Big Sky Statistics - Page 2

post #31 of 45
Quote:

Tony, there are three kinds of lies:  lies, damned lies, and statistics.  Your choices are simple:

  1. STFU and come to Big Sky and have fun with us.
  2. STFU and don't come to Big Sky and read about us having more fun then you.

 

Either way, the first four letters of both items are the important ones.

Wow, how rude!  Those comments are not appreciated in this thread.  Isn't there a moderator to remove your comments.

Tony, I hope this doesn't discourage you from posting your thoughts.  There are a lot of readers that want to read your valuable comments.  Epicski need more of your comments, which are helpful, and less of the above, which serve no purpose.

 

Quote:
From what I have seen from last year was lies, damn lies and Tony's statistics. Tony is like a weather "consultant", if they weather does what he says it will do, his is right, it it doesn't do what he say it will do and it turns out good, it is "luck'. Tony, you cannot have it both ways.

Are you trying to argue that Tony is claiming to always be right?  Anyone who reads Tony comments knows that is an absurd lie.  You are the one saying that Tony stats are lies.  Tony can never be right.  Any time he is right, it's still a lie.  You cannot have it both ways.

 

Tony is extremely truthful about the uncertainty and reflective about his mistakes.  Although weather can be unpredictable, Tony's extensive research and advice is generally reliable.

You were lucky last year and good for the gathering.  I watched Tahoe's weather and resort websites every day.  Big snow is coming they kept saying each week for months on the Tahoe resort websites.  Guess what the Tahoe resort homepages looked liked too, they were full of past professional brochure pictures of Tahoe covered in feet of snow.  That place was nothing but rain and rocks, if you clicked on the webcams which showed it.  Tony's condition updates on his website were stating there was nothing.  It was absolutely terrible for months until that late season snow dump in February.  Guess who's website has been saying for years about Tahoe that if it's going to be really bad early, it's more likely to be bad beyond that; it snows in dumps; and it'll take a couple dumps to cover the step terrain so wait until February/March?

 

You guys can discard the advice, but what's the purpose of berating and misconstruing him?  It's a bummer that a few people concerning the gathering have to be so confrontational, but those outliers are expected.

 

I always try to keep up with Tony's posts because the man has many good points.  Unlike biased brochures or magazines, Tony is objective.  What a great, selfless person to invest all that time and effort to gather truthful data and share it with us members.  Despite Mark Twain's quote being very funny, every person in the modern world knows statistics are important.

 

I've been following Tony's advice for years.  It's simple and sound.

Try not to plan too early.

If you must go at a specific time of the year, it's better to go to the spots where more snow falls.

If you must go to a specific spot, it's better to go at the time of year when there is more snowfall.

 

-A few years back, did March skiing at Mammoth.  Tony's website has great advice about Mammoth.

-Two years ago, my group wanted to do a different March ski trip.  We looked at our budget, read Tony's website, and picked I-70 resorts in Colorado.  Again, it was incredible.

-Last year my group insisted on early planning for a early season Tahoe trip.  Luckily, we had all booked Southwest.  At the last minute in December, because Tahoe was awful, we took up Tony's advice and went to the PNW (Mt. Baker and Blackcomb/Whistler).  It was a phenomenal trip, Tony was right again.

-This year, I bought my ticket one month before for a mid January ski trip to Denver I-70 resorts.  I knew only half the mountain would be open, but for a $100 R/T plane ticket to also visit my Denver buddy, I thought it was a chance worth taking.  I hoped a miracle snow dump would come, but I didn't expect it because I looked at Tony's info.  According to him February/march was the best time to go, which I agree about.  He said Winter Park would be more consistent.  When the trip came around, there was no snowstorm that I wished would happen.  I did 3 inches of the snow the day I arrived at Winter Park. No snowstorm at Copper either the next day, but as Tony said, the snow preservation is good and low crowds.  I always weigh his advice.

 

For those that are adamant about denying what he has to say about the gatherings, maybe you should be mindful of costs to others.  These trips cost a good amount, so why not try to make it the best possible considerations.  Finally Tony is always considerate in his posts so, I don't understand the lack of respect by you haters

 

Tony, you better keep up the great work, I'm relying on it!  And many other current and future members need your helpful comments.

post #32 of 45

Mkurowoski, Welcome to EpicSki. 

 

I, for one appreciate your balance to this thread, however I think you've missed some of the back story.  

This entire site appreciates Tony's input on weather patterns and what can be expected based on the statistics that he has taken great care in compiling. 

Where it gets frustrating is when Tony's repetition throws a wet blanket on plans that others make and intend to follow through on. 

 

Example: 

The EpicSki Gathering at Tahoe last year was planned for months in advance.  Upwards of 60 people made plane reservations, rented houses and were gearing up for the trip in late February. 

 

A months before the gathering, Tony suggested that we move the Gathering to Mammoth, because his statistics said that Mammoth should have better snow.   We tried ti respectfully say  No Thank You, because this was a large group and changing plans was not easy. 

 

The first day of the gathering was at Alpine Meadows on February 27th.  HUGE DUMP.

Day Two! - Mt Rose, =skiing the Chutes

Day Three - Northstar, Amazing Powder Day

Day Four - Squaw = Lower mountain only, as the upper mountain was buried and on wind hold.

 

IIRC Mammoth didn't get the snow that the Lake Tahoe got during that week. 

The Point is this.......

 

This community embraced Tony and his statistics, but he seems to lack the respect for those of us who have been inspired to have fun no matter what the weather brings. 

Respect gets respect. 

post #33 of 45
Thread Starter 

If the average base at Big Sky is reported to be 68 inches, you need to check where the weather station is located. There's something awry.

post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

Mkurowoski, Welcome to EpicSki. 

I, for one appreciate your balance to this thread, however I think you've missed some of the back story.  
This entire site appreciates Tony's input on weather patterns and what can be expected based on the statistics that he has taken great care in compiling. 
Where it gets frustrating is when Tony's repetition throws a wet blanket on plans that others make and intend to follow through on. 

Example: 
The EpicSki Gathering at Tahoe last year was planned for months in advance.  Upwards of 60 people made plane reservations, rented houses and were gearing up for the trip in late February. 

A months before the gathering, Tony suggested that we move the Gathering to Mammoth, because his statistics said that Mammoth should have better snow.   We tried ti respectfully say  No Thank You, because this was a large group and changing plans was not easy. 

The first day of the gathering was at Alpine Meadows on February 27th.  HUGE DUMP.
Day Two! - Mt Rose, =skiing the Chutes
Day Three - Northstar, Amazing Powder Day
Day Four - Squaw = Lower mountain only, as the upper mountain was buried and on wind hold.

IIRC Mammoth didn't get the snow that the Lake Tahoe got during that week. 
The Point is this.......

This community embraced Tony and his statistics, but he seems to lack the respect for those of us who have been inspired to have fun no matter what the weather brings. 
Respect gets respect. 

To be fair, we are all adults here and it didn't take Tony's stats for us to know that there was no snow in Tahoe. You still had a bunch of people show, right? We understand the logistics of trying to move, and his suggestion to move the gathering never got any traction, afaik. Skiers know there is a risk in planning ahead of time, but sometimes it has to be done that way.

We WERE lucky that it snowed, or perhaps that the week earlier hadn't been chosen, or any number of things.. Everything turned out great, let bygones be bygones.
post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post


To be fair, we are all adults here and it didn't take Tony's stats for us to know that there was no snow in Tahoe. You still had a bunch of people show, right? We understand the logistics of trying to move, and his suggestion to move the gathering never got any traction, afaik. Skiers know there is a risk in planning ahead of time, but sometimes it has to be done that way.
We WERE lucky that it snowed, or perhaps that the week earlier hadn't been chosen, or any number of things.. Everything turned out great, let bygones be bygones.

Lucky?  You mean you didn't believe me when I told you I had "powder day" in my bridal registry? th_dunno-1[1].gif

post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

Lucky?  You mean you didn't believe me when I told you I had "powder day" in my bridal registry? th_dunno-1%5B1%5D.gif

I'm just irritated that no one remembers  how I purchased those SKINNY Dynastars and lugged them all over the place and left my powder skis at home in a sacrificial yet successful attempt at coaxing snow from the sky. I actually had to spend several powder days on sub-100 skis, oh the ignominy. biggrin.gif

post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

I'm just irritated that no one remembers  how I purchased those SKINNY Dynastars and lugged them all over the place and left my powder skis at home in a sacrificial yet successful attempt at coaxing snow from the sky. I actually had to spend several powder days on sub-100 skis, oh the ignominy. biggrin.gif

 

Yeah, but your sacrifice enabled us to keep up with you for a change.  cool.gif

post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

I'm just irritated that no one remembers  how I purchased those SKINNY Dynastars and lugged them all over the place and left my powder skis at home in a sacrificial yet successful attempt at coaxing snow from the sky. I actually had to spend several powder days on sub-100 skis, oh the ignominy. biggrin.gif

I remember that. biggrin.gif

Thank you!

post #39 of 45
Quote:
Example: 
The EpicSki Gathering at Tahoe last year was planned for months in advance.  Upwards of 60 people made plane reservations, rented houses and were gearing up for the trip in late February. 

A months before the gathering, Tony suggested that we move the Gathering to Mammoth, because his statistics said that Mammoth should have better snow.   We tried ti respectfully say  No Thank You, because this was a large group and changing plans was not easy.

At New Year's 2012, with Squaw 2% open, Heavenly (which supposedly has big snowmaking) 4% open and no new snow in sight, I put up my first probability distribution.  At that time I said if January was also dry we should think about moving the Gathering.  This was 2 months ahead, enough lead time for people to make their own decisions and perhaps consider alternatives.

 

By the end of January there had been some snow but not a lot.  That snow was enough to get Mammoth 75% open and more importantly most of that snow preserved as packed powder.  Tahoe had a couple of melt/freezes which given the thin base resulted in far less skiable terrain open.   I did not post here then that the Gathering should be moved because there was at least some base, and a normal February would likely improve the situation some. At the end of January I made a personal decision not to attend, which was easy for me as I was driving and had also not committed to lodging, but I did not recommend that call for long distance visitors who had made financial commitments.  The only post I made here then was to offer my Tahoe Six-Pack at a discount price.

 

As noted in another thread, while I had arranged to be in Utah by the end of the Gathering week, the opening of the Mt. Rose Chutes Feb. 14 induced me to attend the first part of the Gathering, where I expected the skiing to be better than at Squaw and Heavenly.  Through Feb. 26 Tahoe had still another melt/freeze, while I continued to read favorable TR's from Mammoth.  During this time I arranged through my connections at Mammoth the potential to house up to 10 people down there very cheaply midweek.  Had conditions remained as they were Feb. 26 I suspect a few people might have considered that option, which required no advance commitment before people arrived in Tahoe and observed conditions themselves.

 

Quote:
The first day of the gathering was at Alpine Meadows on February 27th.  HUGE DUMP.

I would remind all that even the day before the weather forecasters were calling for that first storm to be 1-3 inches, and it turned out to be 18.  The spectacular turnaround in conditions at the Gathering was indeed a last minute surprise.

 

The Gatherings draw upwards of 60 people, who have varying reasons to attend, and varying time and financial flexibility.

 

Quote:

he seems to lack the respect for those of us who have been inspired to have fun no matter what the weather brings.

 

No disrespect at all.  I was just supplying information to help people make informed decisions.   And I thought bringing up the subject 2 months in advance was more constructive than a just a week or two ahead.  I think everyone who came was fully aware that skiing might be marginal, and determined to make the best of it anyway.  That was my own attitude when I spent a week in British Columbia in 2005 after the entire province had been deluged with rain to 8,000 feet for 4 days.   I did move 2 days of that week last minute to areas that had received some snow instead of the rain, so it was in that context that I tried to set something up at Mammoth.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 10/4/12 at 3:30pm
post #40 of 45

I was curious about past Gatherings, when and where they were, so I looked them up.  For the recent ones there are a lot of TR's, but for the older ones I have enough info in my Season Progress Reports to have a good idea of the snow conditions.  First off I can say that all of the dates were chosen intelligently for the specific resorts.  If snow conditions were not good, that was bad luck and not the organizers tempting fate at a questionable time of the season. 

 

Uncle Louie organized Gatherings in Summit County/Vail in early April of 2006 and 2007 as he did in 2011.  2006 was almost identical to 2011, a huge season in in the region with average snowfall/weather during the Gathering.  2007 was not a great season, and in particular most of March was hot and dry over the Western U.S.  The Gathering areas got a big storm right before it started and a couple smaller ones  during the Gathering.  So quite lucky in a below average year there.

 

South Tahoe in early March 2008 had partially spring conditions on a deep base.  That's fairly typical if there's no new snow, and with Sierra snow tending to come in concentrated big dumps, no new snow over a 4-day period isn't unusual either.  There was a smaller than Colorado Gathering at Tahoe in late March 2007, which would have had "late spring" conditions coming near the end of that sustained warm spell.

 

Jackson had 2 Gatherings, Feb. 7-11, 2009 and Jan 30 - Feb. 2, 2004.  Jackson needs fresh snow to show its best and had plenty during both of those Gatherings from what I can see from my reports.

 

Utah had 2 Gatherings, Park City Feb. 4-7, 2006 and Salt Lake Jan. 31 - Feb. 3, 2003.  The 2006 Gathering had a huge dump right before it started and probably some snow while there.  2003 may have been the unluckiest Gathering vs. historical expectation.  2003 had the driest Utah January in my 46 years of data and Alta was at 54% of season-to-date average snowfall.  There was some snow in early February but I don't know whether it happened while the Gathering was still there.

 

Fernie had a Gathering Feb. 22-25, 2002.  It was a big year and there was also snow during the Gathering, though some variable subsurfaces per Craig Morris' local report.

 

Kicking Horse had a Gathering March 6-9, 2005.  That was not a good season in western Canada and the period leading up to and during the Gathering was quite dry.  The upper steeps of Kicking Horse did have a good base from January storms that had been rain at lower elevations in B.C.  Kicking Horse was one of  those 2 "detour days" for me on Jan. 27, 2005 http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=608

 

I don't see the Gatherings being exceptionally lucky with respect to snow conditions, maybe a bit above average overall and I see at least 2 that were unlucky by nearly any standard.  I think they have been well planned, and as far as last year at Tahoe is concerned we may have been lucky to get the storm in the nick of time but I'd also like to credit the organizers for not choosing any earlier week, which would have been a disaster.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 10/7/12 at 11:57am
post #41 of 45
Tony, one of your refrains is "decide at the last minute, based on local conditions." Many people simply cannot do that. If your boss and your spouse need to know weeks in advance when you're going to be gone, and you have kids in the mix, and if changing air and lodging means you go from fifteen hundred to four grand (or whatever), it's just not practicable. I admit this is a bit of a tangent on the big sky thread, but it's discouraging to keep seeing the same impractical advice over and over. Most of us have to decide way ahead and then make the best o
f what we get. Look
post #42 of 45
Quote:
If your boss and your spouse need to know weeks in advance when you're going to be gone, and you have kids in the mix,.....

That may determine the dates, but for a February or spring break the resort doesn't need to be chosen or any $ committed until December or January, when you have at least some info about which places are having good years.  If you're going at Christmas and not on the later school breaks, don't complain here about the expensive prices or crappy conditions in slow starting seasons.  I was married to a teacher and raised 2 kids, took 16 destination trips at school spring breaks around April 1 with only one bad result.  I also had 2 trips with kids the week before Christmas on ~2-3 weeks notice to areas that had a big November.  Finally, I had 2 family trips between Christmas and New Years, both severely impacted by crowd issues.  So it's not impractical advice at all; I've been there with the family issues.

 

You may have seen it before, but I have often referenced the article I wrote a decade ago about family ski vacations:

http://173.193.223.192/~bestsnow/fam_ski.htm

I've revised a couple of the ratings in that article since then based upon input from readers and further experience on my part.

post #43 of 45

Seems like this thread is straying farther and farther from the fact that it's part of the Big Sky Gathering Group.  Has little to do with planning for a family ski trip.  Getting very confusing for newbies.  My assumption is that the dates are March 25-29 and the location is Big Sky.  That's where I'll be in late March and I intend to have a grand time!

post #44 of 45
Thread Starter 

Your assumption about dates is correct, marznc. I don't mind that the thread has drifted some. Show me one that stays on topic and I'll show you a short thread!

post #45 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Seems like this thread is straying farther and farther from the fact that it's part of the Big Sky Gathering Group.  Has little to do with planning for a family ski trip.  Getting very confusing for newbies.  My assumption is that the dates are March 25-29 and the location is Big Sky.  That's where I'll be in late March and I intend to have a grand time!

Yup!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Your assumption about dates is correct, marznc. I don't mind that the thread has drifted some. Show me one that stays on topic and I'll show you a short thread!

.....And Yup!