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Terrible Snow Season in Canada?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hello my fellow ski lovers :)

 

I'm a (newly discovered) die hard  ski enthusiast up in Calgary, Alberta and was really looking forward to this ski season.  This is really only my second year of skiing as up until this point hockey controlled my life, which is convenient because so much of the feeling transfers over.

 

So me in my over eagerness decided to buy one pass to Sunshine because they are close and consistently have the best snow in the area - light, dry and somewhat consistent snowfall. As well I bought a mid-week pass to Castle mountain because it is like a giant uninterrupted playground with sometimes epic snowfalls,  and me having a job that caters to the midweek skiing.

Now mid way through February, although Ive managed to make it out roughly 20 times, the skiing has been borderline terrible.  I finally managed to make it out to Castle last week and found that entire faces of the mountain were exposed with zero cover!  Sunshine has kept its base, but the majority of the time its hard pack and ice, with few measurable dumps of snow.  I was at Whitefish on New Years and that was excellent powder conditions, and have also hit Revelstoke and Kicking Horse, both with nothing better than average conditions.

 

Now my question to you is, was I spoiled last year, when I first got the ski bug, with big dumps of snow and great conditions? Or was that the exception and this is more typical of the Canadian Rockies?  I have been watching the snow reports from Whistler all the way east to Sunshine, and as far south as Whitefish.  It seems all have had pretty much the same year; a week or so without snow and then a few small (4cm) snowfalls followed by a week of almost nothing.

 

So please Bears.. tell me what is really going on? Regular year or dismal conditions?

 

post #2 of 26

Last year was a pretty damn good year, especially for Sunshine/Louise, don't have the numbers but it must have been above average, and there were lots of weekend storms, over half my days were powder days. Whistler has a pretty good season too.

 

This year has been pretty poor. Started slow, bunch of snow, then that stupid -30 high pressure for weeks before Xmas, bit more snow, now more high pressure. Definitely below average this year, but it's still early. Last year in April Sunshine got about 100cm in 24hours one Friday. Lots of time left.

post #3 of 26

Yeah, it's a bad season for Canada. Especially for us in the southern rockies. Tony Crocker is a member here and he keeps good track of snowfall stats.

His latest progress report http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/ confirms your suspicions.

 

 

I'm am off to utah tomorrow though. Maybe i will bring some of that snow back with me. ;)

 

post #4 of 26

Well I ski powderking. Bad season's are few and far between. but looks like I better check some conditions and see where to go for my ski trip

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manchester81 View Post

 

Yeah, it's a bad season for Canada. Especially for us in the southern rockies. Tony Crocker is a member here and he keeps good track of snowfall stats.

His latest progress report http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/ confirms your suspicions.

 

 

I'm am off to utah tomorrow though. Maybe i will bring some of that snow back with me. ;)

 

Hmm thats an interesting little site.  Thank you!

post #6 of 26

I'm also from Calgary, and yeah it hasn't been too great.

 

I bought my first sunshine pass this year, and I bought new skis (Head Monster 82s) and I've probably only got 10ish ski days.

 

Crazy amounts of school work (and I have Tuesdays off school!) and family stuff has cut into my ski days big time this season.

The ridiculous cold snap during winter meant very little skiing too.

 

I'm hoping that I can get a bunch of late trips out though, I now have Tues/Fri off class so I'm planning on making a lot of trips...hopefully we get some more snow!

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by energyrail View Post

 

Well I ski powderking. Bad season's are few and far between. but looks like I better check some conditions and see where to go for my ski trip


 

Same, first season up here, I've only been twice so far, opening day (low base but fresh snow) and once in January which was really deep. It's been a few weeks since any real snow now, really craving  a deep day.

post #8 of 26

This definately ranks as the second worst snow season I've seen in my 23 years of skiing on the west coast (currently Vancouver Island).... the worst being 2004/05

post #9 of 26

Aren't you getting that storm that's hitting the western us?

post #10 of 26

Nope, all that fantastic snow went well south of the PNW and BC.  We got 3" the other night, does that count?  :(

post #11 of 26

Not really!  The east coast US got more than that.  Been a good year out there.  They got spoiled with packed powder for awhile - like 6 weeks.

post #12 of 26

Canada's a big country, with many different ski regions.  I'm not sure about West coast...and central...but I'd say this year's been average in the Quebec area (last year was above average).

post #13 of 26

This dry spell is getting really annoying. Seriously hoping for an epic March at least, I want to have a reason to get down to Whistler at least once.

post #14 of 26

For Whitefish, coming as it does after a record-breaking year, it's tough to say.  I'd say it's a zigzag year, we go from one extreme to the other.  I think we will have to wait until the end of the season to evaluate it.

 

We've been doing a lot of groomer days lately (i.e. this week), but we've also had incredible Christmas powder conditions.  I think we've had a lot of days with not only SOME visibility, but too many with incredible cloudless skies.  Coverage is wonderful on the groomed runs.  Trees are NOT currently perfect with fluffy powder, but depending on the specific day, they could be soft wet snow or firm bumps.  Snow is expected tonight.

 

Like I said, all over the map.

post #15 of 26

Looks like a storm is coming...supposed to snow Monday-Wednesday this week....Lake Louise says it could be up to 35cm.

 

....and I can't go skiing 'till Friday! 

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torture View Post

 ....and I can't go skiing 'till Friday! 


 

I have to wait until Friday too. I can't justify skipping school first week back from vacation.

 

Had a nice day at Alta last wednesday though!

post #17 of 26

Alright, screw class I'm going skiing tomorrow....27cm at Sunshine in the past 24 hours!

post #18 of 26

Woo hoo... it's half a meter of fresh at Sunshine now.  Too bad the temps dropped :(

post #19 of 26

I'll have a new progress report up by the weekend.   I had my annual snowcat trip to Chatter Creek Jan. 31  - Feb. 3, lucky to hit just enough new snow around that time for decent powder.  Same with a day at Eagle Pass Heli Feb. 7.  Lift served Jan. 31 Kicking Horse, Feb. 4-6 Revelstoke and Feb. 8 Apex were not powder but still good.  Revy was well covered, KH and Apex had some rocks in exposed places, but I could get around them.  TR's here: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=3

 

Interior BC/Alberta are far from immune to lean snow years.  2001 and 2005 were both worse than this year.  From my stats 1993 and 1998 were bad too.

 

The anomaly this year IMHO is Whistler.  I group it with Pac NW rather than the rest of western Canada because that's what's its climate really is.  But it's colder and mostly higher than Washington State and over the long run has an enviable history of consistent snowfall.  This is probably only the 3rd season in my data going back to 1974 when coverage at Christmas was deficient. 

 

So far this is something like a 10th percentile season at Whistler but more like 25th percentile in the rest of western Canada. 

 

Meanwhile we had a mostly great February here in California.  But as of this week the storm track has moved north so your conditions in western Canada should be improving.

 

post #20 of 26

I'm in Quebec.  Montreal to be exact.  A few days ago, Tremblant got 40cm in about 24hrs.  Bromont the same.  And for the kicker.....a few more hrs east - Le Massif received...95cm in 24hrs!   CRAZY. 

 

Nobody around Montreal should or can complain.  Tremblant is at 414cm (163") this season.

post #21 of 26

I am skiing Castle tomorrow. 64 cm in the last two days. Should be a good weekend!

post #22 of 26

Shoot -- I'm in Montreal for a week mid-March.  Don't suppose I'll have time to ski, though.  Dommage. 

post #23 of 26
 For the heliskiing crowd, a nice Canadian bright spot for snow this season was Bella Coola Heli Sports with several dumps of 25 cm+.  This area of BC is in the Coast Mountains way north toward the Alaska pan handle.  It often experiences different conditions from the Canadian Rocky ranges around Revelstoke because it gets high moisture storms first coming off the Pacific but still has some of the tallest mountains.  I do some work with one of the owners who took this pic last week.  Mt. Waddington shown in the background (tallest mountain in Canadian heliskiing).

link for Europeans: www.bellacoolahelisports.de
link for English speakers:  www.bellacoolahelisports.com

Check out our guide book www.powderbrothersheliski.com for some other Northern BC operators.

Waddington Mar 2010.jpg
post #24 of 26
 Crazy bump. I am surprised that I complained about snow last year.
When is La Nina coming back?
post #25 of 26
Not much snow in Sudbury On. Canada this year.  April 1 and the fire bans are already out because it is so dry.
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by manchester81 View Post

 Crazy bump. I am surprised that I complained about snow last year.
When is La Nina coming back?

 

Yeah, fresh has been hard to find east of Golden this year.... well except for yesterday.... Knee-deep in The Dive @ SSV


Fingers crossed for La Nina just in time for next season!
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