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Is this year worse than last year in CO?

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 

Many of us have xmas ski trips to CO and things are not as good as we hopped.  With only 2 weeks to go, I’m wondering what to expect.  Most ski areas in the region have less runs open now that last xmas.  I’m hoping they are saving the slopes for the xmas rush.  More snow is also expected this week.

 

A quick survey of data from Vail shows snowfall is a little ahead of last year.

 

  Base Base Base Snowfall Snowfall Snowfall
  2010 2011 2012 2010 2011 2012
1-Dec 28 18 18 44 18 32
12-Dec 32 20 18 74 28 53
25-Dec 41 20 ? 109 38 ?
31-Dec 46 20 ? 124 38 ?

 

Right now I’d estimate the Vail region has 15% open.  I’m thinking there is a good chance that could go up to around 50-70% with nearly all blue/green runs open and a handful of blacks. Might need 30" of new snow to get to that point though?

 

I’m no expert, so I’m hoping others will chime in.

 

(no need to reply with tips to go to other regions…  I would if I could)

post #2 of 67

Not just worst than last year but much worse than last year so far....on the other hand the forecast is much better than last year at this time..

 

ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/CO/Snow/snow/watershed/daily/basinplotstate13.gif

 

 

 

 

1000

post #3 of 67

The thing to remember-

 

Last year early season snowfall was normal-ish.  Most of the natural snowfall places (Sunlight, Monarch, Powderhorn, Cooper) did not open by Thanksgiving, which is a pretty good barometer as to how much natural snow has come down (they normally schedule opening the first week in December, but push like hell to open on Thanksgiving if they have the snow).

 

But, by this time last year, the whole state basically dried up, and stayed that way until February.  February had a bit of snow, but still less than normal, but then the weather pattern shifted back and tit was basically dry until late July.

 

Things look good for the 2 week forecast, which is as far out as anybody can reasonably comment on what will happen in a season.

 

The weather pattern that pushed all the storms North last year could have broken up at any time- the fact that it stayed around for months was an anomaly, and just because a similar pattern took place early season this year doesn't mean much for what is to come.

 

Right now, their is neither an El Nino or La Nina cycle in effect, which is pretty rare. It also means that long term forecasts for this year are even more of a crapshoot than usual.

post #4 of 67

Don't look just at the numbers year over year.  Last year cumulative to date was slightly more, but most of that had fallen in early November then it was either blown away by wind or melted... whereas this year, most of it fell this past week and it's remaining cold at least for the short-term outlook.  I can't speak for other resorts, but in Steamboat the snow storms that came through this past week have made the skiing up here muuuuch better.  If you had asked me a week ago, I'd have a doomsday outlook, but after a weekend of storms, voila, it truly looks like winter now.  I actually think today's conditions were better than I remember them being at Xmas last year and we still have a few weeks to go... skiing today was actually pretty darn good.  Sure it was early season conditions, but just as thin as I remember it being in many many years at this same time.  Tomorrow our mtn opens up Storm Peak so we'll have top to bottom skiing and if the forecasts pan out for the weekend, we'll be in much better shape.  I would expect to see tons of terrain opening up across the state this weekend.  Honestly, these snow storms have truly helped and at least for Steamboat, we're now skiing more "normal" than you'd think.

post #5 of 67

Also, this.

 

http://opensnow.com/location/wolfcreekcolorado

 

Up to 26" of snow forecast between now and Sunday.

 

That will go a long way to getting this season back on track for the San Juans.

post #6 of 67
I think it will be way better than last Christmas when we were getting mauled by huge windstorms with no Dec snow.
post #7 of 67

Well, I started skiing in CO in '97 and last season was the worst by far and so far this season is a very close second.  I agree with the comments above regarding temps and weather patterns.  I've got family coming out in February, which I know is far out and weather can change, but I've already advised them to cancel the CO trip and go to the PNW.

post #8 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay_p View Post

Well, I started skiing in CO in '97 and last season was the worst by far and so far this season is a very close second.  I agree with the comments above regarding temps and weather patterns.  I've got family coming out in February, which I know is far out and weather can change, but I've already advised them to cancel the CO trip and go to the PNW.


It only rains here.

post #9 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay_p View Post

Well, I started skiing in CO in '97 and last season was the worst by far and so far this season is a very close second.  I agree with the comments above regarding temps and weather patterns.  I've got family coming out in February, which I know is far out and weather can change, but I've already advised them to cancel the CO trip and go to the PNW.

 

Not sure if serious....

 

If so, that's a little bit of an overreaction to last season. February is a long way out, and things feel like they've significantly changed for the better around here lately, so who knows what two months of winter weather will bring. I mean, I used to live in Oregon, so l love the Pacific Northwest, but I'm not sure that's where I'd direct them if Colorado is dry. Actually, now that I think about it, I really hope this is the prevailing wisdom out there. I wouldn't mind a less crowded season.

 

If kidding, well played sir.

post #10 of 67

I don't think your numbers are right.  For 2010 you say it snowed 30 inches between dec 1 and dec12 and the base went up only 4 inches??  And for 2012 between dec 1 and 12 you say it snowed 21 inches and the base went up zero inches??

 

I think this year is going to be normal.  Every year people seem to forget that it's normal for there to be little base before christmas.  Out of state people think that there should be snow at thanksgiving.  There shouldn't. 

post #11 of 67

Also, let's not forget that the winter of 2011 was the BEST ever.  So to be able to compare this year's numbers to that year's numbers (your numbers for december 2010) and not have them all that far off, is a good sign.  In your three year graph you have the best year ever and the worst year ever.  Maybe you should get some other years on there and make sure they're accurate. 

 

According to your numbers it's snowed about twice as much on dec 12 this year than last year. 

post #12 of 67
Very glad I'm going to the PNW and not Colorado this year.
post #13 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake Saunders View Post

I don't think your numbers are right.  For 2010 you say it snowed 30 inches between dec 1 and dec12 and the base went up only 4 inches??  And for 2012 between dec 1 and 12 you say it snowed 21 inches and the base went up zero inches??

The numbers I quoted are directly from onthesnow.com  I think onthesnow get's there data from the resort websites.  Unfortunately, I think you're right that the resorts stats have significant error in them.

post #14 of 67

naah, they are right, you should cancel your trip stay home and sulk.  

post #15 of 67
This thread reminded me that I have to dig my planks out of the cupboard and do some base repais after last seasons trip to Co.mad.gif
Mid Jan and walking down the road barefoot in shorts to the pool and the lifties wearing T shirts and Hawaiin leis.
However, could have been much worse, was initially considering Tahoe
post #16 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfelot View Post

Very glad I'm going to the PNW and not Colorado this year.


Unless you had planned on going to SW Colorado!  smile.gif

post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake Saunders View Post

I don't think your numbers are right.  For 2010 you say it snowed 30 inches between dec 1 and dec12 and the base went up only 4 inches??  And for 2012 between dec 1 and 12 you say it snowed 21 inches and the base went up zero inches??

 

I think this year is going to be normal.  Every year people seem to forget that it's normal for there to be little base before christmas.  Out of state people think that there should be snow at thanksgiving.  There shouldn't. 

As far as I can tell, the early season base depth numbers get skewed by the man made snow- most resorts open the WROD with a "base" of 18" even if the other runs are bare and the "base" reported seems to stays there until there is actually 18" on the non-snow making runs. 

 

I was away until mid-Feb last season, but from what everyone said about last year, this year is better and moving in the right direction...I skied some ungroomed snow at both Breck and Keystone this week and had a blast.  Overall, I would much rather have a dry November and a snowy December than the other way around.

post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post

Not just worst than last year but much worse than last year so far....on the other hand the forecast is much better than last year at this time..

 

ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/CO/Snow/snow/watershed/daily/basinplotstate13.gif

 

 

One thing to remember is that is a statewide report as of Dec 12...up until this past weekend, I think the southern half of the state was way worse than last year, but not so much for I-70 and Steamboat.  Also, these numbers are for all mountains, not just ski resorts (which tend to have less south facing terrain than mountains in general).  One thing I was happy about during our 3 week dry spell is that the high north facers (i.e. front of Copper and Vail) seemed to retain some coverage (while the south facers became completely bare) 

 

With this weekends storms dumping down south and helping everywhere, I think you will see a drastic improvement in the state wide numbers.

post #19 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatChance View Post


Unless you had planned on going to SW Colorado!  smile.gif

 

Baker has 134" base, got 21" at 24" the last 24 hours and is forecast to get another 27" before tomorrow. SW CO may be doing better than Summit County, but the PNW is the place to be right now.

post #20 of 67

There was NOT a December storm like this last year. Most places in Colorado got close to three feet this week. Wolf got 46" of smoke this weekend, and it was just as epic as it sounds.

 

Snow in the forecast all next week.

 

This season seems to be gearing up right around the point that last season shut down.  Who knows how it will play out, but pretty much everybody had access to a powder day this week, and that goes a long was to easing pessimism

post #21 of 67

^ this for sure but lets not get all pissy when the cycle ends and we have a few blue/grey bird days. It's gonna happen.  this is a gift. Although the totals are impressive, this really sets up the base for solid start.  

post #22 of 67

I'm glad "most places" got some snow. Unfortunately, summit county is still limping along on man made, with about 10% area open.

post #23 of 67

MOST places did not get 3 feet in the past week...WC, Silverton, sure but not most.

post #24 of 67
MEfree30 Quote:

As far as I can tell, the early season base depth numbers get skewed by the man made snow- most resorts open the WROD with a "base" of 18" even if the other runs are bare and the "base" reported seems to stays there until there is actually 18" on the non-snow making runs.

This still would not explain the figures for 2010.

 

My Quote:

 For 2010 you say it snowed 30 inches between dec 1 and dec12 and the base went up only 4 inches?? 

That 4 inches started at 28 inches.

 

As I pointed out, the two years before this one on the graph are the best ever, then the worst ever.  I think we need to see how the average year compares to this year. 

post #25 of 67

Monarch got 55" the past week.

 

A quick scan of Loveland's facebook page makes it look like about 30" in the past week.

 

Sunlight got 35" last week.

 

Steamboat 16" in 72, and I know they got hit several times last week.
 

And we know what happened in the San Juans over the weekend.

 

So yes, all over Colorado, from all mountain regions, places are reporting about 3 feet in a week. I'm only using the above as they are the one I get Facebook updates from. I'm sorry whatever area you are looking at didn't get hit. Maybe you should consider taking a trip...

post #26 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

 

Baker has 134" base, got 21" at 24" the last 24 hours and is forecast to get another 27" before tomorrow. SW CO may be doing better than Summit County, but the PNW is the place to be right now.


Then Go!

post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

I'm glad "most places" got some snow. Unfortunately, summit county is still limping along on man made, with about 10% area open.

Limping was very fun today.

post #28 of 67

Steamboat is now at 36.25" since 12/9 thanks to an amazing past few days.  So you're right, we did not get 3 feet... we got 3 feet and a quarter inch!  Plus there is another 6" that fell this morning between 5am and 8:30am that isn't on the report.  Today was some amazing skiing.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay_p View Post

MOST places did not get 3 feet in the past week...WC, Silverton, sure but not most.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

Steamboat 16" in 72, and I know they got hit several times last week.
 

So yes, all over Colorado, from all mountain regions, places are reporting about 3 feet in a week. I'm only using the above as they are the one I get Facebook updates from. I'm sorry whatever area you are looking at didn't get hit. Maybe you should consider taking a trip...

post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

I'm glad "most places" got some snow. Unfortunately, summit county is still limping along on man made, with about 10% area open.

I skied Keystone today and rode the lift with a guy from Colorado Springs who said today was better than any he had last year.  Personally, I would say that I had a better day end of Feb/beginning of March last season at Breck as it was blue bird with more terrain open, but today was nice.  OTOH, I overheard a girl in the lodge saying that she wasn`t having any fun because it was too cold and snowy (and something about forgetting her goggles)...she did say that if she was a better skier, she might enjoy it more.

 

I think you will see a lot more terrain open in Summit by the end of the week.

post #30 of 67

Anyone up at A Basin?  Any reports of more terrain opening?  How about Breck?

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