Top Destinations For Epic Ski Conditions in 2016
If you’re anything like us, chances are you’ve been dying to hit the slopes now that those holiday commitments have shifted to the rearview.
While downhill aficionados in both the Rockies and the Northeast enjoyed plenty of white goodness all through last year, severe lack of snow in California and surrounding areas made 2015 one of the biggest skiing disappointments in recent memory. Fortunately, with a monster El Niño set to dump all sorts of precipitation in the Sierras and many Western states, 2016 is sure to be a tremendous season for skiers of all levels.
With that in mind, if you’ve yet to schedule an excursion or simply don’t know where to start, we’ve taken the opportunity to list five places throughout the US where conditions are sure to be epic this year.
Mammoth Mountain (Mammoth Lakes, CA) – While it’s true nearby Lake Tahoe has a great deal more to offer in terms of resorts and nightlife (and by that measure will always have more than its fair share of visitors), Mammoth’s proximity in the Eastern Sierras makes it far more accessible for skiers in southern and western parts of California. And although last year’s conditions were less than ideal, this year the resort has already managed to amass a three-foot base at the lower elevations with almost six feet at the summit, with plenty more on the way. Boasting 3,500 acres of terrain and a 3,100 foot vertical drop, Mammoth truly lives up to its name. Couple that with El Niño conditions that are expected to last well into the spring and skiers could be making turns well into July.
Crystal Mountain Resort (Enumclaw, WA) – Located in the northeastern portion of Mt. Rainer National Park less than two hours from Seattle, Crystal Mountain benefits from the excessive snow accumulation that is often the norm for the Cascades this time of year. And if recent reports are any indication, Crystal has been killing it thus far this season. With up to15 feet of snow in some spots – along with plenty of groomed trails, chutes, bowls, steeps and backcountry opportunities – you’ll be sure to find terrain that suits you. While you’re there, make sure to take in the breathtaking view of 14,400 foot Mt. Rainer, as it’s one you won’t soon forget.
Big Sky Resort (Big Sky, Montana) – Just a stone’s throw from Yellowstone National Park’s west entrance, the 5,750 acres of Big Sky boast the most skiable terrain anywhere in the United States. Thanks to its incredible size, skiers rarely see lift lines and with an average annual snowfall of over 400 inches and runs up to six miles long, they’ll be no shortage of powder this season, or any for that matter. The terrain largely caters to intermediate and advanced skiers, but beginners will also thrive thanks to an expansive trail network.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (Jackson Hole, WY) – Jackson Hole is known for its steep terrain, making it a quintessential destination for thrill-seekers everywhere. Sure, it has its fair share of beginner options, but in all seriousness this mountain is no joke. A sign atop the summit of Rendezvous Mountain cautions guests to exercise extreme caution and give the mountain the respect it deserves. Even the most savvy all-mountain skiers can find themselves in trouble if they’re not careful. At the same time, Jackson Hole is like nothing you’ve ever skied before!
Killington Resort (Killington, VT) – Okay, so the recent “heat wave” plaguing the Northeast hasn’t exactly done resorts in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont any favors thus far this season. Nevertheless, Killington remains one of the East’s premier ski destinations with an expansive trail system that spans six mountains with exceptional snowmaking capabilities (it also receives 250 inches average annual snowfall). With 140 trails that are accessible via 22 lifts and some of the best terrain parks around, you’ll be hard-pressed to run out of things to do. And the village is pretty nice too.