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Major snowfall makes for great ski conditions in Whitehorse

Environment Canada says there is 58 cm of snow accumulation.
City crews clear mounds of snow from a residential area in Copper Ridge in Whitehorse on March 16, 2021. The City of Whitehorse is considering its snow and ice control policy for the upcoming winter season. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukoners received a ton of snow over the holidays, resulting in some road closures and optimal ski conditions.

Altogether, the Whitehorse area now has 58 cm of snow on the ground, after receiving a major snow dump on Dec. 21, followed by more snow on Boxing Day and Dec. 27.

The South Klondike from Carcross to Fraser was closed on Dec. 22, due to heavy snow and avalanche risk. An avalanche took place on Dec. 29 but was cleared two days later.

The year’s snowfall follows an unusually high amount of precipitation last year in 2020, which saw 45 cm of snow accumulation at the same time.

Despite accumulation being slightly lower, Whitehorse did receive more snow over November and December last year – a total of 79 mm of precipitation (or around 79 cm of snow) in 2020 versus 70 mm (around 70 cm of snow) in 2021, according to Environment Canada records.

It may be bad news for your back — if you find yourself with a snowblower — but it has meant optimal conditions for cross-country and downhill skiing and snowboarding.

Sam Oettli, general manager at Mt. Sima said the hill was busy over the holiday break. He said they already knew it would be a busy year because of high season pass sales.

“Now that mother nature has been showing up in a really big way in the last week and a half, it’s made it even that much better,” said Oettli.

“We’re a dry area, generally speaking, right? So when we break a meter of snowfall, we celebrate. We’re well on our way to going over a meter. I mean, if there’s just another cycle coming through in a couple of days, we might break a meter before New Year’s Eve, which is unheard of,” he said.

“We’re seeing the same kind of snowfall that we had last year where we just ended up with so much snow and it was just a fantastic season. Even if it didn’t snow anymore, from here on out, we’d still have amazing runs and everything’s looking really good up here.“

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