Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Dramatic Temperature Contrasts from Park City to Cottonwoods

One of the most dramatic temperature contrasts that I can remember exists across the central Wasatch today. Observations at sites between 9000 and 10000 feet on the Park City side include -8F at Condor (Canyons), -11 at 9990 (Canyons), -10 at Daybreak (Canyons), -9 at Summit (Park City), and -8F at Ontario (Deer Valley).  A "warm" outlier is Jupiter (Park City), which is at 10,000 ft and at -4F.  More on this in a minute.

Contrast that to Little Cottonwood where Alta-Collins is 0F and Top Cecret is 0F.  In Big Cottonwood, Solitude-Apex, at an elevation of about 9000 feet, its 6ºF.  Even at the top of the Snowbird tram at 11,000 feet its -5F, warmer than the aformentioned sites at 9000 to 10000 feet on the Park City side.

It would be fascinating to do a ski tour across the Park City Ridgeline today as there appears to be a fairly large temperature contrast across it.  Near as I can tell, the top of the coldest air is very near the ridgeline (~10,000 ft), which might explain the warmth of the Jupiter site.  It's cold in the Cottonwoods, but nowhere near as cold (when comparing sites at the same elevation) as on the Park City side.


  1. I was at Canyons today. It was frigid. I only did one run on the ninety-nine-ninety, because it was just too cold to be out for long there. At one point, I was skiing through a steep narrow tree lined chute and my feet were totally numb. I was afraid to make turns for fear that my feet would shatter. :) I did not realize what the actual temperature was. I was going by what the Utah Avalanche Center report/forecast said - single digits at the ridge line. Wow!

    I had my warmest clothes too. I think one would have to be insane to do a tour of the PC ridge line today (or need more clothes). :)

  2. Windchill was around -40F on South Monitor ridge while we were lapping yesterday morning. Felt quite tropical at the bottom of the bowl, with no wind and a bit of solar load! One exposed nose fell victim to frost nip, a quick lesson-learned!