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Best time for Alta/Snowbird

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'll be going to Alta/Snowbird this season and i have to choose between Jan - 29,30,31 or Feb - 26,27,28. Does anyone think that either time period is better? I just got some 2010 Gotama's and i want to make sure i have the best chance of hitting a ton of powder. I appreciate any advice.
post #2 of 14
97.3% of us think that Jan. 30- Feb 6 is the best time. :-)

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/86410/the-2010-epicski-gathering
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattL View Post

97.3% of us think that Jan. 30- Feb 6 is the best time. :-)

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/86410/the-2010-epicski-gathering
 
There's always what it looked like in early Feb of 08 too;

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/66127/utah-gathering-pics-and-stuff
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gillette1 View Post

I'll be going to Alta/Snowbird this season and i have to choose between Jan - 29,30,31 or Feb - 26,27,28. Does anyone think that either time period is better? I just got some 2010 Gotama's and i want to make sure i have the best chance of hitting a ton of powder. I appreciate any advice.

Either will be great. I think Feb is probably a bit better snow based on historical trends. Its also going to be a bit sunnier.
post #5 of 14
Definitely go to the gathering if you can, otherwise I'd go for February, if only for the slightly longer daylight hours
post #6 of 14
X2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reducedfatoreo View Post

Definitely go to the gathering if you can, otherwise I'd go for February, if only for the slightly longer daylight hours
 
post #7 of 14
I have taken many trips the weekend after Presidents Day that is peak time.  To me that is the end of the best skiing season because on March 1st the sun gets noticeably higher to affect the snow conditions.  Sunny, warm days ruin the skiing conditions, esp if it doesn't snow for a while, whereas, the lower sun and darker days keeps the snow better in Jan/Feb. Now it will snow just as much in March as in Feb/Jan but it is the days in between I worry about.  Also, I don't like my face to get burned like it does starting mid-March.

But the late Feb trip is right before the days warm, so you are good.  But NOT for the Park City resorts.  It is amazing how crappy their snow is year after year in comparison at that time of year.  We often ski one day over there in late Feb and there can be a full on melt starting. 
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

But NOT for the Park City resorts.  It is amazing how crappy their snow is year after year in comparison at that time of year.  We often ski one day over there in late Feb and there can be a full on melt starting. 

I thought February would one of the best months... even for Park City resorts...
I mean, isn't it still cold and snowy, and the base higher than January?
What about Snowbasin, would mid/late-feb be already late season?

Thanks.
post #9 of 14
for good snow.

Jan - mid april(or early may on north facing at the bird)

for great coverage

mid feburary - end of may

for the best of everything

march and april
post #10 of 14
IMO & in general the best time to plan, if you have to plan in advance is Late Feb.- early Mar.  The chances for a deep snowpack & fresh snow are best.
JF
post #11 of 14

I'm jumping into this conversation a little late, but I'm hoping for some guidance on timing when best to catch some fresh snow in SLC.  Myself and a group of friends are looking at Jan. 20 - Jan. 25 or Feb. 17 - Feb. 22 to be in town.  Unless we have reason to do otherwise, we'll likely be spending the bulk of our time at Alta/Snowbird.  The question is - and I know this is becoming a bit redundant - which time is better?  Understood that snowfall is always a crap-shoot at some level, but is there one of these weekends to lean toward based on historical trends?  And speaking of trends, can anyone recommend a good link to get a look at these?  I haven't had a whole lot of luck finding anything that's up to date, or useful for that matter.

Bottomline: I've spent the last few years hitting the slopes the first week of March, and a lot of what I've read about that timeframe in the posts above is right on.  When the snow falls (I should say if, we haven't had good luck of late) it's good that day, but the high sun kills it if it doesn't keep falling, and the next day is a crust fest.

Solution: go earlier.  But how early?  Is late Jan. too soon?

post #12 of 14
Go to Alta website and look at snow history. I think it goes back about 4 years. gives you every day it snowed with amount and density. Also Tony Crockers website goes back about 12 years. Not day by day but you can get a feel for wet and dry periods.
post #13 of 14
Thanks for the suggestion.  I'll give it look tonight.
post #14 of 14
    From the Alta website since 1980.  Nov     78.30"              
  Dec     90.13"
  Jan    95.34" 
     Feb    90.68"
  Mar   97.52" 
    Apr 72.29"
My data from Alta goes back to 1967, picture is similar


Snowfall is volatile.  Do not look at the past 4 years, or maybe even 12.  Expected snowfall by week is remarkably smooth for Alta/Snowbird; it's futile to make a guess now. 

The tradeoff in late season, as mentioned above, is sectors that will transition to spring conditions if you don't have fresh snow.  At the Park City resorts and Snowbasin/Powder Mt. that can indeed be February.  My Iron Blosam week is second week of March, and in the warmer weeks the north facing steeps are still dry winter snow but sunnier exposures will soften.

The early season tradeoff is coverage and snow stability.  If you want to hike Baldy and ski Main Chute your odds there are better in March than January.  These places get so much snow that most marked runs are adequately covered by late January, but the more technical terrain will be more filled in by March and some more rare skiable lines can open up. 


In terms of powder Alta/Snowbird are going to get hammered within a day or two of each storm, so I don't see a real difference in the two timeframes.  Snowbasin/Powder Mt. are a different story.  Powder Mt. never gets tracked out, so earlier/low sun is better there for sure.   
                             
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