We’ll be straight with you: it has been an abnormally warm and dry winter in Utah. While Alta is blessed with predominately north-facing, high elevation terrain, which allows us to get the mountain open even in low-snow conditions, we just haven’t had consistent, stormy weeks and months like we usually do.
While November, December and January failed to deliver regular storms, February has been a different story. The month began with just 143 inches of cumulative snow for the season, a paltry statistic belied by Alta Ski Area’s consistent offering of skiing on the High Traverse, Ballroom and Baldy Shoulder, the Backside, and Devils Castle.
Then, the first week of the month featured several small, warmer snowfall events that freshened up the snow surface and signaled the arrival of a more active period of mountain weather. The tap remained on through the second week of the month, with colder air arriving in conjunction with several storms throughout the week, adding up to more than 30 inches during the week before Presidents Day. Most locals proclaimed Friday, February 16th the best day of the season, with skies dawning clear and a 19 inch storm total…only to retract those claims on Monday, when a classic cold storm, pounding the entire state with northwest winds and heavy snow, produced 24 inches of blower powder.
Weekend warriors got lucky once again the following weekend, with continued cold temperatures and two separate storms that produced 19 inches of snow between Friday and Monday. This storm cycle is not over: weather forecasters are calling for a “prolonged, complex” period of winter weather beginning on Friday, March 1st, with multiple low pressure systems impacting the state and several feet of snow possible for the upper elevations.
Will the storms keep rolling in after this weekend? How much will it snow in March, which is typically Alta’s snowiest month? Who knows; for now, it’s best to relish what has been a stellar few weeks, and make sure we’re ready to roll for a long weekend of storm skiing in Alta!