January 31st actually marked the mid-point of the 159-day ski season of 2013-14 and, as I usually like to present at this time of the year, here’s a quick mid-season snow report for your reading pleasure.
Let’s start with recent snowfall: over 7 feet for the month of January, 42 inches in the last 6 days (1/28-2/2). This followed a barren 11-day stretch when we only got ½ inch. However, season-to-date total now stands at 206.5 inches. To put into perspective how good conditions are this year – and how bad they were 2 seasons ago – this total has already surpassed the 2011-12 season total of 189.6 inches.
Some long-time locals who skied over the 6-day stretch referred to above have called the conditions “best ever”. That’s a pretty lofty statement. I’ve had many fantastic days on the mountain in the 23 years I’ve lived here and to be able to pinpoint a “best ever” is impossible in my opinion. However it does give an indication of how good things are right now on the mountain. And according to the short-range snow forecast, it’s not going to let up either. We could get anywhere from 9 to 20 inches over the next 5 days according to Snowforecast.com.
While it’s usually an “end-of-season-thing” to compare final season total snowfall to our 10-year average, I like to see what we’re shooting for in order to see that average go up. Our “target”, if you like, is 326 inches which is the Actual average for the seasons of 2003-4 through 2012-13. However, it’s not just this season’s total of course that will change the 10-year average up or down – it’s the total for the year that will be “dropping off”. In 2003-4, the ski area reported 268.7 inches, which is only 74.6% of the 10-year average. When this season’s total is made official, 268.7 inches will drop off and 2013-14 will be added. And with the weather pattern we’ve been having, I think it’s a fairly safe bet that we’ll get more than 62.2 inches in the remaining 77 days of the season. After all, it is the “Season of The Seven” if you’ve noticed the resort’s key marketing strategy this season.
And to add credence (or not) to this prediction, even the Groundhog is predicting 6 more weeks of winter. I promised myself not to mention Phil this year but I couldn’t resist. There’s a catch however. Apparently AccuWeather.com half agrees and half disagrees with the Groundhog – calling for a 50/50 split in winter and spring conditions in the U.S. in the coming weeks. Winter will not loosen its harsh grip over the North, it forecasts, while spring will come early in the South. If you look at their map for the country, it’s actually the south-west quadrant – including Colorado – which indicates it will be “dry and warm by March”. So – take your pick. It’s been bitterly cold – “piercingly cold” (if you remember the Farmer’s Almanac prediction) – this winter, so a dry and warm March might be welcome for many.