Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Good Early Season Start

After spending much of the last month storm chasing, I was finally able to get out and sample the early season snowpack myself yesterday.  The meteorologist inside of me said that this is a good start to the ski season, but on the climb through the aspens, my tibias were screaming that I'd better keep my tips up on the descent.

Let's look at some numbers.  Data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) SNOTEL stations show that on a basin-wide scale, northern Utah is sitting about 110–125% of average snowpack snow-water equivalent (SWE).

Not too shabby.  At the Snowbird SNOTEL, it appears we are running just a shade behind average and   where we were on this date last year.

That being said, during the early season, we deal a bit with the so-called statistics of small numbers.  The average this time of year is quite low and the difference between a good or bad early season is really just a reflection of whether or not we get a storm or two in late October and early November.  Thus, anything from practically nothing to several inches of snowpack SWE is within the typical snowpack range for this time of year.

Thus, with enough snow to ski, I think this is a good start to the ski season.

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