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A Deep Dive Into A Deep Year

A Deep Dive Into A Deep Year

| 10 Comments | May 22nd, 2019 | By Adam Fehr


Unfortunately, it’s that time of year again. The lifts have stopped spinning and the flakes have stopped falling (well not really, but we stopped counting them). The Alta ski season concluded on April 26th with a (rare-for-this-season) bluebird spring day. We’ve spent the past month digging out, thawing out, and adjusting to life without skiing.

Now is the perfect time to reflect on the 2018-19 ski season—and what a season it was!

Alta’s opening day was all the way back on November 23rd, 2018. 153 ski days later, Alta concluded one of the busiest seasons on record. The main reason was the snow. So. Much. Snow.

Speaking of snow, let’s dive into some jaw-dropping snowfall stats from this past season. Between October 1 and April 30th, Alta recorded 626” of snow at the Collins Mid-Mountain Study Plot. That’s 52.17 feet! The same height as Utah’s famous Delicate Arch, the one on the Utah license plate.

With a 38-year average of 545 inches of snowfall, that’s exactly 81” of snow above average for our 81st season. Thanks, Ullr and Alf Engen.

The season started strong out of the gates, surpassing 100” of snow on December 2nd. The snow gods continued to deliver just in time for the holiday season. A Christmas Miracle storm delivered four feet of snow between the Winter Solstice and Christmas Day, putting the snowpack in a great position to end 2018.

Dash Longe enjoys some DeepCember powderDash Longe dives into a bluebird powder day in December Photo: Rocko Menzyk

The new year started with a bang and didn’t let up. January saw 105.5” of snow, including an incredible storm cycle that delivered 7 Feet in 10 Days. Almost two feet of snow fell MLK Day alone.

Madison Ostergren reemerges from February snow

Madison Rose Ostergren emerges from two feet of January powder Photo: Rocko Menzyk

Fortunately, February brought little reprieve from the snow as131” fell during the 28 days of February. That’s almost five inches of new snow every day! Super Bowl Sunday ushered in a winter storm that dropped 60 Inches in 100 Hours. No contest at all: Alta locals chose powder over the Super Bowl.

The Kodiak Blower doing it's best to keep upThe Kodiak Blower doing it's best to keep up with 131" of February snow Photo: Rocko Menzyk

Believe it or not, the best was yet to come. Alta received 135.5” of new snow in March, the snowiest March in the past decade. Alta recorded at least 100” of snow in each of the first three months of the year—January, February and March. And just for good measure, April added another seven feet of snow, pushing Alta well beyond the 38-year seasonal snowfall average of 545".

Alta GM Mike Maughan dives into a March powder dayAlta GM Mike Maughan buried in 20+ inches of March pow Photo: Rocko Menzyk

The snow hasn’t stopped, but Alta’s seasonal snowfall is only recorded until the last day of April, bringing the season total to 626” of snow. Thus making the 2018-19 season the second-snowiest in the past decade!

It was a good year, to say the least.

Ok, let’s geek out on some annual snowfall comparisons in relation to the 626” 2018-19 season.

  • 115% of 38-year snowfall average (545”)
  • 131% of 9-year snowfall average (476”)

This year helped increase Alta's 39-year average by two inches, from 545" to 547", while also increasing Alta's 9-year average snowfall from 476" to a 10-year average of 491".

Digging a little deeper, we find some extraordinary numbers in regards to frequency of snowfall.

  • 153 total ski days during the 2018-19 ski season
  • 90 days of at least a trace of new snow = 58.8% of all ski days
  • 80 days of at least an inch of new snow = 52.3% of all ski days
  • 53 days of 3 inches or more of new snow = 34.6% of all ski days
  • 41 days of six inches or more of new snow = 26.8% of all ski days
  • 21 days of 10+ inches of new snow = 13.7% of all ski days*
  • 7 days had 20+ inches of snow of new snow = 4.5% of all ski days

*Statistically speaking, if you were here for one week you would have enjoyed a 10+ inch powder day! One out of every 21 days received 20+ inches in 24 hours. 

In other words, it snowed often and it snowed a lot. Don't believe in statistics? Here are some photos to prove it.

Welcome to Alta, if you can find it 

 

 

What was your favorite day of the season? Leave a comment.

May 29, 2019 Update:

It has snowed another 40+ inches in May, one of the wettest Mays in Utah history. Alta is currently approaching almost 700" of snow since October. What a year!


Posted in: #Snow


  
Patt Rodgers May 23, 2019 Reply to Post

Always loved Alta...taught my grown son to ski there. Thank you for this beautiful "close by" resort.

Matthew Mortensen May 23, 2019 Reply to Post

Thank you so much for this year review, It was such a fun wonderful season! Can't wait for this December!

WillT May 23, 2019 Reply to Post

Road-tripped from north ID. April 10 was good and the 11th better. Thanks, Alta!

Jason P May 23, 2019 Reply to Post

Only was able to get out west from NYC once this season. Came in early March and it was raining everywhere but Alta. Got 8 inches throughout the day for the usual amazing experience....

Rich from Austin May 23, 2019 Reply to Post

I was lucky enough to get me some of that this year!!!
I brought my 16 year old son our with me to learn enable why this place is so special.
And yeah, we did have an out of the ordinary adventure. Including getting snowed in, stuck in the parking lot with about 3' of snow all around, and stuck with a rental car that they "told us" was 4 wheel drive. Sheriff dude helped get us rolling, but we had to climb that sick hill outta that cool parking lot, crossing our fingers and somehow knowing it'll be alright. Good times! LOVE Alta!!!!!

Peter May May 23, 2019 Reply to Post

My first visit to ski at Alta in February 2019. We never get snow like this in Australia. This would have to be my best skiing experience in 40 years of holidays in the snow. The powder was awesome. Beats Japan. Beats New Zealand. I'll be back, with friends !

Tom May 24, 2019 Reply to Post

For me the word for this season was “overperform“. Not only did we get amazing snow and lots of it, nearly every storm forecast was exceeded (sometimes double). Add to that several of the best storm skiing days in recent history, makes me giddy just to remember it all

Tom May 24, 2019 Reply to Post

If I had to use one word to describe the season it would be “overperform”. Not only did we have amazing snow throughout the entire season, every storm consistently outperformed whatever forecast had been predicted... sometimes by 100% or more. And some of the best storms skiing days in memory. Definitely one for the record books.

Chuck May 30, 2019 Reply to Post

We were there March 8th to March 15th and it was incredible!!! I will definitely be back next season! Such an incredible place.

Brett Webber June 3, 2019 Reply to Post

Was glad to be there for my first INTERLODGE LOCKDOWN and being kicked off the hill!!
See ya next session!!

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