snowave wrote:Was it back in 2004/5, when they got close to 300"?
Yes, that was the year Garry Klassen (lives 20 minutes from Baldy) had 86 ski days. In 1982-83 and 1997-98 I think Baldy got close to 350".
snowave wrote:As I've said before (along with a few others), the fringe areas are toast with the overall climate warming.
We saw no deterioration in SoCal skiing during the sustained warm years in the 1980's and 1990's.
So the question is what's different during the past 8 years?
1) I have identified higher proportion of rain vs. snow. Whether that's random or some real change from 20 years ago with the same L.A. temps I have no idea.
2) Annual temps don't tell the whole story. Maybe the winters are warmer now and the summers were warmer in the 1980's and 1990's. During the 2013-14 and 2017-18 seasons The Big Bear areas never got past half open with advanced runs like Wall/Olympic and Geronimo never opening. Only in 1983-84, the record low snowfall season with only 12 inches, was Snow Summit skiing as limited as in those 2 recent years since it installed the pipe into the lake for big time snowmaking capacity in 1979. So not only were 2013-14 and 2017-18 dry, they were also so warm as to limit snowmaking opportunities. Cold spells after New Years' in both seasons were so infrequent that they had to be used to restore surfaces on existing open runs rather than expand open terrain.
California precipitation is among the most volatile in the world. Therefore it will take a long time to become confident that deviations are not random. That's why rain vs. snow is the climate trend aspect to which I and other skiers should pay the most attention. As a region with erratic and not that high precipitation, a meaningful increase in rain vs. snow could make much of SoCal a "fringe" ski region.
Big Bear's percents of terrain open have an average over these past 8 years similar to the long term average during early and mid season with a decline only for late season past mid-March. Snowmaking effectiveness in December/January is still reliable overall. So I think Big Bear's future is fairly secure for the intermediate term.