We’re off to a great start this season and the resort operators are rejoicing over the resulting big boost to early season skier traffic.  It’s no secret that they had a rough year last season thanks to lacklustre snowfall numbers.  From the wet coast to the most powder blessed resorts in Alberta, snowfall numbers were way down in January and February.  Thankfully, we’ve had some record setting snowfall numbers and places like Revelstoke and Kicking Horse are opening a couple weeks early – both are having ‘sneak peak’ weekend openings starting this weekend.  Lake Louise went from the usual ‘WiWaxy only’ on opening day to have 98 runs open this weekend.  Sunshine has 11 of 12 lifts open and 62 of 111 runs.  They’ve already received 219cms of snow and have a 106cm base.  That’s great for this early in the season!

There must be a lot of happy faces in Revelstoke this weekend as the resort is boasting over 300cms of snowfall to kick off the season.  I thought that was huge but if you look at the Revelstoke Mountain snowfall chart below, it’s kinda normal for Revy – they get a ton of snow.  In fact, they’re actually a little behind the spectacular 12/13 season and 09/10 season.  This is an interesting chart because it shows how we were off to a great start through December last year then the snow started to plateau.  That stretch in  February through March was truly dismal but expectations are much higher this year thanks to a particularly strong El Nino.

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The killer snowfall right across BC and Alberta in early November has already converted many of the no shows from last year into believers.  It’s seriously hard not to get excited when you see the kind of shots coming out of Revelstoke.  (Nice arty pics by the way… great job!)  I highly recommend checking out the Revelstoke gallery because there are more where this came from.

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I have no doubt that there was some fantastic skiing at Revelstoke and Kicking Horse the weekend.  Although the heavy snowfall stopped over a week ago much of the terrain was preserved by the fact that they were still closed.  Of course the resort insiders and a few scroungy poachers (no offence – I’m a scroungy poacher) will have tracked up some of the nicest runs but there’s plenty to go around.

Not to be outdone, Kicking Horse has been posting some amazing shots as well.  Do you think this guy was wishing he had a snorkel?

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The Kicking Horse photo gallery has been one of my go to places for some wicked mountain photography but I’m disappointed with the lower res images they’re posting on the website and Instagram.  They really need to get back on track because as cool as the above shot is, it’s not even close to what Revelstoke and other resorts are putting up.  But I still love the mountain!!

I just want to comment on El Nino before signing off for today.  The predicted El Nino effect is warmer temperatures and greater precipitation throughout the winter.  With the stellar November we’ve had people are getting very excited about the prospect of abundant powder days without the skin searing sub arctic temperatures.  My hopes are up as well!! But there was a sobering article on CTV news that reminded me of past El Nino winters where Pineapple expresses played havoc with rain-prone resorts like Castle and Fernie.  That said, in those very same seasons there were also multiple epic snow days.  A few years back I remember Castle having to close mid season because of the rainfall and then they were hit with success days of massive powder that kept them going for the remainder of the season.  I suspect this El Nino will bring similar ups and downs this year but on the whole I think it’s safe to expect a season far far better than last year.  Book your trips now and hope for the best.

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