Ski Season Struggles
By James Hunter
In 2018, ski resorts across the west coast have been plagued with warm temperatures, low snow numbers, and poor conditions. These conditions have tested the ability of many resorts around California to draw skiers and snowboarders up to the mountain.
2018 is truly a stark contrast to 2017, where many resorts had received upwards of 500 inches of snow by March and kept their operations open well into the summer. Squaw Valley, for example, didn’t close its ski mountains until the July 4th weekend. 2017 was truly one of the best ski seasons that California has seen in decades. This left many avid skiers, including myself, with huge expectations leading into the 2018 season.
Another skier that has been disappointed by the lack on snowfall this year is Karolina Spinelli, a sophomore and an avid skier, who is on the mountain as much as she can be.
“My motivation is a little better now because now I am way more excited to hit the slopes when there’s any fresh snow because I know that it is rarer now in comparison to last season,” Spinelli said. “I was pretty bummed that the snowfall this year is incomparable to last years, but we have to make the best of what we have and hope for the most snow we can get.”
Even though there is plenty of snow to ski beginner, intermediate, and some advanced trails, some advanced and expert skiers are having trouble finding challenging terrain. At Bear Valley, a small but challenging resort, the lack of snow has caused the resort to be unable to open its entire lower mountain, known as Grizzly Bowl. As of March 12, the bowl remained closed, leaving out some of the best terrain on the small mountain. This lack of available terrain is not good for resorts like Bear Valley, who are trying to follow up one of the best seasons in recent history. This poses the question if you don’t have a season pass, is it worth $95, or more, to ski for a day on poor snow? Aside from attendance struggles at ski resorts, skiers are disappointed about the lack of snow and nobody can seem to stop comparing it to 2017’s amazing season.
Tyler Abreu, a Novato High sophomore and a skier who skis as much as he can, seems to be disappointed by the lack of snow.
“This season is totally different compared to last year’s but the lack of snow only makes the fresh powder days feel a thousand times better,” Abreu said.
And that’s true, those slow-season powder days make the skiing just that much more special. After more than two feet of new snow over the March 17 weekend, the skiing was some of the best that anybody had experienced this season. Advanced skiers were able to finally get in the trees, and new skiers could take some new adventures onto freshly-groomed intermediate runs.
Audrey Uyesugi, a sophomore at Novato High and an intermediate skier, tries to ski as much as she can.
“When I went during ski week, it was very cold and the weather was bad,” Uyesugi said. “This made me unmotivated to go back and make some more runs. The snow was also very thick, which made it hard to maneuver through. Earlier in the year, I went skiing for a day and the snow was terrible too. Overall, the lack of snow has been irritating.”
Even though the season may be a little disappointing or irritating, there’s still nothing that that a true skier would rather do than ski, no matter the snow numbers. Many take some time to practice some of the fundamentals and prepare for that next deep powder day, whenever it might come.