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Utah folks: Quick Question

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I'm from Whistler but will be down at Deer Valley on business this week. I have one free ski day tomorrow (Tuesday). The forecast suggests Deer Valley is getting more snow than the resorts further west.

Should I ignore the weather forecast and still head to Alta or Snowbird for my day off?
post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by adviljunky
Should I ignore the weather forecast and still head to Alta or Snowbird for my day off?
Yes.
post #3 of 21
What forecast are you looking at? NOAA (mother of all weather centers) provides ZONE forecasts. The zones are:

- Cottonwood Canyons (Brighton/Solitude/Snowbird/Alta)
- Northern Wasatch Valleys (PCMR/DV/Canyons)
- Southern Wasatch (Sundance)
- Some other places

That is the current state of accuracy of the models/tools available. ANY one giving anything else is smoke & mirrors. DV's prediction vs. other resorts in the same zone are all the same.

That said, go to Alta/Bird. That zone always (well, almost always) gets more snow that the PC zone. Snow levels will also be an issue on the front end of this storm, so you can't go wrong with the higher base elevations.

Powdr

Powdr
post #4 of 21
NOAA on Cottonwood Canyons:

Synopsis: ...Heavy Snow Warning noon today through noon Tuesday...March storm cycle begins today. A moist pacific storm will move over the canyon areas today through Tuesday morning. The heaviest period of snowfall for the Cottonwoods will be from 900 pm tonight to 1200 pm Tuesday. For Provo canyon the heaviest snowfall rates will be late this afternoon through about 300 am tonight. Winds will be strong but should remain below severe levels. Another period of snow is likely...mainly for the cottonwoods... later Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. A strong cold front then arrives Thursday with occasional snow through the weekend.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
What forecast are you looking at? NOAA (mother of all weather centers) provides ZONE forecasts. The zones are:

- Cottonwood Canyons (Brighton/Solitude/Snowbird/Alta)
- Northern Wasatch Valleys (PCMR/DV/Canyons)
- Southern Wasatch (Sundance)
- Some other places

That is the current state of accuracy of the models/tools available. ANY one giving anything else is smoke & mirrors. DV's prediction vs. other resorts in the same zone are all the same.

That said, go to Alta/Bird. That zone always (well, almost always) gets more snow that the PC zone. Snow levels will also be an issue on the front end of this storm, so you can't go wrong with the higher base elevations.

Powdr

If you know the lat/lon of a particular part of a particular ski area, it is possible to get a point forecast from the NWS. It's still a forecast, and not reliable more than 3-5 days out, but at least it will be pinpointed to the correct location and take elevation/terrain into account (unlike a zone forecast which is generalized for a large area). If anyone has lat/lon combinations to try out, PM me and I will use them to query the NWS/NOAA digital forecast database. It's a big 3D dataset of future weather. This has proven accurate for me here on the east coast, and I would be curious to see how it does out west.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219
If you know the lat/lon of a particular part of a particular ski area, it is possible to get a point forecast from the NWS. It's still a forecast, and not reliable more than 3-5 days out, but at least it will be pinpointed to the correct location and take elevation/terrain into account
skier219 - have you tested this out, for example with two points that you know to be in the same resort, like the Wildcat base and Point Supreme at Alta? I'm just curious, because I saw something like what you descibe here for Big Sky, but it seemed like you couldn't get to the "particular part of a particular ski area" level of detail - not enough zoom. I'm just curious.
post #7 of 21
Those "pinpoint" forecasts are based upon an algorithm that takes into account elevation & Zones. It is by no means is as accurate as some might think. I have inputed coords that are clearly off of what historic SNOTEL sensors show. The original post is example enough. No way in hell does DV get more snow that Alta/Bird. Ever.

Powdr
post #8 of 21
Alta is less then 1000 feet higher then Deer Valley. Does that really make a huge difference?

I thought Alta and Snowbird received more snow because they are the first mountains that the clouds pass over after pulling moisture from Salt Lake.

The clouds need to dump their load to make it over the mountains.
post #9 of 21
I like EVERY ski area I've been to in Utah!

Having said that, please do what Lonnie said
post #10 of 21
[quote=Scalce]Alta is less then 1000 feet higher then Deer Valley. Does that really make a huge difference?

All the difference in the world. It's raining\sleeting now at the base in Park City although it will be snowing up at the higher areas of the resort. Alta's base is higher and colder so it almost never rains and the snow is lighter and more plentiful- this is important in spring as colder,higher= lighter and Alta has great snow when PC has knee breakin' muck.
post #11 of 21
Ever heard of a "rain Shadow"

From wikipedia
Quote:
A rain shadow (or more accurately, precipitation shadow) is a dry region on the surface of the Earth that is leeward or behind a mountain with respect to the prevailing wind direction. A rain shadow area is dry because, as moist air masses rise to top a mountain range or large mountain, the air cools and water vapor condenses as rain or snow, falling on the windward side or top of the mountain. This process is called orographic precipitation. The effect of the process is the creation, on the leeward side, of an area of descending dry and warming air, and a region that is quite arid.
In Utah, the Cottonwood canyons are on the windward side and Deer Valley(Park City/The Canyons) is (are) on the leeward side of the Wasatch.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Synopsis: ...Heavy Snow Warning noon today through noon Tuesday...March storm cycle begins today. A moist pacific storm will move over the canyon areas today through Tuesday morning.


Does "March storm cycle" mean what I hope it does. I will be in SLC next week and hope to catch some of that.
post #13 of 21
Bet Alta gets more.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your input. Skied Alta today with 6 inches of freshness. Unbelievable snow, unbelievable place. I've wanted to ski there since I was a kid and it sure was a treat today. I will try to duck back there Thursday before I head back to Vancouver.
post #15 of 21
Are you sure Alta only had 6"? I skied 12" at PCMR, and I know Alta *must* have gotten more.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Are you sure Alta only had 6"? I skied 12" at PCMR, and I know Alta *must* have gotten more.
That's what we call "the Alta 6...."
post #17 of 21
That's what I figured.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tumbler
skier219 - have you tested this out, for example with two points that you know to be in the same resort, like the Wildcat base and Point Supreme at Alta? I'm just curious, because I saw something like what you descibe here for Big Sky, but it seemed like you couldn't get to the "particular part of a particular ski area" level of detail - not enough zoom. I'm just curious.

The Western Region HQ webpage links can get you a point forecast, but the resolution is terrible despite having a zillion decimal places (often times you are clicking on an image map to input lat/lon). I write software "Wx" (which anybody who runs Mac OS X 10.3.9-10.4.x can use) which lets you put in the lat/lon directly and make a query into the NWS database. It allows a resolution of about 0.07 mile.

Out here locally, I have compared forecasts up on the mountain top to the valley below (where the "zone" forecasts usually apply) and do see the right trends (even with our measly 3000-5000 ft peaks). It even seems to forecast inversions correctly, when they happen. I do like being able to get a mountain forecast, especially out here where it can be raining and 40F in a valley but snowing and 28F on the hill. It's pretty important when planning ski trips in marginal weather.

If you have lat/lon pairs for a valley and a summit, I can plug them in to Wx and see how it works for your locations. I believe the resolution of their forecast database is between 0.1 and 1 mile depending on the ground terrain model used in the simulations. I am sure some interpolation is involved in the database, so it's not perfect (but then again, it's a weather forecast, and that's far from perfect anyhow).
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
God I love Utah. I skied Snowbird Thursday - drowning in fluffy white pow. Were any of you there? It was a religious experience.
post #20 of 21
Well Adviljunky, You have had your Utah religious experience. To keep the gods happy and on your side. Get out your pray rug at the crack of dawn and face Alta for your morning prays. Oh and make a check payable to the Church of Everlasting Powder c/o Reverend Utah49. The bigger the check The better the powder.
post #21 of 21
Maybe the LDS actually should start facing Alta and praying every morning. They could claim to be able to illicit powder from God and thus be the true religion...

No offense intended. I would say it about anybody.
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