Last season started off with a bang but died early. This season again showed great promise a month ago with some early snow even falling in Southern California. Since then however, snow, or even good, cold snow making conditions, have been pretty scarce. As of Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, only four resorts have managed to open in California and three of those have only one run operating.
Mammoth Mountain, on the east side of the Sierra in Central California, is the exception. Mammoth has a dozen runs open and is making snow on the lower elevations most every night. They even picked up a few inches of fresh snow from the recent storm that hit the lower half of the state over the past four days. They were lucky because the storm ended up falling way short of "snow making" expectations and the reason may be the same that produced so much rain.
Earlier this week the it looked quite promising as the northern and southern jet streams moved fairly close together a few hundred miles to our west. This allowed the storm moving south to tap into the moist, subtropical flow west of Mexico. It ended up producing a lot of rain (record rainfall the past two days in San Diego in fact) but it also seemed to raise the temperature of the storm as it moved into California. The result in Southern California was just a dusting of snow, an inch at best at Mountain High near Wrightwood and the same for Snow Summit and Bear Mountain at Big Bear.
So for now, Mammoth Mountain is the best and really only California destination for skiers and boarders and Utah, Colorado and New Mexico aren't doing much better. They too had great snowfall during October but the last two weeks of November have been fairly warm and dry. Unless things improve before Christmas it looks like the resorts in Oregon and Washington, which have seen constant storms the past two months (and more on the way) will also be seeing a good number of Californians.