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Fifth-snowiest January on record.

Discussion in 'Weather' started by ECS, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. ECS

    ECS Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    Powder lovers rejoice in fifth-snowiest January on record.
    By Michael Pearlman

    It’s come in small doses and large dumps. On some days it’s arrived wet and heavy, while at other times it’s fallen as some of the lightest, driest powder that Jackson Hole skiers will ever see.

    Most importantly for resort riders and backcountry enthusiasts, January’s snowfall has been relentless.

    From a 10-inch dump on New Year’s Day to the foot of fresh that skiers woke up to on Tuesday morning, powder junkies are running out of superlatives to describe the snowiest month of the century.

    Unofficial snowfall totals for January were 127 inches at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s 8,100-foot midmountain study station Tuesday morning, the most January snow the resort has received at that elevation since 1998 and the fifth-snowiest January since 1967. At the resort’s Raymer study plot at 9,300 feet, 144 inches of snow fell this month, the most January snow recorded at that location since 1999, when the resort received 169 inches.

    “The stoke factor has been through the roof in the Village so far this winter,” said skier Russell Austin as he stood on the tram dock at 7:15 a.m. on a recent powder day. “It’s amazing – people are just going off.”

    On Tuesday morning, the settled snow depth at midmountain was 100 inches, the first time since 1997 the resort has hit the 100-inch mark in January and only the fourth time since 1973 that January ended with a base deeper than 100 inches. The 38-year average snow depth at 8,100 feet is 75 inches.

    Since Oct. 1, 355 inches of snow have fallen at the 9,300-foot elevation in the Tetons, the most the Tetons have seen at the end of January in the past seven years. At the end of January 2005, 219 inches of snow had fallen, and the base depth at the Raymer plot was 60 inches. On April 17, 2005, the date the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center issued its final report last season, total snowfall was only 350 inches.

    Looking past the sheer quantity of snow, skiers have been lauding the quality and consistency of snowfall over the past month. Snowfall of at least one inch was recorded 23 of 31 days this month, and the cloud cover that has enveloped the Tetons for much of January has helped prevent damaging crusts from forming, preserving the quality of skiing.

    “The backcountry has been powder every time – you never have to go searching too far,” said skier Walker White.

    At the Mountain Resort, ski patrollers have been busy moving ropes and replacing closed signs with caution signs as steep cliff areas and rock-strewn chutes become pasted with snow. The hanging snowfields above Tensleep bowl have been opened for the first time in several seasons, the Expert Chutes more closely resemble a bowl, and pass holders are waiting expectantly for Ski Patrol to pull the rope on Alta Zero, the cliff-strewn area to the skiers’ left of Alta 1 chute that rarely opens.

    Adventurous skiers have kept themselves busy tackling steep lines in out-of-bounds areas such as Granite Canyon, where so much snow has fallen that landmarks have been buried and familiar lines become unrecognizable.

    “I had one of the best runs of my life on Sunday,” said Howard Henderson, who has been skiing in Granite Canyon for 26 years. “It’s never, ever been that deep back there. It’s deeper than it was in ’96 and ’86. You know you’re in the right place, but you hardly recognize anything. We’re stand-up skiing stuff that’s normally billy-goat skiing where you’re just quaking.”

    Since a massive avalanche claimed the life of Victor, Idaho, skier Laurel Dana on Jan. 5, little avalanche activity has been reported and backcountry stability has improved. A group of five skiers made a rare winter ski descent of the Grand Teton on Jan. 25, enjoying knee deep powder (see story on page 9C).

    “Any time you have consistent snowfall and consistent temperatures you’re going to have a stable snowpack, said mountain guide Tom Turiano. “When we had that wind just before that high pressure spell, it removed any of the most recent layers above 9,000 feet.”

    The regular snowfall has brought pass holders out in droves to the Mountain Resort, while word of the quality conditions has helped with spring bookings, resort spokeswoman Anna Olson said. On Sunday, the resort hosted more than 5,500 skiers – numbers typically associated with Christmas week – and Olson expects that January will break the resort’s record for skier days for the month,

    “The snow brings out the locals – every pass is being utilized, and everyone knows that it’s worth being out here every day,” Olson said. “We definitely have seen more destination visitors, and February and March are looking strong. March historically has filled in quite late, but because of the snow the bookings are coming in strong.”
  2. fulltiltwill

    fulltiltwill Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    At least some one is getting some snow. Out here just heard it has been the warmest Jan in 115 years.
  3. bgingras

    bgingras Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    fifth warmest here!
  4. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Second warmest here, by a whopping 1/2 degree!
  5. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    Warmest on record by 2deg.