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April 20, 2009

Almost 700" at Alta for the Season

Article from the SLC Tribune:

On March 21, Alta had received 445.5 inches of snow this season. None had fallen in the previous 11 days. But then the skies opened up. The 9.5 inches of snow recorded March 22 kicked off a 27-day period in which the resort had measurable snow on 20 days.

"We had a series of four to five storms that were almost carbon-copies of one another," said National Weather Service meteorologist Larry Dunn. "We got locked into a pattern and the same thing happened over and over."

Big troughs from the Pacific Ocean dropped into the Great Basin and closed off, dropping off of the main jet stream and circulating very slowly.

As a result, Dunn said, "a lot of times we get storms that last eight to 14 hours. These lasted for days. This last one arrived and here we are on Friday and it's still cold and cloudy with some showers over the mountains. Five days from just one storm. That is what is impressive about this four-week period."

There have been bigger snowfall months at Alta.

The resort received 244.5 inches in December of 1983 -- in the middle of Utah's two big flood years. And because this year's impressive total straddles two months, neither March nor April will surpass the 206 inches measured in November of 1994.

"But it's still a lot in a one-month period," Dunn said, noting that the storm cycle has benefited the whole state.

Now the downside:

Coming so late in the season, however, this abundance of snow is unlikely to yield great financial dividends for the state's ski industry, struggling like everyone else to survive the recession's bite.

I got to ski right at the start of the massive storms but got epic pow for March. Too bad the storms all stayed North and Brian Head only received 250" or thereabouts this season.

Posted by Justin at April 20, 2009 10:25 AM