Reports from across the country show good snow and great weather in most places over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, but not record-breaking crowds.
The Pacific Northwest endured steady rains, while the Southwest continues to look for snow.
Good snow and seasonable weather up and down the East Coast provided a good setting for the three-day weekend in that region, and people turned out, but not in numbers that some resort operators had looked for.
"We thought these three days would be off the charts, and it was busy, but not what we expected," Tom Meyers of Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton, Mass., told OnTheSnow. "Saturday was good, Sunday was off the wall, and today's good, but not off the charts."
"This winter has been a great ride, it's been a very good year. The pace has been very sustained, and we hope we can keep it up," Meyers said.
"It's always nice when you can hit all three periods. We hit Christmas, and we hit MLK, and now we're setting out sights on February vacation, and fill in the dots in between," he said.
Bonnie MacPherson of Okemo Mountain Resort said, "We hit our projections for MLK, and we're 1 percent over last years in visits. Saturday and Sunday were really good. We were 95 percent booked for lodging for the weekend, and sold more multi-day tickets for the weekend as single Saturday tickets.
"We had really great weather, good conditions, good snow last week coming into the weekend, and that really helped people think about skiing," MacPherson said.
"Today got really quiet all of a sudden, I think because it's cold. The numbers dropped off the radar today," she said.
"Trends seem to be people are spending money on big ticket items. Private lessons were booked solid a week out. Our children's programs were all booked, the restaurants are busy, the whole town's abuzzing, which is really nice. People are splurging on themselves," she said.
Sunny blue skies greeted skiers across much of the Far West, including SoCal, Tahoe, and Mammoth. Crowds came out to enjoy the slopes with sunglasses and warm temps made for a spring skiing feel in January.
The nasty R word reared its ugly head in the Pacific Northwest. Rain. Rain. Rain from the base areas to summits. It was a weekend of low attendance and soggy conditions. Many resorts in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington had high winds, too. Rain is expected to turn to snow by Monday night, Jan. 17, across much of the region.
The Canadian Rockies were an exception to the rains, where snow began showing up Sunday.
Snow conditions were good across most of the Midwest, and most resorts were expecting good crowds. A visit to Otsego Club on Monday, Jan. 17 found the resort enjoyed near record crowds over the weekend. Mt. Holiday's parking lot in Traverse City, Mich. was overflowing, with much of Lower Michigan expecting a half-foot of snow on Monday. The U.S. Snowboard Team was training at Otsego Club and enjoying the conditions.
It hasn't snowed in a couple of weeks in the Southwest mountains, so a portion of the locals in Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona likely stayed home over the weekend. However, Taos Ski Valley and Sipapu reported robust crowds to OnTheSnow, and a check of resort webcams showed some lift line's lengthening, albeit for relatively short waits. High winds blew in with a warm front Monday, forcing Sandia Peak to close all but its beginner lifts for the day.
Two deaths were reported in the Northeast, a skier at Sugarloaf in Maine, and a skier at Windham Mountain Ski Resort in New York. The Sugarloaf death occurred when the skier, a 16-year-old student at Carrabasset Valley Academy, hit an object on Hayburner Trail at high speed. He was reportedly wearing a helmet.The Windham death was caused by head injuries after the skier, an 18-year-old woman, skied off the trail and hit a tree at high speed. She was reportedly not wearing a helmet.
Southwest Editor Andy Dennison, Far West Editor Becky Lomax, and Midwest Editor Mike Terrell contributed to this report.