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Dumb ?: Why such a discrepancy b/w base and total snowfall?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
It's not really an important question, but I'm leaving for Breck in a couple days, and was checking their website. Says 70" base mid mountain, but 264" total snow. Where is the difference? Melted snow? Packs that dense? Someone with a snow-science background enlighten this dumb docker.

I know spring break's gonna make it tough going next week, but I'm hoping for some peaceful early morning runs.

-DockerZ
post #2 of 22
Consolidation. Snow settles and fuses into snowpack. Snow also melts from the bottom and evaporates from the top.
post #3 of 22
^^ what he said...enjoy the breck lift lines during spring break
post #4 of 22
There are no dumb questions on Epic, though there are a lot of dumb answers (this one included).
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by DockerZ View Post
but I'm hoping for some peaceful early morning runs.
I've been skiing Breck pretty much every afternoon from 1-4 lately and there have been no lines. Zero. Been riding lifts alone about half the time. If lines do end up long read the long post I wrote here: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...478#post374478 . Have a great trip.
post #6 of 22
Reminds me of a trip report recently where someone was blasting Stowe for false snow reports. He said the resort claimed to have received around 300" of total snowfall for the season (which they had) yet was complaining that the scumbags at Stowe were lyers 'cause the actual base was not even close to 300".
I was tempted to reply in sarcasm but didn't (one person did though)...hope they are reading this now...
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post
Consolidation. Snow settles and fuses into snowpack. Snow also melts from the bottom and evaporates from the top.
Pretty close. The snow at the bottom doesn't really "melt", it sublimates. IE, looses water content through vapor transfer. The snow at the surface also loses some water content through evaporation, but unless air temps rise several degrees above 0 degree C, it doens't melt much either.

How about this, in Colorado, the 264" of snowfall you cited consists of around 4-10% water and the remainder is good old air.

If say 3 feet falls on the snow plot, it settles to around 15" over time. Another 3 feet falls and the weight of that 3 feet compresses the first 3 feet. Add into the equation, that the 2nd 3 feet settles. And so on and so forth.

Well settled and compacted snow reaches a density of around 3 kg per cubic meter or roughly around 30% density.
post #8 of 22
Uhh... freshly fallen powder is not the same as packed powder..?..
post #9 of 22
Good question. The one resort that I question the most is......Stowe.

Over 23' of snowfall with an 80" base?????????????
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post
Good question. The one resort that I question the most is......Stowe.

Over 23' of snowfall with an 80" base?????????????
That sounds about right. We have gotten about 26' of snow and we have an 87" base right now.
post #11 of 22
Also, Mr. Telluride, in the East we have this thing called rain, which undeepifies the base even more than consolidation. It also unpowderizes or, you might say, icifies. Many resorts here are still shouting about the sensational snowfall depths they've had this year, but they've all had some major rains. Mount Snow's website is still featuring a beautiful photo of their gleaming white mountain taken on March 10, after a major rain, but from a mile away. On their live webcam, you can see the shiny spots.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mapnut View Post
Also, Mr. Telluride, in the East we have this thing called rain, which undeepifies the base even more than consolidation. It also unpowderizes or, you might say, icifies. Many resorts here are still shouting about the sensational snowfall depths they've had this year, but they've all had some major rains. Mount Snow's website is still featuring a beautiful photo of their gleaming white mountain taken on March 10, after a major rain, but from a mile away. On their live webcam, you can see the shiny spots.
BTW... I grew up at Sunday River, Maine. I have skied hundreds of days in the rain... I just think that it's funny that some people think that 10 feet of snowfall means a 10 foot base!!!
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post
Good question. The one resort that I question the most is......Stowe.

Over 23' of snowfall with an 80" base?????????????
Works out to about 29%.

We've had 700" and have 180", for about 26%. that's a bit low for us, though as we reached an early peak of 215" about a month back. Normally we are still building through mid-March. Damn this mid-winter doldrum.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mapnut View Post
Also, Mr. Telluride, in the East we have this thing called rain, which undeepifies the base even more than consolidation. It also unpowderizes or, you might say, icifies. Many resorts here are still shouting about the sensational snowfall depths they've had this year, but they've all had some major rains. Mount Snow's website is still featuring a beautiful photo of their gleaming white mountain taken on March 10, after a major rain, but from a mile away. On their live webcam, you can see the shiny spots.
You're such a verbifier.
post #15 of 22
I don't understand not understanding.

Snowfall Total = amount of snow that has fallen out of the sky, measured after every storm.

Base Depth = how deep the snow is on the trails.

Snow fall measures the amount of snow that has fallen for the season, use this to judge how the season is going for a region, it's best to use this to judge a season against other historical seasons.

Base depth is what you will experience when you go to the area to ski. Use this to judge what your experience will be like from week to week.

Does that make sense?
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. Makes sense. I cringe at the thought of the lift lines, but with kids, and school schedules, it's tough to coordinate a better time for the next 10 years. My wife and I are going to ABasin in April for 5 days, which I would expect will be better. All said, I'd rather be standing in a lift line than a cafeteria line at work - I'm expecting 60 minute lines at each lift, so my expectations are low, therefore, the likelihood of exceeding my expectations is high...

Thanks, Breckview, for your pragmatic advice.

-DockerZ
post #17 of 22
I was at Breck for Presidents week and expected long lines. With some care, I think the longest we hit all week was maybe 15 minutes, but most of the time was well under 5 minutes. The 15 minutes was on the Mercury chair right before lunch on Sunday.

Have fun!
post #18 of 22
My bigger peeve is with resorts in the mid-atlantic that claim 20+ inches of base when it's fairly obvious that except under one snowmaker in the beginner bowl that's complete BS.

I feel that if there are bare patches on your groomers and the rest is fairly brown, and my pole hits leaves, you have to say base is 0". In other words, min to max.
post #19 of 22
Well, that's a whole nother thing. We've all seen bare spots, frequently in early and late season, but have you ever seen anyone report a 0 - 27 inch base?
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
Base Depth = how deep the snow is on the trails.
In Colorado the base is unpacked snow (I.e. off the trails).
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunion View Post
Well settled and compacted snow reaches a density of around 3 kg per cubic meter or roughly around 30% density.
Missing a couple zeros maybe? Wouldn't that be more like 300kg per cubic metre?

If not, I want to ski where you are!
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoboy View Post
Missing a couple zeros maybe? Wouldn't that be more like 300kg per cubic metre?

If not, I want to ski where you are!

Ooops! You are quite correct. That was written during a string of early A.M.s

Sleep is a marvelous thing.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Dumb ?: Why such a discrepancy b/w base and total snowfall?