Michigan Ski Resorts Have More Powder Than Vail

The Midwest may not have mountains, but it does have snow.

The great holiday migration of powder-hungry Midwesterners to the slopes of Colorado is a sight to behold. But this year, they might be better served staying home.

In a surprising quirk of weather-related events, Michigan is currently out-snowing most of Colorado. With a number of resorts boasting 40- to 60-inch bases with more fluff on top, Colorado’s skimpy 20- to 30-inch snow totals (mostly artificial) look skimpy.

Aspen / Snowmass displays an 11- to 26-inch base with less than half of its lifts open; Vail has an 18-inch base with less than a third of its lifts open; and Steamboat has a 15- to 19-inch base.

And frankly, the majority of the snow on Colorado slopes so far this season is artificial.

It was so bad in Aspen in early December that the resort took to soup-kitchen style feeding its employees, who had no work at the shuttered mountain.

Meanwhile in Michigan, Crystal Mountain reports a 49-inch base, Nubs Nob has a 48-inch base, and Mount Holly has a 36-inch base.

Colorado Drought, Michigan Snow

This winter, Denver nearly broke its 69-day record without moisture before a light dusting blanked the city last week. The total reached 65 days in the city.

Residents of Denver report breaking out the mountain bikes again and watering lawns to keep up with the dryness. But the end may be in sight.

Weather forecasts claim an arctic air mass will move in this weekend, with chances for snow and much cooler temperatures. And it’s worth noting most Colorado mountains are blowing snow at a breakneck pace in preparation for holiday guests.

For those hitting the Colorado slopes, the snow may be thin, but there is hope.

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Midwest born, Nate Mitka is based in the GearJunkie Denver office. He is an advocate of all outdoor activities and has developed some habits, like running without headphones, eating raw vegetables, and fixing the chain on his ratty old bike.
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