Friday, December 16, 2011

2011/12 vs. 1976/77

How bad is the skiing in Utah right now?  Actually, this isn't
from Utah, but it is a great photo.  Source:
The 1976/77 winter brought drought conditions to most of the western United States.  Amongst my friends who were skiing the Wasatch at the time, it is known simply as The Drought Year, although The Year That Must Not Be Named might be better to communicate to new-school riders just how bad of a ski season it was.

According to the snowfall history at, 84" has fallen so far this season.  This includes 18" in October, 58.5" in November, and 7.5" so far in December.  Averages are 30.9" in October, 62.8" in November, and 40.6" for half of December, for a total of 134.3".  Thus, we've had about 62.5% of the average snowfall for the season to date.

That's pretty bad, but it ain't nothing compared to The Year That Must Not Be Named.  According to data records at the Western Region Climate Center, the 1976/77 ski season was a disaster.  Only 7.5" fell in October, 12.5" in November, and 14" in all of December.  Can you even fathom that?  Seasonal snowfall through the month of December of only 34".

In The Year That Must Not Be Named, snowfall for the entire season was only 280", although there were three days with missing data in January, so actual snowfall could have been somewhat higher.  In any event, that's a pretty lousy year by Utah standards, which I'm sure was made worse by unbearable pollution in the Salt Lake Valley.


  1. I can not remember the inversion that year, my lungs were young and tough. I destroyed a pair of Hexel comps in five days, the bases gone! I had a pass at the 'Bird that year and this was decades before snowmaking.

  2. 280 inches would be an all-time record season in our local resorts. We can only dream of such bounty.

    Oh, to live in utah.....and not be a morman....