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Snowbasin in March

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone, I'm going to Utah in mid March.  I will spend 3 days at Snowbasin and 1 day at Solitude.  What are my chances of getting at least one powder day at Snowbasin?

 

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post #2 of 7

Not a Utah native, but been all around several times.

Quick answer: about the same as at any Utah area.  While there are micro-climates, generally if it doesn't snow in Utah, it doesn't snow anywhere.  If someone had a magic ball which could pick storm days 5 months in advance, they'd be rich AND happy.  

 

Only considerations:

Snowbasin is a bit lower than than the LCC/BCC areas and snow may be a bit wetter/heavier if storm is on the cusp, which it MAY be in March.  Or not.    But...at the same time, SB will have fewer skiers than in LCC or BCC.  

post #3 of 7

My experience based on no statistics or science whatsoever, is that your chances are good.  Spring storms often bring cold snow even if it is warmer before & after.  In my 14 seasons at Snowbasin I would say that my most memorable & abundant powder days have been in March!

post #4 of 7
Quote:
 What are my chances of getting at least one powder day at Snowbasin?

I have modeled my extensive snowfall data base to answer this question:

http://50.87.144.177/~bestsnow/pwdrpct.htm

The specifics for Utah areas:

http://50.87.144.177/~bestsnow/utahnet.htm

 

Snowfall is erratic as we all know.  Snowfall at Snowbasin is above average for the Rockies but there is a 40-50% chance you will see no days of 6+ inches new snow in an advance booked week.  There is only about a 25% chance you will have more than one 6+ day.

 

The above is why advance booked skiers should be paying more attention to how good the coverage is likely to be and how well the snow surface will preserve if its not snowing.  There are almost never any coverage worries by March, but Snowbasin is low enough and mainly east facing, so spring conditions can be expected if it's warm, while the higher and more north facing areas in the Cottonwood Canyons are far more likely to retain packed powder if it hasn't snowed recently.  If you get a big dump it will be good everywhere, but if it's barely 6 inches it will ski much easier if the subsurface is not refrozen spring snow.

 

The OP has not stated where he's staying, but in Salt Lake you can buy discount tickets early each morning at the ski shops and decide day-to-day where you want to ski based upon expected conditions.  I personally like Snowbasin a lot, but one of the virtues of Utah skiing is the flexibility described above.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 11/12/14 at 12:14pm
post #5 of 7

I ski at Snowbasin the Sunday after Presidents Day just about every year.  Refer to Tony's post to answer your question. Expect the ave temp to be in the upper 40's at the base.  The hill doesn't point to the north, and get's a lot of sun at that time of year.  It will likely be sloppy on the bottom half of the mtn after noon and wet up top if it is sunny.  The experts side, John Paul, points north and can be very icy and tough to ski much of the day.  But, you could also have great powder skiing if it snows.  Expect 1/2 the snowfall you would get in the Cottonwoods. 

 

the town closest to Snowbasin is Huntsville, UT

http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/84317


Edited by SnowbirdDevotee - 11/13/14 at 2:07pm
post #6 of 7

Even the places that get tons of snow, most winters have more non powder days than powder days. So when picking a resort be it for a week or a season, imo it is best to pay attention as to how it skis when it hasn't snowed for a week or two. The frequency of freeze/thaw cycles and overall snow quality and snow preservation are just as important to me as total snowfall.:popcorn

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 

Even the places that get tons of snow, most winters have more non powder days than powder days. So when picking a resort be it for a week or a season, imo it is best to pay attention as to how it skis when it hasn't snowed for a week or two. The frequency of freeze/thaw cycles and overall snow quality and snow preservation are just as important to me as total snowfall.:popcorn


I have to :deadhorse:about this constantly in response to these questions.  Interestingly, my counterpart Fraser Wilkins in the Alps takes this for granted in his evaluation of snow reliability: http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/weather-snow/the-snow-quality-equation/  He claims not even to get many questions from his British consumers about how much it snows in specific resorts in the Alps.

 

I have incorporated snow preservation factors into the ZRankings Snow Score: http://zrankings.com/resort/snow

 

Quote:
  • Snowfall Score

    This is a rating accounting for snowfall quantity, quality and consistency. It’s a good indicator of the attractiveness of a resort for powder skiing.

  • Total Snow Score

    The reality is that powder days occur not much more than 20% of the time even at the snowiest places. The final snow score adjusts the snowfall score for the factors than help or hurt preservation of snowpack and packed powder conditions the other 80+% of the time. The key factors affecting snow preservation are exposure, altitude, latitude and rain incidence. Many Colorado and Vermont areas have similar snowfall scores, but most Colorado areas get large positive adjustments for the snow preservation factors while all Eastern areas take a big hit for low altitude and rain incidence.

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