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7 Year Average Snowfall Totals from 16 Resorts....Accurate?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

These are the numbers I got from "On The Snow". I went back the past 7 years and took the average yearly snowfall. 

Crystal had one year over 700 and Squaw had one year over 600 hundred....the two highest.

Sunday River got a whopping 43 last year...the lowest.

 

Any surprises or are some of these numbers not real or way off?

 

Biggest surprise by me is Snowbasin at only 203?

Ski season can't start soon enough...

 

The List

Crystal..............412

Squaw..............405

JH.....................402

Targhee............350

Alta...................346

Big Sky.............319

Steamboat.......276

Jay ..................266

Park City..........260

Snowbasin.......203

Stowe..............195

Telluride...........188

C Butte.............178

Taos.................173

Killington..........143

Sunday River...106

post #2 of 11
Well, those are resort-supplied numbers. The "totaling theory" of one resort may not be the same as another. For instance, here we don't count September and October snow because in most cases it's melted before we open. Here it's Opening Day base plus whatever falls after that, and it stops on closing day. Other places look at all snow over the course of a whole year. Tony Crocker's site equalizes for all that horse manure. Better to look at his numbers.

(Interestingly, he has 324 for Whitefish, whereas my running average for totals since I moved here is 300.1 and the resort typically claims we average 300 inches. Tony gives us more credit than we claim.)
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treewell View Post
The List

Crystal..............412

Squaw..............405

JH.....................402

Targhee............350

Alta...................346

Big Sky.............319

Steamboat.......276

Jay ..................266

Park City..........260

Snowbasin.......203

Stowe..............195

Telluride...........188

C Butte.............178

Taos.................173

Killington..........143

Sunday River...106

I haven't found on the snow data to be reliable at all.  I don't think they're trying to do anything malicious but rather they just don't put that much effort into accuracy.

 

I looked at one example, Atla, which averaged 478 based on the data on their website for the last 7 years.  That's a nearly 40% error which is huge.

post #4 of 11
During the season, I've often wondered where they got some numbers and it seemed to be either base depth or mid mountain, but not summit depth.
post #5 of 11

Interesting information. I too suggest that some caution should be taken when viewing and comparing snowfall statistics. They often do not include the fact  that multiple early season snowfalls may melt away within hours or a day or two of falling before the resort opens for the season. Yet, often resorts begin measuring annual snowfall from the first flake that falls before the resort opens for the season.

 

Significant also is that these snowfall figures may not include rain events during the season that, if they occur, can significantly affect the impact of  measured snowfall. This is  especially problematic with lower elevation resorts.

 

Moreover, resorts vary in how they measure snowfall. Many rely on snow stakes  while others employ other more sophisticated means including sonar. Where on the mountain these devices are located also makes a practical difference. Pure measuring logic  would seem to dictate that they be located at the resort  base near a highly trafficked lift  but there are practical limitations to doing so. Instead, they are typically located in the trees somewhere off trail often shielded from the effects of the wind.  Add to the mix  the fact that low and high moisture snow content settle and consolidate differently. This affects the import of otherwise identical inches of snowfall.  A resort's susceptibility to temperature inversions can also take its toll.

 

The list of measurement variables can go on. Still, talking about multi-year snowfall averages does provide an interesting yardstick of while we look forward with anticipation to the coming season. Thanks for calculating and posting  the 7-year Average Snowfalls from 16 selected Resorts. :) 


Edited by Lostboy - 10/1/16 at 9:27am
post #6 of 11
I''m with Sib on this one. Think resorts are wildly incomparable about when, how, where they take snow readings. Not to mention the relative enthusiasm of their PR people.

And the depth means different things at a resort that has serious thaw cycles - the northeast, Idaho, and Pacific coast come to mind - vs. one that tends to hold its old snow - Utah and Montana come to mind. IMO the most reliable data come from governmental agencies or universities that have research sites they measure periodically.
post #7 of 11

The Crystal average and high year sound about right.  Mt. Baker (in the same mountain range) has an average of 659" (622" last season) and the highest year in the last seven was 857".  While Baker is well known as the leader in snowfall for North America, Crystal and the other western or Cascade crest areas get lots and lots too.  Baker's statistics are fairly accurate and I figure Crystal's must be close at least.


Edited by Posaune - 10/2/16 at 6:52am
post #8 of 11

Using the numbers on Killington's website I get 189 inches for their 7 year average.  Quite a bit higher than the 143 listed.  If I go back 10 years the average is much higher (219 inches) as all those years were between 275 and 300.  

post #9 of 11
We have a few in Michigan tgat could have made that list.
post #10 of 11

Vs. Crocker's longer-term data in red:

 

The List

Crystal..............412 -- 340-410 (mountain 1-mountain 2)

Squaw..............405 -- 270-457 (base-mid mountain)

JH.....................402 -- 367

Targhee............350 -- 465

Alta...................346 -- 519

Big Sky.............319 -- 283

Steamboat.......276 -- 372

Jay ..................266 -- 320

Park City..........260 -- 150-287

Snowbasin.......203 -- 313

Stowe..............195 -- 304

Telluride...........188 -- 278

C Butte.............178 -- 252

Taos.................173 -- 259

Killington..........143 -- 241

Sunday River...106 -- 

 

 

(I trust Crocker's work - only comprehensive review based on solid data that I know of). Interesting to look at the 7 year timeframe though.

 

That said I have been won over lately on the whole slope direction/altitude argument.

post #11 of 11

Not sure where the "on the snow" numbers come from, but a quick comparison between the Alta Collins study plot data reported on Alta's website and the On the Snow figures reveals  major discrepancies.  For instance, Alta reported 17" on a day in April when the On the Snow figures report nothing at all. 

 

As a regular skier at Alta, my sense was that they tended to under-report, if they erred in any direction. This may because other places over-report, and I used to believe them, but since Alta uses a snow plot that is relied on by the weather bureau and for their own avalanche control work, I tend to trust their data.

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