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How will these spring conditions in Utah affect my skiing?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hey Guys,

I am heading out on Thursday to Snowbird for 5 days and have been keeping a close eye on the forecast.  Unfortunately, it looks like Spring has sprung and there will be no NEW snow, only sunshine when I there.  I am wondering how day time temps in the 40s and night time temps close to freezing will affect the conditions. 

I just got back from a little practice trip to Welch Village in Minnesota and the temps were almost the same, but it had just rained the night before.  The conditions were horrible!  I could barely get an edge the stuff was so hard, and when it was broken up, the "snow" in some places was more like hamster pellet sized pieces of ice.  I still had fun, but was really looking forward to coming to Utah and being able to have an easier time gaining an edge, especially being a beginner-intermediate (I was able to do all blues in Welch under these conditions). 

How is it going to be in Snowbird/Alta during these warm days and almost freezing nights?  Mushy? Icey?  Or better than I think (hopefully)?

Looking forward to hearing your opinions.

Regards,
Mario
Edited by esumsea - 3/21/10 at 11:23am
post #2 of 26
post #3 of 26
or put another way....

Overnight

Mostly Clear
Mostly
Clear
Lo 18 °F
Sunday

Sunny
Sunny

Hi 44 °F
Sunday
Night

Slight Chance Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 20%
Slight Chc
Snow
Lo 26 °F
Monday

Chance Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 40%
Chance
Snow
Hi 35 °F
Monday
Night

Chance Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 50%
Chance
Snow
Lo 17 °F
Tuesday

Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 70%
Snow
Likely
Hi 24 °F
Tuesday
Night

Chance Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 50%
Chance
Snow
Lo 15 °F
Wednesday

Chance Snow
Chance
Snow
Hi 32 °F
Wednesday
Night

Partly Cloudy
Partly
Cloudy
Lo 19 °F


Nice timing!
post #4 of 26
I will be out there the same time. Unfortunately it looks like that will just be a little dusting, but here to hope!

To keep with the topic though, specifically what are some good ways to approach Alta and Snowbird when you are in a freeze/thaw cycle?

I would guess for Snowbird you would want to maybe start over in Gad 2 which would be a little more protected in the trees. Head over to Mineral Basin late morning when the snow has softened the crust but before it turns into mank. Lap the cirque traverse around lunch and finish with a trip or two out on the Baldy traverse or into Thunder Bowl. 

For Alta, I'm guessing Supreme or Wildcat probably ski well early and the High T softens up a little later in the day. When is the best time to get into Greely in those conditions? Where do you not want to be early/late in the day?
post #5 of 26
For Alta, it's as simple as following the sun/shade.  Sometimes it pays to know where the shady areas are, as they avoid melt/freeze cycles this time of year, and the snow can still be *very* good there.

The forecast for the next 7 days at Alta/Bird looks great to me.  I wouldn't be worrying about melt/freeze issues or spring snow at this point.  Due to location/elevation, the snow will be a lot more robust/resilient than the same temperatures in the east (or Minnesota).  At high elevation, the snow stays drier than here in the east.
post #6 of 26
 Alta, DV and Solitude bases look pretty good as of now. And the temperatures are not exactly spring. During Easter 09 we skied Lech-Zurs, Austria for 7 days straight, not one fresh flake and daytime temperatures were 50deg to 65 degs, and there was snow as far as the eye could see. True that by 1pm and after lots of the trails were cut to pieces but for this beginner-budding-intermediate and his son(the big mountain skier) the snow was far more than anything in the East  . Here is the old video of that week, if you want to feel good as to what to expect, since I think Utah will be the same if not better since its still pretty cold, since we are headed to Utah on Friday night, and while fingers are crossed, am optimistic. Actually skiing in warm weather is the experience in my view, nothing to compare to it..

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Dustyfog and Cirquerider, yeah, it looks like it will be nice during the week but I am more worried aobut the extended forcast that has highs @ 40 on Friday and rising for the rest of our trip.  I just spoke to the folks at Snowbird and they said the snow will be hard and icey in the morning and then softening up during the day and maybe getting mushy later in the day.  This is unfortunate but hopefully will be much better than Welch due to the quality of snow at higher elevation (according to what I have heard).
post #8 of 26
Sounds like a great time to be there.  Sure it's not bottomless powder but the relative warmth and sun means you won't have to wear as much and nothing puts a smile on my face more than big slushy spring bumps.  3 years ago my wife and I went to Tahoe and it was in the mid 60's and sunny nearly everyday.  Sure it got sloppy and thick at the bottom but the snow was great all morning and if you stuck to the shadows and higher elevations it was fine.   
post #9 of 26
Well, you're getting snow all through the week so what's now isn't going to be like it will be in a day or two.
post #10 of 26
 I've skied at Alta in temps as high as 45-47F in March/April and only seen real slush at the bottom near the parking lot.  Seriously, drop any notions of temperatures and snow conditions you know in the east; it's different out there.  I honestly wouldn't be worried one bit.  You will have nighttime temps in the teens and 20s, and it really helps charge the snowpack with cold.
post #11 of 26
 BTW, these are typical conditions for the end of March; shoot for Jan or Feb if you want a better chance of powder and packed powder or have worries about melt/freeze cycles and spring snow.  That said, my best powder "week" was in April 08 at Alta.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Oh, boy, things are looking up!  Looks like this new system will dump 4 to 8 inches tonight and who knows how much more in the next few days.  The cold front will be stronger than anticipated and will be followed by another so it does not look like it will hit the 40s until Sunday (and hopefully not even then).  WOOOOO HOOOOOO! I am simply salivating!
 You got to love the first line of the forecast!

Late Afternoon: Snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 36. Northwest wind around 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tonight: Snow showers. Low around 18. Northwest wind between 7 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible. (Snowbird says 4-8")

Tuesday: Snow showers likely, mainly before noon. Cloudy, with a high near 29. Northwest wind 7 to 10 mph increasing to between 17 and 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Tuesday Night: A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. North northwest wind between 7 and 17 mph. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 39. North wind between 7 and 10 mph.

Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 24.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 47.

Thursday Night: A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23.

Friday: A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 36.

Friday Night: A chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a low around 17.

Saturday: A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 36.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 19.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 43.

Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 23.

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 44.
post #13 of 26
I'm going out to Utah again in early April.  Expect frozen spring snow in the mornings  (assuming it is warm the day before) and nice softer snow for the rest of the day.  If the highs are below 38F, you may not get any noticable snow melt.  You should get zero slush based upon the weather report you posted above.    I just got back from Lake Tahoe where it is certainly more humid compared to Utah, but the spring conditions were predictably similar.  My little kids got to practice their carving on the hard stuff (felt like water injected) in the morning and we skied the trees in softer snow the PM.  Make sure your edges are sharp and you bring wax.  Suntan lotion can't hurt.
post #14 of 26
as long as it is under 40F you will be fine.  It is looking great for your trip.  Try to get all around both mountains as much as you can.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hey Snowbird Devotee,

Loved your review.  Am am using it on my trip. Kudos! 

Yeah, the beginning of the trip looks great, especially since it will only get "close to 40" on Thursday.  My first day will be awesome with highs near 30 and snow showers and Saturday will be almost as good (High 37, with Snow showers).  Sunday, should be good also, but the warming trend will start with highs at 46,48, and 51 on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday and I suspect Wednesday, my last day, won't be the best .

Hopefully, those numbers from NOAA are a little higher than I will experience on the mountain itself (I wonder if anyone can confirm this).  Also, by that time, I will hopefully be able to venture higher up the mountains, where the temperatures are far cooler. 

Is there a more accurate weather report than NOAA?
Will the temps be cooler on the mountain than NOAA reports?  If so, how much cooler?

Also, slightly off topic, I am going to rent skis in Alta because they rent skis for much cheaper than in Snowbird.  Alta sports will rent me skis for 17.60 a day, where the cheapest I could find at Snowbird was Creekside's $24 (after a $10 off coupon).  That is over a $12 dollar difference a day (for two skiers), and over $60 difference over 5 days. 

Of course I will have to catch the buss over to Alta in the morning and find a way back (through buss or shuttle) the first day, but other than that (considering Canyon's free shuttle to and from Alta and Snowbird in the afternoons for returns) there will be no other hassles. 

Is there something else I should consider when making this decision?
Is it imperative to get your skis waxed daily, or every couple of days, or can I go without waxing for 5 days?
Is there a good chance I will need to make adjustments and therefore need to visit the shops?
Its tough because I suspect I will be visiting both mountains, with maybe just a short time more in snowbird.

Any advice on these subjects will be appreciated.

And of course everything will be paid back with a full review of both resorts with pics and videos (though I can promise how good it will be.)

Regards,
Mario
(the extremely excited one)
post #16 of 26
I get a fairly good point forecast for Alta using the NWS NDFD (National Digital Forecast Database).  If you have a Mac, check out my "Wx" weather app.  You can use the app's Google maps integration to pick a relevant point right on the mountain (I find mid-mountain is best) and then the app will get the forecast for the closest NDFD grid point.  For mountain or coastline weather, it's about the only way to get a good forecast that you know is location specific.  NWS has a simialr feature on their website, but it's more tedious to dial in the point and I don't know if they pull from the same database.

Here's the level of data available in Wx for Alta right now, for a mid-mountain location:

Picture 9.png

Picture 10.png

Picture 11.png

Picture 12.png


The snow forecast only goes out 36 hours and it hasn't gotten into the range of the coming storm yet.  But I find that it's usually pretty accurate.

post #17 of 26
I was there last week and have skied the 'Bird many times through March-Expect very hard conditions in the morning (if it stays warm)-especially down low.Don't be in too much of hury to get going in the morning, and ski until last chair-Wilbere runs till 4:30 and gets nice and soft

Sharp edges will make the mornings better in between storms, poke around Little Cloud and the snow off the upper cirque usually stays pretty nice
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys for the info!
post #19 of 26
>s there something else I should consider when making this decision?
Is it imperative to get your skis waxed daily, or every couple of days, or can I go without waxing for 5 days?
Is there a good chance I will need to make adjustments and therefore need to visit the shops?
Its tough because I suspect I will be visiting both mountains, with maybe just a short time more in snowbird.

I wouldn't worry so much about the weather, it sounds typical for this time of the year and skiing should be fine.  Don't worry about rewaxing your skis, not necessary.  You shouldn't need adjustments to your skis, unless you come out of them too easily on a fall, but likely they will set them right and they will stay right. 
post #20 of 26
Trying to head out to LCC/BCC one more time, in a few weeks. Base looks good and general forecasts say they expect decent snow into mid April.

How it skiing out there now?
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Holy cow, it puked on us yesterday.  It was a freaken blizzard.  Regretted not bringing any face protection and got hammered off the sunnyside trails in Alta..  Lots of powder.
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by esumsea View Post

Holy cow, it puked on us yesterday.  It was a freaken blizzard.  Regretted not bringing any face protection and got hammered off the sunnyside trails in Alta..  Lots of powder.
 

There ya go. That's Utah.
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Yeah it was, uh, great!  Really I cant complained because I hoped for it, but I must say, as an aspiring blue skier (and after two days at snowbird, maybe I should say aspiring green skier) that skiing in 13" of powder is extremely hard and not that much fun, especially on rental skies.

Shake it!
post #24 of 26
DV had 14" by 4:00 today, with another 12 in the next 24 hrs.
post #25 of 26
Snowbird has 19" so far and still snowing.
post #26 of 26
 Had the powder flu today. Super great day at Alta. Powder and more powder and plenty of opportunities for first tracks. Face shots galore. Even though it snowed all day, the slopes were starting to get a bit tracked out by the afternoon. One of the best days of the year as the powder was plentiful and the light and fluffy stuff that Utah is known for. It was hard to take a break for lunch as they didn't open Supreme until 1130 or so and there was no way I was going to leave until I had put tracks down as many runs as possible. Had a big smile on my face all day   Withe the forecasts I've seen, this should be a very good weekend too.
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