Season 2015-16 Plans

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Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:54 pm

It's early for this, but since James asked....

We will travel January 6-21 to Hokkaido. We met someone at an Epic Gathering who has a brother living in Sapporo for the next year, so this seems the right season to introduce Liz to Japan. We scored FF tickets into Sapporo on Korean air via Seoul for 70K miles per person.

Mustang snowcat ski dates are February 20-22. Not sure when/where the rest of that trip will be yet, but I know I will have to come home from Canada relatively soon after Mustang. Because...

Liz leaves for Indonesia February 25 and I follow February 29. We will be scuba diving and hopefully seeing the March 9 solar eclipse, returning home March 19.

After that I don't see us getting away until after Easter March 27. I'm not in much of a hurry to think about that now.

So if you're looking for western powder in 2016, first half of March is the time. Especially in Utah during Iron Blosam Week March 5-12. :lol: Adam is already working on bringing a posse to stay in our unit in 2016.

The impending El Nino roughly doubles the odds of a good SoCal local season from 30% to 60%. So I want that last week of February at home, not in Indonesia. I didn't know it at the time but the predecessor Saros series eclipse to 2016 was in the Caribbean Feb. 26, 1998, which was an epic powder week in SoCal during the big El Nino. Liz and I both saw our first total solar eclipses in 1999.
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:36 am

Tony Crocker wrote:So if you're looking for western powder in 2016, first half of March is the time. Especially in Utah during Iron Blosam Week March 5-12. :lol:

Do you have a record of your alleged Iron Blosam snow jinx over the years?
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:19 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Do you have a record of your alleged Iron Blosam snow jinx over the years?

Yes. Assuming an expectation of 3 inches new per day in the Cottonwood Canyons and 2 inches elsewhere:

From 1996-2008 (except 2002, when supposedly it snowed quite a bit) I was up there for 4 days, 3 at AltaBird and usually one day somewhere else.
Actual new snow on those trips: 0,2,0,7,4,12,0,3,0,12,3,3 That's 49 days, 46 inches actual new snow vs. 141 inches expected new snow.

In spring 2008 I bought my unit and started going for the whole week. 2009-2011 were pretty good.
Actual new snow: 22,20,36 That's 22 days, 78 inches actual new snow vs. 66 inches expected

Then there's the past 4 years.
Actual new snow: 0,5,14,0 That's 30 days, 19 inches actual new snow vs. 90 inches expected

Grand totals: 104 days, 143 inches actual new snow vs. 297 inches expected, that's 48%

How bad is that? We know 2014-15 was a record low season at Alta at 63% for 6 months. From January-March 2015 Alta was 38%, with all 3 of those months being record lows or within a couple of inches. November 1976 - January 1977 was 31% and the next worst 3 month stretch after those 2 extreme cases was November 2011 - January 2012 at 51%. So yes 48% for 104 days is very bad, about 1.5 standard deviations below normal.

The above is a demonstration of why anecdotal reports of how much new snow someone did or did not have on their destination ski trip(s) is not a reliable tool for advance planning. Unless you're Marc C and think there's an inherent mid-January, oops I meant March, dry spell. :stir:

Since I have retired I have occasionally driven to Utah in advance, extended later, or gone out of my way there based upon weather forecasts: 16 days, 142 inches new snow on those trips.
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby Admin » Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:25 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:The above is a demonstration of why anecdotal reports of how much new snow someone did or did not have on their destination ski trip(s) is not a reliable tool for advance planning. Unless you're Marc C and think there's an inherent mid-January, oops I meant March, dry spell. :stir:


Marc_C and Admin. You forgot Admin. Two locals who actually live here.
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:04 pm

In the course of various snow investigations I've come across the NRCS website that generates interesting tables and graphs.

Here's a chart of average precipitation by date from 1981-2010 at the Snowbird SNOTEL. Since this is at 9,600 feet we can assume it's all snow during the winter months.
http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/reportGene ... erage_1981

January averages 7.7 inches of precipitation and March averages 6.1 inches, different from the Snowbird base, AltaGuard and Alta Collins sites where snowfall is similar January and March.

The Iron Blosam range of dates is March 4-17, 45% of the month, which averages 2.6 inches, 43% of the precipitation. This trivial difference reinforces my view that I'm unlucky. But that trivial evidence of a mid-March dry spell is more than the zero evidence of a mid-January dry spell.

For January we can look at rolling 14-day periods, also 45% of the days in the month. The highest 14-day period is Jan. 2-16, 3.8 inches, 49%. The lowest figure of 3.2 inches is 42%. It applies to the 14 day periods ending Jan. 24, 25, 26, 30 and 31. Since the SNOTEL records less snow in December and February than in January, 14 day periods that are partially in January and partially in another month are lower than 3.2 inches.

You're welcome to slice up that data into periods shorter than 14 days, but the results will be the same. You're not going to find a small range of dates where the daily average is materially different than the month as a whole.

Just to make clear I'm not quoting out of context here:
Marc_C wrote: And they usually tend to happen mid-January. Sometimes there's an outlier in December or February, but over the past 12 years of direct experience, if there's one time period I don't recommend to visitors, it's from about Jan 5 to Jan 25, or thereabouts. That may or may not be true next season, but it is this year, and last,...

The Snowbird SNOTEL averages 5.2 inches precipitation from January 5-25 over a 30 year period. That's about 5 feet of snow.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby Marc_C » Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:33 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:The Snowbird SNOTEL averages 5.2 inches precipitation from January 5-25 over a 30 year period. That's about 5 feet of snow.

There's no point in arguing this further since for someone who thinks they're a master statistician you have a pig headed, basic misunderstanding about averages.
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:35 pm

MarcC's original contention was that somehow LCC January snowfall was disproportionately concentrated during the first 5 days and the last 6 days of the month. That is now proven false.

OK I'm stupid. Please explain how a dry spell during a 20-day period that averages 5 feet of snow should deter someone from booking those dates. If you look at the individual dates between Jan. 5 and Jan. 25 there are no short periods of time with unusually low snow averages that should be avoided. So even if a consecutive run of dry days were more probable, it would be offset by a higher odds of a huge dump to get the overall average in line. I'm guessing most vacationing powderhounds would not view that pattern (if it existed) as a deterrent.

And with regard to consecutive runs of dry days, here's what I've posted before for Alta in the past decade:
Here are the longest streaks of snowless days during those 2 months:
Jan: 11,10,9,9,8,8,5,5,5,4,4,4,4,4,3 add in 6 and 8 day dry spells in 2015
Mar: 12,11,9,9,8,5,5,5,4,4,4,3,3,3,3 add in 6, 10 and 7 day dry spells in 2015

Again, please explain to all of us how a dry spell is more likely in January than in March.

To complete the exercise of snowless day streaks:
Dec: 11,9,8,8,7,7,6,6,6,5,5,4,4,4,4,4,4,3,3,3,3
Feb: 10,9,7,6,5,5,5,5,4,4,4,4,4,3,3,3,3

The longer dry spells may be slightly less likely in February, which also happens to have the lowest standard deviation among the months. There's not a dime's worth of difference among the other 3 months.

There was no comment to the listing of dry spells the last time I posted it. Maybe that's because MarcC couldn't :dead horse: about averages in response.
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Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby q » Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:43 am

As of yet I have no firm plans as the cost of flights over are still on the high side and return route via Minneapolis and Amsterdam for some reason not in the ballpark. I will bide my time for now.

However, this year I am stuck between a couple choices. Either will be a 5-6 week trip and almost certainly flying in and out of Bozeman as departing flight is always early afternoon allowing me to spend my final night with friends in Philipsburg rather than a motel in Missoula before a 6am flight. It works well.

1) Fly out during the first week of March after purchasing my "2 year" season pass for Discovery on March 1st, ski almost entirely at Discovery until closing day on the 3rd April, then have a week skiing around the state, hiking etc and depart MT roughly on the 12th April.

2) Fly out a week later, ski Discovery til closing and then have the option of 2 weeks on the road. Really enjoyed my time at Bachelor with my friend Charlotte last year so would likely do that again and also have the option of buying the Sky Card to ski for their last week of the season for free upto the 17th April then fly home around the 19th April.

I like option 1 on the basis I will spend a lot of time at my favorite hill and with all my friends but like option 2 as I get more out and out spring weather. I could go even later and spend less time at Discovery and more time at Bachelor. I could even go earlier and spend my entire time at Discovery and leave around the 5th April however that option does not allow me to spend weekends in the sun shooting/driving with my buddy Bill so that option is unlikely.
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:39 am

I vote for q's option 2 above. He saw Bachelor this April at its worst and it was still pretty decent. Bachelor's "springtacular" lift ticket is less than $200, Bend is not an expensive place to stay plus it's the microbrew capital of the US.

After April 3 no place in Montana has good spring snow preservation by Mammoth/Bachelor/LCC/Colorado standards other than the Moonlight side of Big Sky. Now that I've seen it in person, the north side of Discovery preserves snow better than any other place in Montana besides Moonlight. Thus after April 3 it makes sense to leave Montana for skiing, with Bachelor and Utah's Cottonwood Canyons being the most logical destinations. If q wants something new for good April skiing, Banff/Lake Louise would be another option.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby flyover » Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:07 pm

Tony Crocker wrote: Now that I've seen it in person, the north side of Discovery preserves snow better than any other place in Montana besides Moonlight.


So enhancing a ski area's snow preservation is as simple as having Mr. Crocker visit. Who knew?

Tony Crocker wrote: If q wants something different for good April skiing, Banff/Lake Louise would be another option.


I'll second this. We were there March 27 to April 4 this year and even though it was unseasonably warm, good mid-winter conditions predominated above the top of the gondola at SSV and above Temple Lodge at LL. We didn't get any big powder days, but did enjoy a few inches of fresh every morning. Even though it was Easter week, the expert terrain was getting tracked out very slowly at both resorts. Had we visited one week later, Calgary and Edmonton schools would have been in session, and I'd guess both ski resorts would have had pretty low skier densities.

Banff was also quite affordable. The Loonie's drop in value helped (to the tune of more than 20%), but even if at par with the U.S. dollar, skiing and lodging packages through ski3banff were very reasonable.

Finally, if q likes the terrain at Disco, it seems likely he'd love Louise.
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby q » Thu Jul 02, 2015 12:30 am

Been to LL and Banff and a few other Canadian resorts. I will 100% not be going back to Lake Louise. Not my cup of tea in the slightest. My only deviation from Montana/Bachelor would likely be Utah.
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby Admin » Thu Jul 02, 2015 8:15 am

q wrote:Been to LL and Banff and a few other Canadian resorts. I will 100% not be going back to Lake Louise. Not my cup of tea in the slightest. My only deviation from Montana/Bachelor would likely be Utah.

Hope so! It's been a while.
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby flyover » Thu Jul 02, 2015 8:21 am

q wrote:I will 100% not be going back to Lake Louise. Not my cup of tea in the slightest.


Interesting. Of course I respect your opinion, I'm just surprised. For me, a big part of the attraction of Discovery is the numerous steep chutes holding excellently preserved snow accessed by Limelight. After two days there in 2014 (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11409) I got the sense we could probably have stuck around for another 2 or 3 days before we would have started to feel like we were repeating ourselves. On the backside of Louise, however, it seemed like I could have dropped a different steep chute holding excellently preserved snow every run for weeks on end. The quality of the snow on the North-facing terrain of both Disco and LL surprised me given their modest annual snowfalls.

I get it though. There is more to a ski area than terrain and snow preservation. On paper, there is no reason why I shouldn't really like Snowbird for its terrain and snow. I've had some great days there, but overall, its not really my cup of tea either.
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby rfarren » Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:43 am

I might, and this is a strong maybe, be hitting the Dolomites in January. I know it's not considered a skiing Mecca, but could be a great relaxing ski trip.
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Re: Season 2015-16 Plans

Postby jimk » Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:19 am

There has been a personal development that could lead to spending extended time in Utah next winter?? Details still TBD. Elsewhere, I am seeing airfares from East Coast to Europe next winter via Wow Airlines for ~$500-600, about half of what I've tracked in recent past and therefore also somewhat tempting. Last winter I spent nine weeks skiing throughout the US West and it was really fun. :-"
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