Friday, January 10, 2020

Steenburgh Winter Is Almost Here

The snow continues to pile up and the automated snow depth sensor at Alta Collins reached 96 inches at 6 AM this morning.

This puts us on the cusp of Steenburgh winter, my vain name for the crème de la crème of backcountry ski conditions when the snowpack is deep and the sun angle low.  Officially, Steenburgh winter extends from the day when the Alta-Collins snow depth reaches 100 inches to February 10 when the sun begins to have an increasingly caustic influence on the snow as spring approaches. 

We haven't had many Steenburgh winters in recent years.  A quick look shows that seasons with Steenburgh winter conditions since I began this blog in 2010 are: 2010/11, 2016/17 (barely - we hit 1000 inches on Feb 10),  and 2018/19. 

It could get close, but I don't think we will reach the start of Steenburgh winter today.  We need another four inches and things seem to be winding down as I write this.  Our next storm, which looks to be a good one, develops tomorrow.   It's possible that Saturday will be the first day of Steenburgh winter.  If not, it will come no later than early next week. 

One thing is for sure, the forecast through next Wednesday looks like a powderhound's dream with cold storms coming in one after the other.   This is probably the result of the similarly vainly named Steenburgh effect as I will be leaving town tomorrow for the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Boston.   Enjoy, but be safe out there. 


  1. Looks like 2016/17 Steenburgh winter started January 21:

    2018/19 Steenburgh winter also began 1/21, so either way there's a decent chance this shapes up to be the best Wasatch ski winter since 2011.

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  3. Love Steenburgh Winter! It would be great to know the rest of the Steenburgh Winter's before 2010 to compare including the earliest ever Steenburgh winter.

  4. It's here! As of 7 PM, when the Collins sensor ticked up from 99 to 101 inches.