Is it Too Cold to Ski in January? (Everything to Consider)

January is a great month to go skiing as it is usually less busy compared to December and February, but the snow condition is excellent. However, many wonder if the temperature in January is just to cold to enjoy themselves.

January is one of the coldest months to go skiing however it should not cause an issue if the correct clothing is worn. Ski resorts in Canada tend to get very cold so it is best to go to either Europe or a resort with a lower altitude in the USA if you are concerned about the low temperatures.

It is usually only a few degrees warmer in February compared to January in most ski resorts. The temperatures in December and January are relatively similar, with December being marginally colder out of the two months.

In other words, don’t let it put you off! It’s really only the resorts in Canada where it can get bitterly cold and may be an issue for some during the middle of the ski season.

Temperature in the USA

The average temperature of the base of most ski resorts in the USA in January is between 14°F and 28°F (-2°C and -10°C). However, at the summit of the mountain is can easily be 10°F (5°C) colder compared to the base.

The coldest resorts to ski in the USA are in Colorado, Wyoming, and Vermont, whereas California, Nevada, Idaho and Montana have some of the warmest ski resorts in January.

Ski Resort LocationAverage Temperature in January (Fahrenheit)Average Temperature in January (Celsius)
Colorado34°F / 19°F-7°C / -20°C
Utah34°F / 14°F1°C / -10°C
 California43°F /  39°F4°C / -2°C
Wyoming25°F /  7°F-4°C / -14°C
Vermont  25°F / 5°F-4°C / -15°C
Nevada39°F / 21°F4°C / -6°C
Montana32°F / 18°F0°C / -8°C
Idaho36°F / 23°F2°C / -5°C
Average temperature of American ski resorts in January

Temperature in Canada

Canada is a very cold place in January and the average temperature at the base of most ski resorts is approximately 10 °F (-12°C). At the summit, the temperature can be lower than -4°F (-20°C) on the coldest days.

The coldest Canadian ski resorts in January are Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, Big White and Mont Tremblant whereas some of the warmest are Whistler Blackcomb and Revelstoke.

Ski Resort LocationAverage Temperature in January (Fahrenheit)Average Temperature in January (Celsius)
Banff (Lake Louise & Sunshine)21°F / -4°F-6°C / -20°C
Whistler Blackcomb27°F / 18°F-3°C / -8°C
Big White 16°F /  -4°F-9°C / -20°C
Mont Tremblant18°F / 0°F-8°C / -18°C
Sun Peaks19°F / 10°F-7°C / -12°C
Revelstoke27°F / 16°F-3°C / -9°C
Average temperature of Canadian ski resorts in January

Temperature in Europe

The average temperature within European ski resorts is typically higher compared to in North America, making it a good option for skiing in January if you are worried about the cold temperatures. Austria, France, Italy and Spain tend to be quite cold, whereas Switzerland, Germany and Romania are usually a bit warmer.

Ski Resort LocationAverage Temperature in January (Fahrenheit)Average Temperature in January (Celsius)
Austria27°F / 9°F-3°C / -13°C
Switzerland34°F / 19°F1°C / -7°C
France25°F / 9°F-4°C / -13°C
Italy28°F / 12°F-2°C / -11°C
Germany32°F / 18°F0°C / -8°C
Romania34°F / 21°F1°C / -6°C
Spain37°F / 14°F3°C / -10°C
Average temperature of European ski resorts in January

How Cold is Too Cold for Skiing?

It is possible to ski in very low temperatures (below 0°F/ -18°C) as long as no skin is exposed and the appropriate clothing is worn.

Some ski resorts will close the slopes if the temperature falls below -22°F/ -30°C as these are considered extreme conditions. This can sometimes happen in January in resorts located in North America, however it is quite rare. Each resorts have their own set of rules and temperature is not the only thing they consider.

If the humidity is very high then it will feel a lot colder and the more extreme temperatures can be very uncomfortable. The wind speed is also a huge factor in determining how cold you feel on the slopes.

Quick Tips to Stay Warm When Skiing

  • Layer up and wear appropriate clothing and make sure no skin is exposed
  • Take regular breaks to warm back up
  • Avoid skiing very early or later on in the day when the temperatures will be lowest
  • Keep moving when in the lift lines
  • Make sure to keep your ski gear as dry as possible

Which Resorts are the Warmest in January?

  • Mountains with a lower elevation will not be as cold
  • Slopes with plenty of sheltering from the wind
  • Resorts which are closer to the sea will also be warmer

Here’s a list of some top resorts which don’t get ridiculously cold in January.

USA Resorts:

  • Alta
  • Palisades Tahoe
  • Taos

Canadian Resorts:

  • Whistler Blackcomb
  • Revelstoke
  • Mount Fernie

Check out this article comparing January and February for skiing.

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