Not sure I can explain it.
It was close to freezing, but really no sun to speak of. The small amount of snow on top of the very firm and ice was extremely grippy. You could ski steep stuff. Best I can do.
James and I have perhaps different standards about what constitutes good conditions. We had this discussion at Serre Chevalier and concluded that James is not an "eastern skier," as only a modest proportion of his skiing is done there.
Weird stuff can happen to rained upon snow. I know from many experiences that refrozen snow tends to soften to spring conditions faster than packed powder. It would not surprise me if in barely over freezing weather, previously rained upon snow might ski better than heavily trafficked manmade hardpack. The strangest condition I observed at Baldy in 1995 was when previously rained upon snow became saturated with fog and turned into corn.
Historically the numbers, in the US at least, track far closer to good/bad snowfall than good/bad economics.
There is probably some economic influence, but it is not large.
I have Mammoth skier visits through 2019 (Alterra won't release them since) and have analyzed this subject quite a bit.
Mammoth skier visits correlate -13% to California's unemployment rate but 62% to Mammoth snowfall and 80% to my weekly snow conditions index.
Comparing bad snowfall seasons to immediately preceding normal or better seasons:
Worst ever 1976-77 visits fell 63%
1986-87 visits fell 51%
1990-91 visits fell 52%
The latter season forced Mammoth's first ever layoffs and the installation of a serious snowmaking system with the following results:
2006-07 visits fell 31%
2011-12 visits fell 28%
During excellent seasons, 2010-11 visits with 12.1% unemployment were 19% lower than 2005-06 visits with 4.9% unemployment.
During bad seasons, 2011-12 visits with 11.0% unemployment were 13% lower than 2006-07 visits with 5.0% unemployment.
From the US Kottke Report snowfall to skier visit correlation since 2002-03 is 44%. But on a regional basis:
Pacific Northwest 83%
By contrast, Rocky Mountains 1%
This is a demonstration that destination skiers rarely change their plans. Also, the strong growth of Rockies skier visits in recent years is going to override other factors.
US national skier visits correlate -20% to the December unemployment rate. Before 2021-22 the record US skier visit number was 60.5 million in the high snowfall 2007-08 (5.0% unemployment) and 2010-11 (9.3% unemployment) seasons.