Northwest Daily Snow

Season wrap-up, next season and Mt Bachelor spring skiing

Update

Forecast this weekend:

There will be a little snow this weekend with more clouds and cooler weather from an upper-level low traversing the NW.

Hope you had a good ski season. The promised La Nina forecast of cool and snowy verified – with near to above normal snowfall for the Pacific NW. Mt. Baker had over 840” – a big snow year, even for Baker. Parts of Oregon had a slow start but recovered nicely.  

The season started early, as I got a powder day at Crystal on November 17th about a week before Thanksgiving.  The season stalled a bit in December. But a well-timed snowstorm before Christmas provided good holiday skiing. By January there was occasional new snowfall, then the season really took off by mid-February continuing into to April, with many excellent powder days.

Next season:

Right now it looks like a “neutral” winter next year but could change. Neutral is not bad or passive. Neutral means there is no obvious forcing for the atmosphere. That means no nudge to give forecasters an idea of the preferred storm track for a given winter. The forecast for a neutral winter would mean a near-normal snowpack, with a greater possibility of a few extreme storms of wind/rain/snow/cold or flooding. The forecast for next season is not reliable until early next fall.

Spring skiing below: 

Whistler Blackcomb will remain open until May 21st.

Silver Mountain, Idaho – Open this weekend (April 28-29) Last weekend – with above normal snowpack!

White Pass – weekends only until April 29

Alpental weekends only until Sunday, May 6th – Don’t miss Cinco de Mayo!

Mt Hood, Oregon – summer skiing – call for details!

Mt Bachelor: May 27th - Wonderful NW skiing, plus Bend is so cool – ski in the morning, mountain bike the afternoon – see full review below.

Have a great summer!

Larry Schick – Meteorologist – OpenSnow


Review: Spring Skiing - Mt Bachelor, Oregon

I skied Mt Bachelor, Oregon last weekend and the spring skiing was marvelous. I have been there many times in the last four decades, but I had not skied the fantastic south-facing backside in the spring sunshine, for a few years.

I skied my namesake run, “ Larry’s ”, in beautiful sunshine with perfectly softened snow about noon last Sunday (April 22). Larry’s is right next to Curley and Moe’s – seriously, a nod to my buddies the Three Stooges: yuck, yuck, yuck - wise guys! It was fantastic – a perfect pitch and wonderful open gully skiing with fun natural terrain features. In spring, wait for the backside and upper slopes to soften from 11:00 am to noon. I skied the backside too early (10:00 am) a few days before and it was really firm - too early to have the sun soften. Ask the ski patrol about conditions, before you ski it.

The backside at Bachelor is a series of expert runs (2,000-2,500 vertical) with a huge backcountry feel, but totally inbounds – with a catch trail at the bottom, that will get you back to the main ski area lifts. The traverse back is long, but a well graded downhill, with a wide snowcat trail. Snowboarders: it totally doable with no hiking - it’s downhill all the way back. Also, snowboarders note: the backside has many really fun, natural terrain features resembling long, variable half pipes.

By the way, a salute to the groomers on the rest of the mountain – grooming was of high quality and all the main runs. They didn’t get stingy on the grooming like we can sometimes see at other ski areas toward the end of the season. There will be some lifts closing as spring unfolds, but it won’t significantly affect the best skiing.

Mt Bachelor is a wonderful mountain any time of the year, but in my opinion, has the best spring skiing anywhere in the country. They have all the ingredients: a deep, high elevation snowpack with great snow preservation and quality. Plus, expect lots of sunshine and extensive terrain. In addition, the season is long, not closing until May 27, this year. They can even have a real powder day in May. Two years ago, on Mothers day weekend, we got a full-on powder day, followed by a totally sunny bluebird day. Remember, with powder days late in the season: hit it in the first two hours of the morning, for best results.

Getting there: Drive (6.5 hrs from Seattle) or fly (50 minutes from Seattle) into close-by Redmond, Oregon. You’ll love staying and exploring nearby Bend, with incredible biking and more breweries per capita than anywhere in the U.S. – that is making me thirsty.

Give Bachelor a try; it’s a Northwest Gem - especially in the spring sunshine of Central Oregon. You can essentially ski the entire circumference of that massive volcano. And take a stab skiing the backside at Bachelor, when the snow softens in the late morning – and then you’ll understand the magic of spring skiing at Mt Bachelor.

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