The biggest contrast on 2010-11 is Lake Tahoe which last winter was blanketed by incredible falls that measured nearly 20m (60 feet) by the spring and allowed any resorts that wanted to top open in July. This Christmas however resorts are currently struggling to open much terrain using mostly machine made snow rather than the usual abundance of natural snowfall.

Only 8 or 170 trails were open at Squaw Valley at the weekend and Heavenly reported 20 of its nearly 100 runs were operational. Although weather has been cold enough for snow making no snow is currently expected for the foreseeable future.

In Utah more powder is needed but Deer Valley reports half of its 100 trails are open with a 26 inch (65cm) base although none of its seven bowls are.

Unfortunately it's a similar picture on the East Coast with resorts struggling to open terrain there too, sometimes with the added issue of temperatures being too warm for snowmaking. One of the biggest resorts, Killington, currently reports 33 of its 140 trails are open, others are less fortunate.

The resorts with the deepest snow bases are mostly in the northwest of the country (Alaska and Washington State) where Eaglecrest which a month ago boasted the most weekly snowfall in the world still has a 267cm base. Of the big name international resorts Aspen is around the best with a 60-90cm base at Highlands.