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Park City: What is the best time to travel, and what should I expect in February?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I normally plan my trips around historical weather patterns, and that means I often go to the totally incorrect place because forecasting is very hard :)

 

But, I never learn, and knowing about El Nino, I understand it favors southern Colorado and Utah for higher than average precip.  So, we've decided to go to Park City, which seems pretty awesome now that you have the largest ski area in the U.S. after they combined with Canyons.
 

Normally, I go in the coldest part of the year, which would be January.  But we are likely going to have to go during the first week of February or the last week.

 

I HATE getting rained on.  What kind of ski conditions should I expect for that area?  Is there a better time to arrive?

post #2 of 7

February is a fine month to go. Highly unlikely you would get rained on. Rain is very unusual in the winter. Now, whether you get fresh snow or not is impossible to say. Forecasts are barely reliable 1 week out, let alone 3 months. However, based on history, and long range forecasts for coming winter, that is a pretty decent time. Snow conditions should be good no matter what happens. At least on the groomers. If PC gets a long dry spell, that of course could affect off piste conditions.

post #3 of 7

The photos at this link were taken around Feb 20, 2015: http://www.epicski.com/a/park-city-ut-a-pictorial

It was an exceptionally low snow season at Park City, but I still fun and most terrain was open, just not optimal conditions.  Normally Feb would be an excellent chance for good snow.

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

The photos at this link were taken around Feb 20, 2015: http://www.epicski.com/a/park-city-ut-a-pictorial

It was an exceptionally low snow season at Park City, but I still fun and most terrain was open, just not optimal conditions.  Normally Feb would be an excellent chance for good snow.

I've been going to PC multiple times a season for over 15 years. If those photos are from last year, last season was almost unique in it's horribleness (not sure that's a real world). It is best to not even speak of it.  

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Turner View Post

 

 

But, I never learn, and knowing about El Nino, I understand it favors southern Colorado and Utah for higher than average precip. 

 

 

Without wishing to spark of this debate again, generally speaking an ElNino event does not favor central to northern Utah. Do not go to Park City because you think ElNino is going to create great conditions. Historically you would be better of in the south at Brianhead. The real beneficiaries will be So Cal, NM and Arizona, maybe Mammoth, maybe maybe Tahoe and So Co. No guarantees either way.

post #6 of 7

Based on long term history, early February is probably the most ideal time frame for Park City.  It's late enough that all terrain should be open in all but the very worst seasons. It's early enough that you will see minimal melt/freeze conditions, which are routine on the lower half of Park City's terrain in March with modest altitude and primary east exposure. 

 

The long term history is in general more important than the El Nino.  As noted above the Wasatch is neutral to El Nino.  If Park City is high in your wish list, you're picking a good time to go there. 

 

Quote:
that means I often go to the totally incorrect place because forecasting is very hard :)

If this is a complaint about not getting powder, that's the way it is for advanced planned trips.  If you want to raise those odds you have to plan less than one week in advance, which realistically means ski areas within drive distance for most people. 

post #7 of 7
I've been almost rained on in late february in PC.
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