Western Weather 2017-18 and Later

Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the western US and Canada, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.

Re: Western Weather 2017-18 and Later

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:17 pm

October is in no way predictive of winter from anything I've read. Joel commented upon this not long ago. I don't even collect October data as a rule. I comment subjectively upon October weather in season progress reports and occasionally count snowfall if opening dates or early open terrain is materially affected.

Last year's start was one of the better ones for the Front Range with a 3-4 foot storm end October/early November. Thanksgiving terrain open was well above average. Front Range percents of terrain open at Thanksgiving, mid-December and Christmas Week in 2000-01 and 2009-10 were average to slightly below average.

Unless October snowfall is quite substantial, it tends not to last. Colorado's low water content snow tends to accumulate slowly anyway. While I do not have data, I think the Whistler alpine often builds a base in October, allowing it to open in early December at a similar time as lower runs that have snowmaking assistance. To a lesser extent this occurs in interior western Canada too at 6,000+ elevation.

The October storm track is more rare the farther south you go aside from Wolf Creek's microclimate getting the end of the summer monsoon but with cold enough temps after mid-October to receive snow vs. rain. But occasionally you'll get a meaningful October base builder at Targhee/upper half Jackson, LCC or Mammoth. Pacific Northwest storm season often starts by mid-October but the rain/snow line tends to be too high then for the ski areas other than the Whistler alpine.
Ski Records
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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Tony Crocker
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Location: Glendale, California


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