Friday, March 11, 2011

Snowpack Update: What a Year!

Sometimes when you live in Utah you have to pinch yourself about just how good the skiing is.  I often tell people that a bad year here is better than a good year most anywhere else.

You know you are spoiled when this is one of the "worst" powder days
you've had all year.  Tyler Cruickshank getting the goods
in the Stansbury Mountains in January.
But a good year in Utah, well that is the crème-de-la-crème of skiing.  And this is not just a good year, but a great year.  Check out the SNOTEL Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) map (% normal) for the western United States.  All major hydrologic basins in Utah are above average.  In fact, Utah has the largest contiguous area of hydrologic basins that is well above (>130%) average.

Those of you who ski regularly at Alta or Snowbird know that access routes like the High Traverse and Cirque Traverse are frequently rock littered even in a big snow year, but the coverage this year along those routes is incredible.  The snow has come in a way that it has filled everything in quite nicely.

There is presently 49.9 inches of SWE at the Snowbird SNOTEL site (green line below), 163% of average for this date.  A quick look suggests this might be the highest value since 1990.  The 2005 and 2006 water years aren't far behind and those were also big snow years.

The bottom line is that this has been a big year, and the storms, especially early in the year, were well spaced to keep the conditions consistently good.  Yes indeed, we are living the dream this year.

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