Snowstorms Bring Plenty Of Powder For The Holidays

Snow storms bring plenty of powder to the western U.S. Skiers and snowboarders who have been watching the weather, just hoping for an opportunity to hit their favorite ski resort this holiday season, are likely to be pretty excited at the moment. Snowstorms across the western United States have started dumping plenty of fresh powder on the region and it now looks like we could be on course for a much better ski season compared to last year.

A late autumn storm brought plenty of fresh accumulation to most of Colorado this past weekend, with Wolf Creek picking up an impressive 30″ and Purgatory getting more than 20″ as well. Monarch Mountain wasn’t far behind with 17″ of new snow, while Steamboat was hit with 13″. Most other major resorts across the state also received anywhere from five to ten inches of new accumulation, which means nearly any hill will be ready for the holiday rush beginning this weekend.

Taking a quick look at current base levels for snow at some of the more iconic ski destinations across the west shows that there is plenty of powder currently on the ground. For instance, Snowbird has a base of 60″ at the moment and has already received more than 118″ so far this season. Jackson Hole is doing quite well for themselves too, having racked up an impressive 164″ of snow before winter has even officially begun. If you’re headed to the Lake Tahoe region, Heavenly is boasting a base of between 30-50″ with total accumulations in excess of 120″ on some parts of the mountain. Nearby, Squaw Valley has received as much as 6″ of fresh powder in the past day or so, bringing its base up to nearly 70″ as well.Not to be outdone by its competitors, California’s Mammoth Mountain is measuring their base between 5.5 and 6.5 feet, with total accumulations in excess of 134″ already this season. The forecast calls for more snow over the next few days as well, bringing those totals up even more. All of this fresh powder comes just as the first flights of the season take off for the resort. Regular air travel to Mammoth begins tomorrow, just in time for the holiday season ahead.

Weather forecasts indicate that another large storm front will hit the western U.S. later this week, bringing more snow to many areas. If you’re planning on spending some time on the slopes this holiday season, it seems you’ll have plenty of fresh powder to shred.

[Photo Credit: Mammoth Mountain]

Europe flights still delayed as airports try to catch up

Europe, London, snowThousands of travelers in Europe still don’t know if they’ll be home for Christmas as airports struggle to deal with a huge backlog of flights. Unusually heavy snowfall in Northern Europe led to cancellations in several countries. London’s Heathrow airport was hardest hit. BBC reports that the UK Army offered to help, but Heathrow refused.

The world’s busiest airport is only running at 30 percent capacity until at least 6a.m. Thursday, and extension of 24 hours beyond the original announcement. Since Heathrow is a hub for so many airlines, this is affecting many other airports.

A friend of mine here in Madrid had two flights to the UK canceled before she finally got on a plane that took her home. She was one of the lucky ones. Five thousand people had to camp out at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, most of whom were headed to London.

So if you’re flying to, from, or within Europe, make sure to check your flight before heading to the airport.

[Photo courtesy Alexandre Moreau Photography via Gadling's flickr pool]

Snow continues to disrupt Europe flights and trains

Europe, europe, snowLast night much of northern Europe got another dumping of snow, worsening the continent’s travel woes, the BBC reports. An unusually high amount of snowfall over the weekend left many passengers stranded as runways got buried and ice built up on wings. This latest snowfall has led to another round of cancellations.

Trains are overbooked as passengers look for alternative means of travel, but the snow is affecting how fast trains can go. Some companies, including Eurostar and those in Germany, are telling people to stay home.

Heathrow is suffering the most and will only be able to run 30% of its flights until 6a.m. Wednesday, and that’s assuming more snow doesn’t make matters worse.

Frankfurt airport, which has had to cancel almost 300 flights last night, tried to cheer up stranded passengers by bringing in clowns to entertain them. No news on how well that worked.

So if you’re traveling to, from, or within Europe this holiday season, be sure to check your flight status before heading to the airport.

[Photo courtesy Luke Robinson via Gadling's flickr pool]

The 10 snowiest cities in America … bundle up!

10 snowiest cities in America

I spend all summer fantasizing about winter. From the end of May to the beginning of October, I wind up drenched in sweat, wishing I could peel off my own skin and running from one air conditioned environment to another. It’s miserable. When the biting cold of the winter season hits, I embrace it, finally able to be somewhat comfortable when I’m outside. Add a bit of snow to the equation, and the result is positively heavenly.

So, when I saw The Weather Channel’s list of snowiest cities in the United States, my mind immediately wandered to chilly places where I could hop on a sled (which I prefer to skis or snowboards), pour a big, steaming mug of hot chocolate and hurl snowballs at random passers by.

Are you into that sort of thing? Well, you’ll probably want to dash off to one of the 10 snowiest cities in the country! In case you’re wondering, here they are:

%Gallery-108139%1. Valdez, Alaska: The Weather Channel reports that this city gets 297.7 inches of snow a year, with 180 of them coming in only one month. If you go to the second snowiest city in the country, the annual average is six feet lower than it is in Valdez. Slackers.

2. Boonville, New York: Boonville just sounds like a snowy place. With 220.5 inches a year, this town in the foothills of the Adirondacks calls itself the “Snow Capital of the East” and has the powder to back up that claim.

3. Hancock, Michigan: In December, 56 inches of snow are dumped on Hancock, with another 68 inches following in January. The city averages 218 inches a year and once boasted of two feet of wet snow on June 2. This is my kind of place!

4. Crested Butte, Colorado: From November through March, you can expect at least 30 inches of snow to fall every month, with an annual average of 217.7 inches. If you like snow to shroud your Labor Day barbecue, this is the place to be – you can also find snow falling as late as the end of June.

5. Truckee, California: In the late 1800s, one storm pummeled Truckee with 10 feet of snow over two days. Since then, the elements have been merciful, if you call an annual average snowfall of 198.3 inches merciful. Do the math on this one.

6. Lead, South Dakota: Storms dropping more than 10 inches of snow hit at least three times a year in this city, which averages 187 inches of snow a year.

7. Steamboat Springs, Colorado: For 97 days a year, you can expect this mile-high city to have at least 10 inches of snow on the ground. The annual average snowfall of 175.5 inches is nothing to sneeze at.

8. Red Lodge, Montana: There have been years where snow didn’t fall in only two months – that’s what it takes to score an annual average of 173.9 inches. And, the snow lingers: there’s at least an inch on the ground 127 days a year.

9. Tahoe City, California: The snow doesn’t start to fall until November, but when it does, it comes plentifully. Tahoe City averages 170.8 inches a year.

10. Ironwood, Michigan: This city has a slightly pornographic name and a hell of a lot of snow. Ironwood averages 164.6 inches of snow a year and is a hot spot for winter sports, according to The Weather Channel.

[photo by bsabarnowl via Flickr]

Winter travel time: East Coast gets buried, disrupts travel

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A monstrous storm ran up the East Coast yesterday, burying parts of the country in more than a foot of snow and making life a living hell for road-trippers and airline passengers. As of last night, five deaths were reportedly caused by the storm. Fourteen inches fell on Reagan National Airport, setting a single-day record for December. Several hundred thousand homes in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina lost power. Airports in New York and Washington, D.C. canceled flights and had to cope with long delays.

It’s winter travel season again, in case you didn’t know.

The first major storm of the year was nothing short of severe. Some drivers ditched their cars on the side of the road, giving up any attempt to compete with the snowstorm. Meanwhile, malls were empty, as many didn’t bother trying to compete with the weather.