johnnash, do the bowls have cover over by High Noon Express? The area by Orient Express had cover when I flew over in mid-December and that lift looked like it might have been open, but according to their ski report all Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin are closed.
I'm sad to report that conditions continue to get worse at Snowmass. Usually conditions improve over these weeks, not worsen. It's been nearly two weeks since our last snow fall and there is nothing in the forecast but sun and unusually warm temps. Unfortunately, the wind storm wrecked the snow coverage, stripped away any soft snow we had and created bare spots and exposed rocks. As a result they have closed some runs like Sheer Bliss, Glissade, Camp 3, a large portion of the Big Burn above Whispering Jesse, Wineskin and Dallas Freeway. Lunkerville below Lodgepole and Log Deck is now closed and they're using a never before used summer access road to move you over to Naked Lady or you can ski down Tom's Trace. (There was a snowcat working overtime this afternoon on Lunkerville.) Sneaky's which usually has the best snow now has coverage similar to how it was over Thanksgiving. There are actually small but growing bare spots now that the sun is taking advantage of at the top of the mountain! Thin spots, bare spots and areas of exposed dirt and rock are common over mid-mountain runs without snowmaking and all of Elk Camp and much of Two Creeks.
Surface conditions are slick hard packed and grooming is pretty much non-existent now, unless it is a run with man-made snow. Most of the runs they cannot groom. Unfortunately, snowmaking ceased operations as of December 31. There is a sign at the bottom of the Elk Camp chair today warning that there is no beginner terrain and no groomed runs. Coverage on Elk Camp and Alpine Springs is really poor with grassy spots, bare spots and exposed rocks that could be a catastrophe to hit. I ski at beginner speed because I have to evaluate and watch each turn.
The best coverage is in the terrain parks where the mountain used the majority of their water to build jumps. There is descent coverage on Fanny Hill, lower Hal's Hollow, upper Scooper, Banzai Ridge, Lower Green Cabin, skiers left on Max Park and Funnel. Last week some of the black diamond bump runs were skiing ok, but they're now slick and more and more rocks are exposed, troughs are in some cases barren.
I skied down Funnel Bypass (catwalk beginner run) today and not only are you hitting gravel in the snow for much of the way, but there large exposed rocks protruding several inches above the surface in spots. That's pathetic for a beginner run.
Overall, December 31 was the worst conditions I've ever experienced for a day in December at Snowmass and the 2nd worst conditions ever. Today, I would place the conditions at 3rd worst ever, and the worst ever for a day in January. That's with 26-years of experience skiing here.
We need a minimum of 24-30 inches to fall in a matter of a few days for conditions to significantly improve. A 6-12 inch storm isn't going to make a difference and it will only hide the numerous hazards. Basically coverage is so thin that in many areas it's like they're starting over.
2011-12 stats - days: 46; vertical: 1,152,418; lift rides: 708; Best single day vertical: 53,374
2010-11 stats - days: 62; vertical: 1,501,462; lift rides: 943;
2009-10 vertical: 1,350,223; 2008-09 vertical: 1,048,681; 2007-08 vertical: 1,034,692;