This Winter has been very snowy! We have had a number of storms that stack up on after another and provide great conditions.
NOAA, at the beginning of the season, talked about cold weather and a little bit of snow for the early season. They also talked about regular snow through January and then tapering off to warmer trends for the rest of the Winter. They were right.
Early season, we had a number of snow events, but none were really, really big. Often snow would come in amounts up to six inches then move on. And, as typical with an exiting front, the temperatures got really, really cold. Once, my car registered -11 degrees. It was this cold for more than a week and has not returned.
Once living in temperatures this cold, a person gets to know that temperature as the definition of cold. Now, at the end of January, 10 degrees feels like it’s warm outside. A couple times this season when I was getting in my car early in the day, I thought it was about 10-15 degrees only to find out it was zero!
December had two really fun snow events. My favorite was five days long. Ullr blessed us with snow the entire time. If I remember right, it was three storms in a row and it didn’t stop snowing. There were periods where snow tapered off for hours only to start up again and bring fresh inches.
January brought several Champagne Powder days. A person could walk up to a snow covered car and blow on the top few inches. Poof! It would fly away without effort. Those days were great for skiing and riding. Snow would curl behind you and wisp away like fairy dust.
Now with February approaching, the number of Champagne Powder days is limited. It’s starting to warm up, like things do prior to Spring. Often we have many days of great skiing in February and the first few weeks look good for moisture and cool temperatures.
Our biggest conundrum for all season is how the snowpack has set up. Some areas of Steamboat have not opened up because of avalanche concerns. Though these areas have set up, the lower layers of the snow are volatile. In some places, the snow has melted away from the ground, making it easy to disturb. In two areas of the resort, the terrain did slide, and it broke at the ground and slid slabs into the areas down below. In the early season, two people were caught and found themselves relatively uninjured at the end of it all.
Overall, Winter has been Steamboat awesome. Many more days of snow are in the forecast and I am ready to ski as many of them as I can!