Saturday, October 29, 2022

Pretty Good October But Not All Time

We're off to a good start for October, although conditions are not "All Time."  The Snowbird SNOTEL record begins in 1990, so the discussion below is only of the recent history since then.  The current (October 29) snowpack water equivalent at that site is 3.9" (black line).  That rates as the third highest on that date since 1990, topped only by the 2005 and 2022 water years.  Other water years close to this one are 2011 and 2020.  

Source: NRCS

"All Time" since 1990 is undoubtably October 2004 (plotted above as the 2005 water year), which had an October 31 snowpack water equivalent of 10.8".  The Halloween lake-effect storm that laid down 2 feet of cold smoke on an already quite healthy early-season snowpack that October created epic backcountry skiing conditions that some of the Wasatch backcountry cognoscenti ultimately rated the best of the year.  Since 1990, October 2004 is undoubtably the gold standard for early season powder skiing.  For the resort skiers, Brighton opened on Friday, October 29


  1. I moved here in 2014, so anything better than the worst of all time is certainly an improvement. Crazy looking at some of the snow years in the 2000's and seeing multiple years of 600+" clustered together. Must have been a great time!

  2. Halloween '04 was definitely all-time. I remember Brighton opening Great Western on that Sunday (!!!) some time around mid morning and I managed to snag one of the first couple chairs. It was fun teasing the Alta pass holders Monday morning in INSCC :-)


  3. Oh man I was living at the Peruvian all year at that time and the Halloween poundings were epic. Waist deep skiing around reeds! There’s some great footage of it on YouTube (shameless self promotion haha)