Monday, December 20, 2010

Steenburgh winter is here!

There are many ways to define winter.  Most meteorologists use 1 December as the start of winter for most climate studies.  Astronomical winter begins at the winter solstice, which this year is December 21.

Steenburgh winter starts the first day that the Alta-Collins observing site hits a snow depth of 100 inches.  This year, Steenburgh winter starts today!

This sounds ridiculous, but there is some method in the madness.  The frequency of hitting rocks at either the ski areas or in the Wasatch backcountry seems to drop quickly at around a 100 inch snow depth.  It's a nice round number and I've found over the years that some backcountry ski terrain is much more passible when the snowpack exceeds 100 inches at CLN (e.g., Maybird Apron).

For skiers, this is great news.  We have a deep snowpack and a low-angle sun to play with for several weeks.

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