Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Look Back at April and March

If the snowfall history page on Alta's web site is correct, they've had 102" of snow this April.  During this past week, the Alta-Collins peaked at 161", which I suspect is the highest since the epic 2010/11 season.

The SNOTEL data from Snowbird shows a roughly 8 inch increase in water equivalent for the month.  We now sit just below 60 inches of snow water equivalent, about 15 inches above average.

Source: NWS
Having missed the entirety of our most recent storm cycle, I'm forced to reminisce about 2010/11, which still reins supreme, with a larger increase in snow water equivalent for the month and a snow water equivalent of almost 75 (see cyan line above).   I got a reminder from Facebook this morning of just how great that season and April was.  

Meanwhile, in the valley, the Salt Lake City International Airport is now up to 6.73" of precipitation since March 1st.  That rates as the 5th wettest March–April period on record.

For those of you who were able to enjoy the skiing this past week, you can thank the Steenburgh effect.  You will, however, be disappointed to learn that I'm back in town next week.  Not surprisingly, the computer models call for a high-amplitude ridge to develop over our area by mid week.



  1. How long do you think snow will last through the summer at upper elevations? Hoping there's still enough for a few turns on something white if I get desperate in July...

  2. Baldy chutes are the last pretty accessible run to melt out every year and I pretty much guarantee the main chute will be good to go in early July this year and the apron probably will be too. Granny's in Wolverine will still be skiable in early July this year and it's usually my last ski and glissade every year. Things melt very quickly when it gets hot above 9k' (see above plot) so the difference in north facing over 9.5k skiability from a big year to a little year is not as big as one would think. I would say like 2-3 weeks of difference from a 15th percentile year vs an 85th percentile year like this year with a select few spots like the Baldy chutes lasting longer. I know Andrew Mclean skied Baldy in August of 2011 even though the snowbird snotel was dry in early July.

  3. I was at Snowbird on April 28 and it was one of the best powder days I have seen. There was about 3 feet of powder in ungroomed areas such as Mineral Basin, although conditions that day were rough (snowing, drifting snow, cold temperatures and low visibility). The depth of the new snow actually made it a little difficult with the snowboard but no real complaints.

  4. Crazy, that is 74.5" of snow since Alta closed.