Thursday, April 16, 2015
As Mr. Rodgers liked to say, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood! It feels so good to have a taste of winter, even if it is in April. Snow totals in the mountains are crazy big in Little Cottonwood. Snowbird has a 45 inch storm total, Alta-Collins 32 inches based on the automated sensor. As discussed in the previous post, Snowbird Dumpage, the biggest snow totals appear to be in mid Little Cottonwood and drop off as one moves through Twin Lakes Pass into upper Big Cottonwood and then even more dramatically as one moves further east to Park City. As meteorologist and backcountry skier S. D. Green said in 1935, "Skiers will eventually find that the…heads of the [Cottonwood] canyons…offer the best skiing to be found in the Wasatch Mountains." That dude knew his weather.
On Monday, a friend in the avalanche business told me that he was hoping we would obliterate the all-time low snow season at Alta-Guard. We have suffered mightily, and it would be a shame if the statistics didn't bear that out when people look back a couple of decades from now.
If my records are right, it appears that Alta-Guard has reported 27 inches in this storm, bringing their snowfall since November 1 to 258 inches. That's still 56.5 inches behind the all-time Nov–Apr low of 314.5 inches, set in 1976-77. We still have a couple of weeks to go and as we learned the past two days, snow can pile up fast. Nevertheless, the record is probably safe, although I'm not sure it will be the obliteration my friend was hoping for. I'm guessing he's more than happy to enjoy a couple of powder days instead.
With 700-mb temperatures rising to about -5C, low clouds around, and an April sun, this powder is not going to survive for very long. Get on it, but be careful.