Western Weather 2017-18

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

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:00 pm

The predicted snow for before Christmas moves Alta up from second worst since 1946 to third worst. If Christmas week itself has normal snow (best guess since no one can predict on Dec. 15 what will be happening after Dec. 26), this year might move up to the seventh worst since 1946.

No question Utah is worse off for snowmaking than Colorado. Park City and Snowbasin are 1,000 feet lower than Aspen/Vail and 2,000 feet lower than the Summit County areas.

But the Southwest is the worst region of all. Brian Head and Arizona Snowbowl have had zero snow so far this season. Purgatory, Telluride and Crested Butte claim 12, 14 and 17 inches respectively since Nov. 1, but Telluride's snow cams show zero natural snow on the hillsides. Taos isn't quoting any numbers, but OnTheSnow doesn't show any snowfall there. Given history and required snowpack, we are not far off from writing this season off completely at Crested Butte and Taos. Odds do not favor much in the way of advanced/expert terrain being skiable at those places before March.

Based upon the Wolf Creek SNOTEL, it appears that 28 of the 43 inches season to date snow at Wolf Creek fell during the first week of November.
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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: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:58 am

I just updated my report bestsnow.net/seas18.htm . We leave for Chile on Monday, returning Jan. 3, rafting the Futaleufu River and also visiting Chiloe Island and the Cochamo Valley. So probably no more reports until the new year.

As I may have mentioned, in 2003 I downloaded a website that had tracked the northern and central Colorado areas at Thanksgiving, mid-December and Christmas since 1988, and have updated it since then.

Most of these areas are in the 10-15% range open now. Steamboat and Winter Park lead the way at 21% open. Vail is 6% open. All of these numbers except Loveland (17% vs. 12%) are worse than 2011-12, and are usually the worst in the data set since 1988. A few areas were worse in 1999-2000. Maximum base depth is 25 inches at Loveland and most areas report 18, which is another way of saying it's nearly all manmade.
http://bestsnow.net
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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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby Marc_C » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:31 am

Back to dryness in UT. From today's avi report:

Weather
For Friday, expect warm temperatures with occasional high clouds. Temperatures will rise into the low 40's at 8,000' and into the 30's at 10,000'. Westerly winds are expected to gust into the 30's, and 40's at the highest elevations, that will at least help make it feel cooler.

Let's not even talk about the extended forecast.
-marc
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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby kingslug » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:46 am

And now another dilemma. Another trip scheduled, this one I can't undo. Vail Jan 20th. Not looking good. At best between them , Beaver Creek, and maybe another 1 or 2 resorts we'll get some variety. And drink our faces off to fend off the misery. I just want to go to Jackson..damn it.
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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby tseeb » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:59 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:We leave for Chile on Monday, returning Jan. 3, rafting the Futaleufu River and also visiting Chiloe Island and the Cochamo Valley.
My wife wants to know if you or Liz have read Maya's Notebook by Isabel Allende which is based in Chiloé. A review I found says "Cut off from the rest of the country, the area’s famous mythology teems with phantom ships, mermaids, and strange goblin-like devils. "
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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby snowave » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:20 am

a pattern change for the west (CO, CA, etc) was looking good for a few days, but models are now backpeddling on that some. That damn high pressure ridge in the west and deep low in the east are locked in, and really having a tough time getting displaced.

We had a trip planned to Telluride Jan 25-30 to use our Mtn. Collective, but that's looking very doubtful. Fortunately, we are flexible and may go to Jackson instead. The 12 hr drive vs 4 hr is a pain, but at least its an option.
Sno..
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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:00 pm

Note to kingslug: Jackson is only an 8 hour drive from Vail.

Only once have I abandoned a prepaid trip, rented a car and gone somewhere else. Ironically that one was fleeing Jackson for Utah in March 1986. And in our case we had an 18-month-old and had to arrange daycare while we were skiing. Where there's a will there's a way.
http://bestsnow.net
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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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby kingslug » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:20 am

We'll just sit around and drink. And think about all the snow we left in the East. This is FUBAR.
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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:26 am

Jan 20 arrival day? There's no chance of a pattern change in 2.5 weeks? :-k
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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby Marc_C » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:40 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:Jan 20 arrival day? There's no chance of a pattern change in 2.5 weeks? :-k

Look at what [hasn't] happened over the past 4 weeks.
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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby egieszl » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:47 am

This season is a goner. It's unlikely that the pattern that's been going on for three months now will change.

After unsettled weather next week with mild disturbances, the ridge will settle in strong again. I predict that most ski areas in the West will begin closing in late-February.

Sad.
2014-15 ski season stats- Vertical: 1,154,634, Days: 42, Lift rides: 729, Top day vertical: 45,444;
Total past nine seasons as of 1/22/16- Vertical: 10,344,359, Days: 407, Lift rides: 6,541;
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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:44 pm

What a ridiculous prediction. The current weather has zero predictive value for February and later months.

The Southwest has a significant chance of a total bust season as there is essential zero natural snow on the ground after two months.

I would be surprised if I-70 Colorado doesn't have a fairly normal March. Utah too, with the Cottonwoods rating to be decent for most of February.

Nearly everywhere north of UT/CO is doing just fine already and there is no reason not to expect a normal season going forward.

This is is a classic case of "The sky is falling because my home area (Snowmass in egieszl's case) sucks right now."

The western season so far is somewhat similar to 2011-12. The Southwest and Utah are worse but some places, Mammoth among them, are better. The Northeast sucked big time in 2011-12 but is doing great now.
http://bestsnow.net
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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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby berkshireskier » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:16 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:What a ridiculous prediction. The current weather has zero predictive value for February and later months.

The Southwest has a significant chance of a total bust season as there is essential zero natural snow on the ground after two months.

I would be surprised if I-70 Colorado doesn't have a fairly normal March. Utah too, with the Cottonwoods rating to be decent for most of February.

Nearly everywhere north of UT/CO is doing just fine already and there is no reason not to expect a normal season going forward.

This is is a classic case of "The sky is falling because my home area (Snowmass in egieszl's case) sucks right now."

The western season so far is somewhat similar to 2011-12. The Southwest and Utah are worse but some places, Mammoth among them, are better. The Northeast sucked big time in 2011-12 but is doing great now.


Yea, if you don't mind skiing in minus 35 wind chills??
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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby snowave » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:11 pm

Maybe a bit early to throw in the bath towel, but the hand towel is already in the air for many of us south I-80 (and OR).

It is indeed a very static pattern and its going to be tough to break it. The storm coming in this weekend is looking kinda weak for most except maybe Norcal, and long range is starting to go dry again for the same areas after mid next week.

Image
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Re: Western Weather 2017-18

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:35 pm

I fully agree that the situation in the Southwest is unprecedented, even in 1976-77. But that's one out of 8 regions I analyze.

As for the Northeast I get that it's too cold to ski now, but there is full coverage and the region is already ahead of the game due to the good skiing in mid-December.

Unlike the Southwest, Utah and I-70 have some natural base, just that it's more like early December than early January so not yet enough to open more challenging terrain. But it will only take an average January to have decent skiing in February for these regions, The same is true for southern Oregon and Idaho. The Sierra you never know. It could dump 6 feet later this month or it could suck for a couple more months like 2015.

Overall it would take some ongoing sustained dry weather to push this season as low as 2011-12 or 2014-15.
http://bestsnow.net
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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