2003 tied with 2015 at 30.5 inches as the lowest January snowfall in 37 years or Alta Collins records. In the Alta Guard UDOT records going back to 1946, the ONE INCH in January 1961 is the only one lower than 2003 and 2015. https://utahavalanchecenter.org/alta-monthly-snowfall
Since January 2003, only the following ski season months have had less snow:
21 inches in November 2009
20 inches in December 2011
23.5 inches in November 2017
December 2017 stands at 20 inches and two small storms totaling maybe a foot are predicted between now and Christmas.
Where would 55 inches Nov+Dec stand? It would be the lowest since the Alta Collins station was started in 1980-81. The worst was that first year at 34+34=68 inches. The next lowest years were 58+13.5=71.5 inches in 1986-87 and 58.5+20=78.5 inches in 2011-12. Two other years are between 90 and 100 inches and the other 32 seasons are over 100 inches before Jan. 1. An average 18 inches during Christmas Week would still put this year short of 2011-12.
Pre Alta Collins, 1976-77 at AltaGuard is of course the extreme case at 13.5+17=30.5 inches. Other years under 100 inches:
1962-63 had 31+17=48 inches
1959-60 had 22+39.5=61 inches
1958-59 had 38+47.5=85.5 inches
1956-57 had 36+50=86 inches
1954-55 had 37+53=90 inches
Notice the 5 worst years from 1946-1976 were clustered within a 9 year time span. I'll bet people were talking about the "early season dry spell" then. Only one of the other 4 seasons was above average for Nov+Dec.
This is a classic example of weather volatility. The typical skier might think 10 years is a nice round number and indicative of expected weather. From 1954-55 through 1963-64 Alta averaged 107 inches of snow before January 1. That's 66% of the actual 71 year average. Maybe it was climate change. :stir:
But the bottom line is that 59 of those 71 seasons saw at least 100 inches before January 1, still an enviable record.