Snow Totals for Mid-Atlantic Ski Areas
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The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 26, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
Resort Snow Avg %

Timberline 147.4 150" 98%
Canaan 147.1 150" 98%
Snowshoe 116.5 180" 65%
Wisp 86 100" 86%
Winterplace 63 100" 63%
Ski Beech 38 80" 48%
Sugar Mtn 35 78" 45%
Hawksnest 35 65" 54%
Wolf Ridge 32 65" 49%
Cataloochee 26 40" 65%
Ober Gatl. 17.5 35" 50%
Appalachian 17 50" 34%
Massanutten 11 35" 32%
Bryce 8 30" 27%
Wintergreen 7 34" 21%
Sapphire 4 30" 13%
Homestead 0 35" 0%

Region Total 790.5 1257" 63%

The above data is from http://www.skisoutheast.com/article.php?...ax&article=2207
and is about a week old. Very few resorts even came close to their average amount of annual snowfall. And, frankly, I have my suspecions about the Timberline totals.
Visit the http://www.skisoutheast.com site for a lot of interesting info.
The Colonel \:\)
EDIT ADD:
Note this from SkiSoutheast today just a couple days ago:
"Last week, after we posted the season snowfall totals he (Greg Dobson Environmental Scientist) wrote us this very interesting bit of data about Snowshoe Mountain's snow totals.
"Mike, Great comments (on our story) ...I was noticing on the NWS Charleston WV page that they are actually showing more snowfall for the Coop station located at Snowshoe (133.3) than Snowshoe themselves are reporting (116)!
The Coop station is quality controlled and should be considered to be fairly accurate. It is the data that will get archived at NCDC. If this is the case, that would give Snowshoe an additional 15 inches, not a lot, but would certainly up their seasonal percentage of normal that you reported yesterday. Seems Snowshoe would want to report every inch they can!!
Thanks for that insight Greg and you're right!
According to the official reporting stations, Snowshoe has seen 134.3" of snow as compared to their reported 118". Hats off to Snowshoe for actually UNDER reporting.
In fact, according to the same reporting station, Snowshoe actually received 3" of snow as compared to the 1.5" in the last 24 hours that Laura and crew reported.

Now, when was the last time you saw a ski area underestimating the amount of snow received?!!!
The Colonel \:\)
David
March 26, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
 Originally Posted By: The Colonel
And, frankly, I have my suspecions about the Timberline totals.


Yeah, I wonder too. It is weird to see them that much higher than Snowshoe. It really has been an unusual year. Also, if you go by Timberline's website they are 51 inches below normal (they have picked up 2 since that survey was done & they say their average is 200" per year). That would put them around 75% of their "average"....




Please excuse all of my green arrows (I get a little carried away sometimes in paint). Oh yeah, the whale on OTW too....don't know how that got there????? \:\) \:\) \:\)
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 26, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
If one looks at the Tline website from the past years the average was close to 157". This year it changed dramatically. Not sure why, maybe inflation, maybe measuring at the mountain top, maybe they had 650" fall last year, increasing their ten year average by 50" per year.
The Colonel \:\)
David
March 26, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
 Originally Posted By: The Colonel
maybe they had 650" fall last year, increasing their ten year average by 50" per year.
The Colonel \:\)


Yeah, maybe they should list their standard deviation too: 200" +/- 55"
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The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 26, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
David,
Look at the additional edit info I placed in my original post.
Interesting!!
The Colonel
Tucker
March 26, 2008
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 26, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
I am not sure what the elevation is at the official measuring station that Dave Lesher references, but regardless, the 63 year average of the figures shown is a bit less than 133 inches, and this includes snow from the months of Sept., Oct, all Nov. and April-May. Only three years in the last sixty-three have an annual snowfall exceeding 200 inches. Remove the Sep., Oct. and April-June numbers and the annual average falls below 100". Leave it to the little ski area that trys and tries to so greatly exceed known averages.
The Colonel \:\)
David
March 26, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
1995-96

Nov: 55.0
Dec: 43.2
Jan: 59.5
Feb: 42.0
Mar: 39.5
Apr: 20.0


Wow, check out November of '95. I was a little young to remember that year, but looks like an awesome year with 259".
skiTLINE
March 26, 2008
Member since 12/15/2004 🔗
230 posts
Timberline goes by the numbers of another site I found. Its a guy that has some sort of station setup which measures totals daily along with detailed temps etc. Their (TLine) numbers are identical to his totals.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 26, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
10 to 1 it is Dave Lesher, the CV and DCSki Valley Weatherman...the same person who posted the figures on which this thread was based?!!!
The Colonel \:\)
yellowsnow
March 26, 2008
Member since 12/15/2005 🔗
270 posts
Dave Lesher reports at elevation 3715'.
skier219
March 26, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
I did see in a recent e-mail from SS that a math error was the cause for their under-reporting, and they are showing 127" now. A bit closer to the NWS number.

According to the NWS, Snowshoe's 1975-2001 seasonal average snowfall is 157.6".
Snowflake
March 27, 2008
Member since 02/7/2008 🔗
11 posts
 Originally Posted By: skier219
I did see in a recent e-mail from SS that a math error was the cause for their under-reporting, and they are showing 127" now. A bit closer to the NWS number.

According to the NWS, Snowshoe's 1975-2001 seasonal average snowfall is 157.6".


I have said that they have been under-reporting all year. One Storm, I know Snowshoe received 23 inches at least; only 17 was reported.
skiTLINE
March 27, 2008
Member since 12/15/2004 🔗
230 posts
Heres the link of what i was talking about. Pretty damned detailed.

http://canaanweather.4t.com/
skier219
March 27, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
I guess the next question re: Snowshoe -- where is their official snow stake? I know when I have been there during big storms, the totals vary all over the mountain. Basin side can easily get double or triple what Western Territory gets. And on the basin side it varies too. I would be curious to know where the official snow stake is.
Snowflake
March 27, 2008
Member since 02/7/2008 🔗
11 posts
 Originally Posted By: skier219
I guess the next question re: Snowshoe -- where is their official snow stake? I know when I have been there during big storms, the totals vary all over the mountain. Basin side can easily get double or triple what Western Territory gets. And on the basin side it varies too. I would be curious to know where the official snow stake is.


I may be mistaken, but I am quite sure in saying that it is across the road from Wildcat Provisions; right outside of the Village. It is extremely hard to gauge how much snow the resort actually gets because of drift. The Western Territory gets the brunt of the wind, sending the snow into oblivion. The same goes for the rest of the mountain. I've found the best place to measure snowfall is behind North mountain condos; Ridgewood/Mountain Crest and Powderridge. These condo's block the western wind better than other places.

Hope that helps a little..
jonjon1
March 28, 2008
Member since 09/11/2006 🔗
187 posts
I'm confident that Canaan is snowier than Snowshoe.

Last year Canaan had over 50" more than Snowhoe, so it shouldn't surprise some of you that Canaan is again reporting a snowier season. You have to remember that historical Canaan data is derived from valley floor observations of somewhere around 3200'. I think that the current observer in Canaan reports high but I think the reports from Canaan Heights (Dave Lesher) are very accurate.

Nevertheless, even if you take the Canaan Heights obs which are at approximately 3700', you are still underobserving the amount which would be falling at the summits over 500' higher.

Also, Canaan's statistics go back a lot further than Snowshoe's, and I believe this would skew Canaan's average down as it has only been in the last couple of decades, from what I understand, that the current standards of official snow measuring have been in place (measuring on a snow board every six hours) which makes for much higher measurments than the old days in which they would just measure how much was on the ground after a storm.

My gut estimates of annual snowfall are Snowshoe -- 160", Canaan Heights -- 175", Timberline & Canaan Summits -- 200", Davis and Canaan Valley floor -- 145".

P.S. I've measured 127.5" so far here in Davis this season.
Murphy
March 28, 2008
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
 Originally Posted By: jonjon1
I'm confident that Canaan is snowier than Snowshoe.

Last year Canaan had over 50" more than Snowhoe, so it shouldn't surprise some of you that Canaan is again reporting a snowier season.


This is definitely true in La Nina years when a lot of our moisture comes from the Gulf and may be more likely to be rain at Snowshoe. In more traditional years when the flow is more likely to come from the NW I'm not sure there's much difference between Snowshoe and the highest elevations of the Canaan area.
jonjon1
March 28, 2008
Member since 09/11/2006 🔗
187 posts
 Originally Posted By: Murphy
 Originally Posted By: jonjon1
I'm confident that Canaan is snowier than Snowshoe.

Last year Canaan had over 50" more than Snowhoe, so it shouldn't surprise some of you that Canaan is again reporting a snowier season.


This is definitely true in La Nina years when a lot of our moisture comes from the Gulf and may be more likely to be rain at Snowshoe. In more traditional years when the flow is more likely to come from the NW I'm not sure there's much difference between Snowshoe and the highest elevations of the Canaan area.


Last year was a strong NW flow season from mid January on -- and there was a substantial difference in favor of Canaan.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 28, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
OK...let's get serious.
Anybody know the Snowshoe average since first opened? I think it is posted on their website. Whatever it is, if the folks that take the measurements are like those this year, we already know they measure low!
I just averaged Dave Lesher's snow figures for Canaan, using only the months of Nov-March...the others have no real impact on skiing, and adding all of Nov is misleading since many early month snows melt before the resorts in CV open.
Anyway, my calculations are 148" for the last three years, considerably less than the 200" many-more-years avg that TLine now quotes.
I bet the Snowshoe average for the last 30 years is greater than that of the Valley.
Snowshoe is not that many air miles from CV, is nearly 15% higher in altitude and thus colder temps, etc.
The Colonel \:\)
The Colonel
fishnski
March 28, 2008
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
CANAAN VALLEY RULES!!!! MPC is the snowiest place south of north/central,Vt!!!...
Colonel..you underestimate the value of Latitude in this part of the country. It could be 28 degrees at Seven Springs & 40 at the valley. I have studied this for a long time & have found the mason dixon line to really divide the north & south in more ways than 1.
Back in the winter of 95/96 there was a lift operator at the top of TL who recorded 320 inches!!!..I fell up to my chest in snow taking an intoxicational cigerate break off a trail near the top!

Anyway Snow Shmo...The Colonel is about ready to join the 1000 post crowd...Where are you now..998..999? Can you respond Sir??!!!...For he's a jolly good fellow..Sing along DCSKI!!!
skier219
March 28, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Snowshoe quotes 180" average on their website (though they don't say what raw data that's based on). That's a bit higher than the NWS number of 158", but a 22" difference is not a lot for that mountain if the snow stakes are in different places.

I was interested to learn that Alta has reported over 100" more seasonal snowfall than Snowbird right next door, but it turns out that Alta uses a year-to-date number and Snowbird begins counting when the lifts start to turn for the season. Both have their merits; I think the Alta number is more indicative of the open skiable terrain. I can see how it would be odd to ski Snowbird on opening day with natural snow on the ground and 0" total reported...

jonjon1
March 28, 2008
Member since 09/11/2006 🔗
187 posts
C'mon Colonel, you're doing some crafting here.

Why narrow seasonal snowfall to ski season? That only confuses the issue and wouldn't vary significantly from one ski area to the other. Yes snow falls outside of ski season, but I'm not aware of any areas listing their seasonal ski season snowfall.

As I estimated, the seasonal snowfall for Snowshoe is higher than Canaan Valley (albeit a minor difference) but you are comparing the summit of one ski resort to the base of the other. Summit to summit or base to base Canaan wins hands down (where the hell is Andy??). In order to simplify, Snowshoe measures at the top, Canaan measures at the bottom. Even going by Dave Lesher's stats you are only measuring half way up at Canaan.

Even if you go by the Coop at Snowshoe they are behind the Coop at Canaan 1000' lower.

The Summit at Snowshoe is approximately 500' higher, but it is further south and has the disadvantage of having the highlands of Kumbrabow to its northwest which steals an amazing amount of moisture -- this geographic variable is underestimated by most.

I'm not putting down Snowshoe. They still get good snow. But if you look blindly at stats you will fool yourself into believing something that is not true.
Murphy
March 28, 2008
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
Just because the numbers come from the NWS doesn't mean they are more accurate than the ski resorts numbers. For some reasons, stations just don't report on some days. For example, the Snowshoe station missed 9 days between January and Febuary last winter, 16 the winter before. Their policy is to not count any year in their average that has a single month with more than 5 days missing. Maybe Jon know more about why this is.
Tucker
March 29, 2008
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
It really doesn't matter who gets more snow. I've said it before but I'll say it again...at the lift served ski resorts around here it really doesn't matter how much pow we get because they groom all the powder flat every single time it snows...sometimes because customers who can't ski powder whine to management(like bumps and whales) but mostly because management doesn't consider what skiers want in terrain.

You could argue that it is a different story for backcountry cross skiers, skiing off-piste of groomed runs at lift service areas, and for nordic centers without snowmaking. But as this season, or so I hear, has proved the snowfall is one variable but sustained cold temperatures is the crucial component.

If it snow two feet over two or three days and then gets up to 40-50 degrees and rains for a week after that you might as well start your snowfall total for the season back at zero.

In my opinion reports from resorts for snowfall(if they want to be truthful) should be triangulated and come from midmountain locations. I also believe resorts should count their trails based on getting on the lift to getting back to the lift being 1 trail. But we all know both those things will never happen.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 29, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
Actually some of these things do happen now. The "Snow Stake" at Alta is at mid mountain. The sophisticated electronic televised "snow measuring device" at Snowbird in not on the mountaintop, but rather in the Gad Valley area. One variable this thread has exposed is the method used to measure total snowfall. Some resorts apparently measure from the first flakes of the upcoming winter, while others apparently measure based on snowfall after the lifts open. Both methods have problems: For resorts that must rely on snowmaking the amount of snow in Sept, Oct, May, and nearly all of April is not relevant since it has long melted when the resort opens. And if a resort that has minimal snowmaking and relies on natural snow, like most Western high altitude alpine areas, starting the snow count on day 1 of ops makes no sense since the ground would be bare on day 1, and thus no ops. I really like the way Tucker approaches this issue. I believe the most important "snow" measurement for mid Atlantic resorts is hours of potential snowmaking (and even this has humidity and wind variables). Natural snow is a joyful addition to the mid Atlantic ski scene providing rare powder skiing opportunities while surrounding the wooded areas with true "icing on the cake".
How to measure natural snowfall against a resort's capability to provide a first class on-slope experience....a real conundrum!
The Colonel \:\)
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