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Article on where to ski in a La Nina year

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Normally, I refer to Tony Crocker on this, but here's another article

I'm trying to figure out how they came up with the order and decided it must be random. I did the math on some of the resorts and it didn't seem to track with the order, nor is it alphabetical.
post #2 of 8
Well at least I'm headed in the right direction, i.e. Spokane. Those figures are generally pretty close to Tony's and I probably wouldn't be headed there at all if it wasn't for his great bible of snowfall data. Kudos to TC. It's no guarantee of a great trip, but to steal a quote from one of his pages, using the data will lessen the chances of a bad trip.

Should be some bombs going off soon in the PNW. I can't wait! beercheer.gif
post #3 of 8

The order has no relation to projected possible snowfall.  Looks like Baker is nearly at 1000".  I'll be happy to see it, but I would also be surprised.  I like surprises, though.

post #4 of 8

I am the source of that data.  I sorted it in order of credibility but in reality there is a sharp demarcation between the top 4 on the list, which have at least 30 La Nina months of snowfall data, and the other 6, which have no more than 16 months.  Mt. Baker and Castle only have 12 months.  Naturally the author chose not to include this explanation with the article.  

 

The problem is that there were a bunch of La Nina seasons in the early 1970's but the next one was 1988-89 and the have been only 3 more since.  So very few ski areas have more than 3  seasons of data, which is not nearly enough to establish a credible long term average.  Then throw in that 1998-99 and 2007-08 were huge, record setting seasons in many places and you can see there is a lot of room to overstate the effect of La Nina.

 

The mainstream media likes to keep it simple.  I'm aware of stringent and inflexible space limitations in the print media.  But online there is really no excuse for not providing some context.  Furthermore the link above does not mention me as the source, and the link back to Adventure Journal goes to a home page and I can't find the source article there.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Possibly this one?

 

It mentions you.  But it doesn't mention my mountain!!!  frown.gif

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Possibly this one?

 

Look carefully at the publication date: "steve casimiro on January 6, 2009"

 

Here is what I sent Adventure Journal On November 2, 2010:

 

Quote:

Key points:

1)       La Nina is at highest reading since 1975.  It tends to persist through February/March and is thus a strong favorite to be one of the top 5 La Ninas of the past 60 years.

2)       The list of areas favored by La Nina are extremely likely to have no worse than average snowfall.  Most areas only have data for 4 La Nina seasons, but for the ones that do have all 8 seasons going back to 1970, there are still none below average.  The snowfall excess of the ones with all 8 seasons is typically 15-20%, with a few of the “strongly favored” group being even more.

3)       Observed experience is that in big El Nino or La Nina years the expected effects occur from time to time but not consistently.  So overall season snowfall trends can be expected but predictions for any specific month or short time frame cannot be predicted with any credibility.

4)       A few of the La Nina seasons have produced record snowfall at some of the favored areas, 1973-74 (stongest of all), 1998-99 (9th strongest) and 2007-08 (6th strongest).  The impact does not seem related to the strength of the La Nina once a threshold has been reached, as is nearly certain in 2010-11 per 1) above.

5)       Casual observers often attribute La Nina influence to a broader range of areas than appropriate, probably due to the limited data of only 4 La Nina seasons since 1977.  The following regions are not very sensitive to La Nina: Colorado aside from Steamboat which is favored, the Utah Wasatch, Lake Tahoe, Sun Valley and nearly all of the Northeast.  The only ski regions with strong negative historical impact are Southern California and Arizona .  Mammoth and Taos are mildly impacted, likely to be 15% below average.  This calls for some caution in early season, but mid to late season are unlikely to be a problem due to excellent snow preservation at both places.

6)       There is a mild tendency for La Nina to favor early season and El Nino to favor late season.

 

Listed below are 10 ski areas with strong positive snowfall correlations to La Nina.  First are listed 4 areas with 30+ months of data going back to some La Nina seasons in the early 1970’s.  The other 6 areas have no more than 16 La Nina months of snowfall data, so snow percentages are likely inflated by record snow that some areas received in 1998-99 and 2007-08.  For those 6 areas the true expectation for 2010-11 snowfall is probably in the 130% range.

 

Area, Elevation Snow Measured

Avg Snow

La Nina Months

La Nina Snow Pct.

Sunshine Village, AB  7,028

248

31

136%

Lake Louise, AB  6,700

161

31

127%

Jackson Hole, WY  8,250

368

31

116%

Bridger Bowl, MT  7,100

297

30

115%

Mt. Hood, OR  5,400

444

16

140%

Schweitzer, ID  4,700

275

16

140%

Whitefish, MT  6,700

320

16

137%

Fernie, BC  5,400

366

16

132%

Mt. Baker, WA  4,300

633

12

153%

Castle Mt., AB  5,700

271

12

151%

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

Quote:
Possibly this one?

 

Look carefully at the publication date: "steve casimiro on January 6, 2009"

 

Here is what I sent Adventure Journal On November 2, 2010:

 

Quote:

Key points:

1)       La Nina is at highest reading since 1975.  It tends to persist through February/March and is thus a strong favorite to be one of the top 5 La Ninas of the past 60 years.

2)       The list of areas favored by La Nina are extremely likely to have no worse than average snowfall.  Most areas only have data for 4 La Nina seasons, but for the ones that do have all 8 seasons going back to 1970, there are still none below average.  The snowfall excess of the ones with all 8 seasons is typically 15-20%, with a few of the “strongly favored” group being even more.

3)       Observed experience is that in big El Nino or La Nina years the expected effects occur from time to time but not consistently.  So overall season snowfall trends can be expected but predictions for any specific month or short time frame cannot be predicted with any credibility.

4)       A few of the La Nina seasons have produced record snowfall at some of the favored areas, 1973-74 (stongest of all), 1998-99 (9th strongest) and 2007-08 (6th strongest).  The impact does not seem related to the strength of the La Nina once a threshold has been reached, as is nearly certain in 2010-11 per 1) above.

5)       Casual observers often attribute La Nina influence to a broader range of areas than appropriate, probably due to the limited data of only 4 La Nina seasons since 1977.  The following regions are not very sensitive to La Nina: Colorado aside from Steamboat which is favored, the Utah Wasatch, Lake Tahoe, Sun Valley and nearly all of the Northeast.  The only ski regions with strong negative historical impact are Southern California and Arizona .  Mammoth and Taos are mildly impacted, likely to be 15% below average.  This calls for some caution in early season, but mid to late season are unlikely to be a problem due to excellent snow preservation at both places.

6)       There is a mild tendency for La Nina to favor early season and El Nino to favor late season.

 

Listed below are 10 ski areas with strong positive snowfall correlations to La Nina.  First are listed 4 areas with 30+ months of data going back to some La Nina seasons in the early 1970’s.  The other 6 areas have no more than 16 La Nina months of snowfall data, so snow percentages are likely inflated by record snow that some areas received in 1998-99 and 2007-08.  For those 6 areas the true expectation for 2010-11 snowfall is probably in the 130% range.

 

Area, Elevation Snow Measured

Avg Snow

La Nina Months

La Nina Snow Pct.

Sunshine Village, AB  7,028

248

31

136%

Lake Louise, AB  6,700

161

31

127%

Jackson Hole, WY  8,250

368

31

116%

Bridger Bowl, MT  7,100

297

30

115%

Mt. Hood, OR  5,400

444

16

140%

Schweitzer, ID  4,700

275

16

140%

Whitefish, MT  6,700

320

16

137%

Fernie, BC  5,400

366

16

132%

Mt. Baker, WA  4,300

633

12

153%

Castle Mt., AB  5,700

271

12

 

Hey Tony good stuff-but I thought that (pretty sure) that several CO areas  in addition to Steamboat were favored during the 07-08 La Nina. For instance I remember Vail receiving well over 400 inches-already this  season  many CO areas are ahead of normal-Vail opened today with way more terrain than usual -and A-Basin among others (Loveland,Breck ) are doing very well considering how early it is.

Thanks

post #8 of 8

Aspen, Crested Butte and Telluride all had record seasons during 2007-08.   La Nina is not the only factor that affects snowfall.  If you correlate 100+ months of snowfall data to the monthly MEI index there is no meaningful relationship anywhere in Colorado except Steamboat. 

 

You need more data than the exercise I performed for Adventure Journal.  Therefore I only showed that info for areas where the correlations over 100+ months showed a strong relationship.   And even there I'm sure the effect is overstated for places like Mt. Baker that only have 3 seasons of data and one of them is off the charts.  I explicitly stated that 

Quote:
For those 6 areas the true expectation for 2010-11 snowfall is probably in the 130% range.

but of course they chose to leave that comment out.

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