Alta, UT 11/25/18-1/8/19 - A Photo Timeline

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Admin":1usnfp1s said:
Tony Crocker":1usnfp1s said:
It snowed 8 inches on Nov. 22. Back that MesoWest up a day to Nov. 21 and you'll see the 17-18 inch base.

Is that the 17-18 settled inches of old October snow that doesn't count?
No it's the settled 9 inches of October snow plus another 9 from what fell earlier in November. Admin responded to my last post before I completed it.

admin":1usnfp1s said:
How many resorts provide that information on their own website?
No question Alta's snowfall reporting is the gold standard. So good in fact that it makes possible an accurate estimate of mid-mountain snowfall at Snowbird by using comparative water content. Snowbird patrol measures at the tram base, so Snowbird marketing doesn't want to use that and would rather make something up than measure snowfall formally at the mid-mountain SNOTEL.

And the MesoWest data made it possible to determine how much of Alta's snowpack really came from October. =D>

admin":1usnfp1s said:
All I want to know is:
1. How much new snow fell?
3. What lifts are running?
4. What's the temperature, windspeed and wind direction?
5. A number of webcams all visible at once, to see what things look like on the ground. One with a timelapse feature is nice, too.
All of that is great for the SLC local getting out of bed at 7AM and deciding whether to ski that day. It's not helpful at all for say, James on Dec. 1 deciding whether to stay with his plan to fly to Utah Dec. 13. The only clue he would have is:
2. What's the natural snow depth?
which at 50 inches was excellent for Dec. 1. No surprise Snowbird next door was reporting that same 50 inch base but 8% open. Alta's 28% looked better, but not exactly inspiring someone to get on a plane and fly out.

ShiftyRider":1usnfp1s said:
FWIW the argument that "seeing is believing" is an argument in Tony's favor. He seems to be wondering why they can't produce a snow report that faraway people can read, and realize how good it is.
Precisely. I've been looking at this stuff for decades and recording a lot of it for 15 years. Base depths have to be interpreted in the context of each specific mountain. 3-4 feet is pretty good at Alta or Mammoth but can be a minefield at Squaw or Snowbird. So at 90% of ski areas the percent of terrain open is by far the single best stat to evaluate the early season. Some places are very liberal about opening at low tide (Wolf Creek, Bridger, Crystal, Red Mt.), so for those places you need to combine that with base depths to get a good picture.

I saw Alta's 28% and was certainly suspicious with the 50 inch base. But I also knew it had dumped the whole prior week over that brittle base, so it seemed reasonable that openings were being delayed by control work. Admin's photo of the High T opening certainly means more than 28% open, even with no Backside or Supreme.

Sure Alta doesn't have trails in the clearly defined sense of many ski areas. But that doesn't stop them from labeling 116 runs on their map. If they would post how many of those runs are open, that would work pretty well. As would acreage. Instead, somehow the consolidator sites pick up the number of groomed runs and post that info incorrectly as number of trails open. Alta is not the only area with this kind of topography or with variation due to avalanche control. Jackson, Whistler and Mammoth come to mind.

Since Alta averages 51% open Dec. 1, 81% open Dec. 15 and 95% at Christmas this issue is irrelevant most of the time. Unfortunately as noted by Steenburgh Utah has been on a bad streak of several slow early seasons since 2011-12. So terrain has opened gradually in the Cottonwoods in some of those seasons as it does routinely in Colorado. In the past admin's timely reports have clarified the situation, but those came to an end after 2016-17. Perhaps the current thread, though at times contentious, will reactivate some of his interest. [-o<
 

Marc_C

Active member
ShiftyRider":2zsrr1av said:
FWIW the argument that "seeing is believing" is an argument in Tony's favor. He seems to be wondering why they can't produce a snow report that faraway people can read, and realize how good it is.

Then I guess there's the "they don't care" which usually means one or the other of a crappy company, or one so completely wonderful and reliable that nothing they say would matter.
Don't mind me but I think it sucks there sometimes, so let's rule out the second alternative right now LOL.

On to facetious, do I have to say these are my opinions? Isn't it obvious whose opinions they are cuz the forum software puts the names next to the posts?
1. Alta definitely cares but....
2. It's 2019 - two great powder shots on Instagram are far more persuasive and will generate far more visitation than a scrupulously detailed *text* snow report and how well that feeds someone's spreadsheet. That's what admin means by "they don't care".

From a ski marketing perspective - which is all a snow report really is - Tony's approach works well.....for 1995.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
MarcC":2o87is7j said:
It's 2019 - two great powder shots on Instagram are far more persuasive
Silverton is infamous for setting up this kind of shot in September. Any skilled photographer can compose and then edit a picture out of context. If people make destination decisions based on Instagram pics, that's about as sensible as believing Northeast "packed powder" reports after it rained. The automated webcams, sometimes controllable by the user, are the most useful source of visual information. You can even see rain on those!

As for Alta caring, I mentioned in my first post that Connie Marshall did appreciate my giving her the heads-up that SnoCountry was seriously distorting Alta's early season status in a negative way.
 

Marc_C

Active member
Tony Crocker":2ilgqlm0 said:
If people make destination decisions based on Instagram pics, that's about as sensible as believing Northeast "packed powder" reports after it rained.
You might be surprised!

Tony Crocker":2ilgqlm0 said:
As for Alta caring, I mentioned in my first post that Connie Marshall did appreciate my giving her the heads-up that SnoCountry was seriously distorting Alta's early season status in a negative way.
Connie retired this past June.
 

Marc_C

Active member
jamesdeluxe":8afe9zxf said:
Marc_C":8afe9zxf said:
Connie retired this past June.
We covered that in a previous thread. 8)
Unlike the 7 active posters here, I only drop in occasionally and don't read everything, and only very rarely anything outside of the Western and General forums.
 
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