Friday, November 2, 2018

The Dribs and Drabs Will Continue Until Morale Improves

It appears that Mother Nature's plan for us the first few days of November is to tease us with dirty ridge conditions.

Yesterday went about as well as one could have hoped for accumulations in the mountains given the large-scale pattern.  Through 4 PM, when a break in the precipitation began, Alta picked up about 0.64 inches of water equivalent at the Collins observing site with 4 to 5 inches of snow depending on if you believe the snow interval sensor or the total snow-depth sensor. 

Overnight, another 0.23" of water fell, with about an inch on the interval stake.  Total snow depth now sits at 15 inches. 

Temperatures over the past 24 hours have, however, been climbing.  Alta-Collins (9662 ft) was 26 at 7 AM yesterday morning, but sits at 31˚F at 7 AM this morning.  Similarly, temperatures at Alta Base are up about 5 degrees and now sit at 36˚F.  Thus, snow levels are probably sitting around 8500 feet or so at present.  Alta tweeted out some photos of snowmaking at the base of Collins on Halloween, but I suspect the mild temperatures and higher humidity have put the kibosh on that, at least near the base.

Periods of dribs and drabs interspersed with breaks look to continue through Monday.  The NAM forecast loop below, covering the period from 1500 UTC Today (0900 MDT Friday) through 1800 UTC (1100 MST Monday) summarizes the situation.  We are stuck on the downstream (eastern) side of the upper-level ridge, with a series of weak troughs moving through our area in the northwesterly flow. 

We may see a few dribs and drabs at times in the mountains through early Sunday, probably not adding up to much.  Our best hope for something significant is late Sunday through Sunday morning when the strongest short-wave trough comes through.  The NAM precipitation totals with that are only about 0.3" at Alta-Collins, but the downscaled SREF has some members that are more productive.  On the other hand, most are generating 0.8 inches or less, which I'd interpret as extending our run of dribs and drabs. 

Now that November is here, however, it is now permissible to start hoping and praying that this storm comes through on the high end, so that's what I will do. 

If anyone has beta on the coverage at Alta along Mambo and Corkscrew, comment or e-mail me.  I'd like to start stretching the legs this weekend.  Natural coverage looks insufficient down low, but perhaps with the guns blazing earlier this week, there's enough on Corkscrew to warrant a lap tomorrow.


  1. Morning Jim. Got out for a dawn patrol up here this morning as did a few others. Best guess at the rain/snow line overnight is somewhere around 9000 feet, as it was pretty much spring slush below the Collins angle station. Much better above with maybe an inch of dense new snow on top of the ~4" from yesterday.

  2. Skied main chute at Alta, and it was great. It is more dust on crust down lower, but overall the skiing was fun, had a great time.