Ski resorts' business runs entirely on the abundance of snow. But what is the plan when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate?
Technology has advanced enough to allow them to create artificial snow - padding Mother Nature's bounty to the delight of skiers and snowboarders everywhere.
Anna Cole, communications manager at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village, Wyo., said, "The technological advances in snow-making have really helped the ski industry be able to stick to open days that they have published."
Arching turns on a sunny Jackson Hole day. Credit: Flickr/Jackson Hole Central Reservations
But to create the snow, three elements are still needed: low temperatures, water and compressed air.
For ideal snow-making, temperatures need to be below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
"You can make snow at 28 degrees or cooler, but that is not the ideal temperature to make snow. The colder, the better," Cole explained.
When the temperatures are optimal, water is fed through snow guns which utilize compressed air to create snow. Skiers may notice some slight differences in the artificial snow as compared to natural snowfall.
"You can definitely tell the difference. [Artificial snow] holds moisture differently. Sometimes it will get scratchier. It will get icier than natural snow," Cole said.
Differences aside, creating artificial snow allows skiers to get a jump-start before the first snowfall and optimize their time on the slopes. The main purpose of these snow guns is to create a base in the early ski season - late October to January for Western resorts.
When conditions are ideal during these times, Cole said, "We are blowing snow 24 hours a day."
A snow gun. Credit: Flickr/Tim in Sydney
After January ends, the ski resorts usually have enough natural snow to sustain the base for the rest of the ski season.
Looking forward, Cole hopes snow-making will become an ever greater asset to Jackson Hole.
"There has been tons of innovations in terms of efficiency and how they've automated these very complex systems. We've invested significantly in our snow-making systems over the past few years and will continue to do so."
Due to their snow making capabilities, the Western Jackson Hole Ski Resort will be opening on Thanksgiving Day this year.
Springlike warmth will pour from the Plains to the East over the next few days before another winter storm unfolds at midweek.
Despite a springlike start to the week, winter and substantial snow will make a comeback across the Midwest and Northeast at midweek.
Tropical Cyclone Lusi will bring the threat for flooding rains and damaging winds to parts of New Zealand late this week.
A storm system will move east through the Rockies and spread snow into the Plains during the day on Tuesday.
Although spring is on the horizon, the detrimental impacts of this year's harsh winter still loom as threats for roof collapses continue.
Fort Collins, CO (1998)
5 degrees - tied for the coldest reading of the winter - the first winter on record (since 1889) with no 0 degree readings.
New England/ New York (1959)
20" of snow; blizzard conditions, transportation paralyzed.
Record cold outbreak... 30 degree readings all the way to Southern Louisiana; 40-45 degree readings all the way to Florida.