After a dry start to the season, Colorado's ski regions received 3 to 10 feet of snow during the holidays, which was a pleasant present.
OpenSnow founder meteorologist Joel Gratz says that Crested Butte received 99 inches over the nine-day storm cycle.
- After started December with near-record lows, the state's average snowpack is presently at 114 percent.
Yes, but the new snow isn't covering up underlying issues that might make this a challenging ski season.
The situation: A surge in mountain-town tourists and a surge in Epic ticket sales are clashing with "the most challenging Christmas season I've ever witnessed," according to Vail Resorts chief operating officer Beth Howard.
According to Jason Blevins of the Colorado Sun, a labor scarcity is hampering resorts' capacity to create new terrain
- The shortage of workers is attributed to a lack of affordable housing and low wages.
By the stats, several major ski resorts have only opened half of their terrain or less to begin January.
- Keystone, one of the earliest ski resorts to open in October, is just 30% open, compared to 41% for Loveland and 37% for Eldora.
Between the lines: Similar to a year ago, mountain communities are becoming COVID-19 hotspots, and officials are scrambling to reintroduce indoor mask laws to stem the virus' spread. Staffing shortages are also being exacerbated by the rise.
- There's no way for skiers and snowboarders to get away. Massive avalanches have been seen in the Alps, with one death, prompting urgent recommendations to keep clear of the backcountry.
The bottom line: According to the Sun, Vail Resorts is partly to responsible for the lengthy lineups and delayed openings, according to Fred Rumford, a resort industry veteran who was sacked by the firm.
- "They were so focused on the bottom line that they placed employees last," he explained. "They didn't make any investments in their employees.... They only reinvest if it's something flashy and glamorous, like chairlifts or terrain."
What they're saying is as follows: "This has been an extraordinarily difficult few weeks – especially for people who just came off of dealing with severe early season weather circumstances," said James O'Donnell, president of Vail Resorts' mountain division.