The tour, which runs Jan. 4-11, begins with the Canadian Freeskiing Championships and finishes with the Freeskiing World Tour that features the best of big mountain skiers.
You can check out some of the conditions in Revelstoke last week here:
The heavy snowfall, winds, and erratic freezing elevation also caused British Columbia to see its first avalanche fatalities of the season. Two skiers died in separate avalanches over the holidays in the province while several other non-fatal avalanches were reported.
In Alberta, Sunshine Village opened its expert Wild West terrain last Friday. The date marked the earliest opening of Wild West at the resort. Due to winds working in its favor this year, this is the first time Wild West has opened before Delirium Dive. The Wild West features three large steep couloirs lined with rock walls and several cliff bands that stretch more than 30 meters high. Skiers and riders entering the double black diamond terrain are required to have a shovel, transceiver, and buddy.
At Lake Louise, the Back Bowls boasted knee-deep powder by the end of the holidays. Snowfall in the Back Bowls is pushing close to the 300cm mark for the season while the mid-mountain depth is nearing the 250cm mark.
Nakiska combined natural snowfall with machine-made snow to get its new skier-boarder cross course open for an early Decenber FIS race. It opened for the public in time for the holidays.