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Smugglers Notch January Skiing

Smugglers Notch snow in January

Data show January is the best month Smugglers Notch for overall snow quality when considering the following factors:

  • Snow quantity at Smugglers Notch
  • Snow quality at Smugglers Notch
  • How much snow is required for proper terrain coverage at Smugglers Notch—steeper resorts require more snow to get 100% open.
  • Smugglers Notch's snow frequency (standard deviation)
  • Smugglers Notch's elevation
  • Smugglers Notch's latitude
  • Smugglers Notch's slope aspects - more north-facing slopes protect snow later into winter
Smugglers Notch snow score by month, January in focus

What matters when it comes to snow for January skiing:

January at Smugglers Notch, or any ski resort, for that matter, is the beginning of the 'safe bet' season. Booking a ski trip in December can be tricky, as even Utah's Cottonwood Canyons can be wanting for snow at that time of the year. But by January, most mountains have begun to fill in and booking a trip should be considered more of a sure thing.

January is also the time when ski resorts that possess large amounts of south-facing and east-facing terrain tend to be at their peak. The dark January days and low sun angles during this time in North America let areas such as Montana's Whitefish, which has a lot of south-facing terrain, ski at its best. The January sun isn't powerful enough, usually, to push the slopes into the kinds of freeze-thaw cycles that happen with regularity later in the season.

January is when the coldest winter storms typially happen, so this is when skiers will want to pack their mitts instead of gloves and their ski knickers in addition to their Gore-Tex pants. Coats that combine insulation and waterproof membranes—often too hot to wear in March–shine during January. This is the month to chase fluffy and chalky snow. To understand more of what makes a ski resort peak in January, consult our snow rankings page.

Crowds After the New Year's holiday and before MLK weekend is also a great time to ski for those looking to avoid crowds. It's often the quietest time of the year outside of early and mid-December.

Smugglers Notch skiing by month:
Smugglers Notch
By Month