Powder to the People: What to Expect this Ski Season

Snow falls at Vail Mountain on November 24th, 2023. Photo provided by Evan Kaiser.
Snow falls at Vail Mountain on November 24th, 2023. Photo provided by Evan Kaiser.

As frigid temperatures set in across the country this winter, many are suiting up for a promising ski season. It’s expected that tens of millions of Americans will be traveling over the holidays, not long after the United States experienced its busiest airline travel day in history over Thanksgiving break. This could bode well for ski resorts on both the East and West Coasts, especially as weather stations predict an extremely snowy season for the majority of the country.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, a renowned weather forecast publication, the US can expect an El Niño pattern during the beginning of winter. This weather phenomenon generally entails dry conditions in the Northeast, and doesn’t usually support heavy snowfall. However, the National Weather Service calls for above average precipitation through Northern Virginia, keeping hopes high for local ski resorts. “My favorite thing about snowboarding is carving the snow,” says junior Jaden Park, one of the many mountain-goers eager for a fresh blanket of powder.

If snowy conditions hold up through February, skiers and snowboarders can realistically hit multiple destinations, without the concern of a drop in fresh snow. Among the most recommended resorts on the East Coast are Stowe, Vermont and Whiteface, New York, both of which draw in large amounts of visitors annually. Though it’s true the highest snowfall is most likely to occur in New England, there are plenty of resorts closer to NOVA that offer great skiing under the proper conditions.

“I would recommend Whitetail Resort [PA] because it has the most runs,” says senior Jimmy Marsh. Other local ski resorts include Liberty and Massanutten, both about an hour and a half away from Purcellville. 

Most resorts in and around Virginia tend to open around Christmas, when many people look to ski locally and avoid unpredictable airport conditions over the holidays. However, larger mountains at higher elevations on the West Coast are already offering chairlift tickets to access pristine runs. As the Rocky Mountains of Colorado become enveloped in snow early this winter, top destinations such as Vail and Breckenridge open their winding pistes and legendary back bowls.

Though East Coast resorts are more ideal for NOVA residents in terms of driving and difficulty, it may be worth considering a trip to the West. Even if the East Coast does experience heavy snowfall, larger ski resorts at higher elevations are sure to provide an unforgettable experience all winter long. Regardless of which resorts are the easiest to access or have the most powder, anticipate busy holiday crowds at airports and resorts as skiers seek out the slopes once more.

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