Sunday, September 4, 2011

Alf Engen Ski Museum Faux Pas

Congrats to Dave Schultz who identified the most meteorological and geographical faux pas in photos from the Alf Engen Ski Museum.  He didn't quite get them all, however.

In photo one,

the primary issue is the myth that Utah is the home of some of the world's best powder skiing, because of our arid desert air.  The last thing that you want if you want good snow is arid desert air or everyone would be flocking to Mount Tahat in Algeria to ski the Greatest Snow on Earth.  Nope, Utah has a great powder reputation because we get a lot of snow and it comes in storms that become colder over time, which leads to lots of right-side up powder.

In photo two,

the claims for water content in the middle (partially blocked by the glare) conflict with the snow-to-liqud ratio claimed to the side.  To set the record straight, in the Sierra, the average is more like 8 inches of snow per inch of water (~12.5%), although like anywhere, there is some geographic varaibility and considerable variability from storm to storm.  At Alta, the average is about 12 inches of snow per inch of water (~8.4%).  What makes Utah powder great, however, is that snow is usually right side up, meaning the water content is high to start and low to finish.

Finally, in photo three,

the Paradise Ice Caves were on Mount Rainier in Washington, not Oregon.  Sadly the caves, as they were once known, no longer exist.

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