SnoCast: Top Season Snow Total Round-Up

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How is it already time for the final SnoCast of the season?! What a wild winter it’s been. From record snow out West, to the slow onset and sweet finish out East. From capturing those final buttery, spring turns, to pushing back closing dates. This winter will be one to remember. 

In this week's SnoCast, we’ll look back on the winter season recapping some of the highest ski area snow totals and best storms of the season. Here’s the final SnoCast of the 2022-23 winter season!

 

 

Winter Summary

This winter was third consecutive season to be influenced by La Niña, which often brings a colder and stormier pattern across the northern tier of the U.S. and parts of Canada. But this season, the typical pattern was shifted a hair, with the storm track shifted slightly farther west and south from what we would expect.

Thus, we saw a cold and snowy pattern across most of the Southwest U.S., cold but near average precipitation in the Northwest, a mild Midwest with localized lake-effect booms, a warm and wetter than average Northeast and Southeast. In the ultimate "how it started>how it's going" comparison, the images below summarize how the winter was forecast to be by NOAA, versus how it actually panned out. You can read the full NOAA winter forecast verification blog with more details. 

Top Snow Amounts

Since this winter pattern favored a super-charged storm pattern and cold across the southwest U.S., this is where we saw some of the highest totals.  California and Utah won’t soon forget this season, with numerous all-time season snow records set at ski areas. 

While not a comprehensive (nor final) list with ski season and new snow still ongoing, here's a summary of some top snow reports from this season as of April 5, 2023.   

Mammoth Mountain, CA: 704” mid lodge, peak 882” (a new record, picture (right). For perspective, the mountain averages ~400" each season)

Brighton, UT: 848” (new record)

Alta, UT: 874” (new record)

Snowbird, UT: 808”(new record)

Solitude, UT: 779” (new record)

Sugar Bowl, CA: 768” (not a record, but still a lot. Even more impressive, the base depth in early April is over 20 feet on parts of the mountain)

Many of these ski areas have had too much snow at times, causing a halt in operations to dig out or conduct avalanche mitigation. Such is the case in Utah right now, but thankfully, you can still take advantage of the snow soon. Check out our story about extended closing date for many Utah mountains, thanks to abundant snow.   

Stormy West

Beyond the record setters, we saw a colder than average winter for much of the West, helping boost snow totals. While not a comprehensive list, here are some runner-ups on impressive amounts. You can take a look at your nearest ski area or region on the SnoCountry conditions tab from the homepage.

Timberline, OR: 608” (top in Oregon)

Jackson Hole, WY: 591" (top in WY)

Summit at Snoqualmie Alpental, WA: 520”

Wolf Creek, CO: 490” (top in Colorado)

Powder King, BC: 477” (top in British Columbia)

Lookout Pass, ID: 448”

Mt Bachelor, OR: 438”

Arizona Snowbowl, AZ: 398" (still with a 10-foot base depth in April!)

Purgatory, CO: 374”

These totals really helped out the water basins with impressive snow-water equivalent tallies. Parts of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and California are running more than 150% of normal...GREAT news to put a dent in the ongoing drought.   

 

East

Okay, okay. We get it. The West had a banner year. The West is a lot higher in elevation and has a drier climate, so naturally there's more snow than the lower and more humid East, but that doesn't mean there wasn't some great skiing this season. You just had to know where to look!

Pockets of the Great Lakes region and New England had some incredible days. While the majority of winter was warmer than average, we saw one-off snow storms and lake effect influence to boost totals and bring huge powder days. In all, the East did have a below average snow season up until January, but turned around late in the season boosting snow cover in February and March. 

Here were some top totals of remaining open ski areas by state across the Northeast:

Jay Peak, VT: 349" (top tally in the East. Photo on the right from the March 14 powder day)

Mt. Bohemia, MI: 232"

Sugarloaf, ME: 171"

Bretton Woods, NH: 148"

See who's still open in the Northeast, Midwest (yes, there are a few!), and Quebec.

And while we don't want to leave out the Southeast, we've definitely had stronger seasons. Warm and wet weather dominated this year, causing much below average snow amounts. But like the rest of the East, we found some sweet times.

The season lasted a total of 138 days (38% of the year!) from start to finish: Sugar Mountain Resort and Cataloochee Ski Area (both in North Carolina) opened on November 14, 2022 and Snowshoe Mountain Resort closed it all up on Sunday, April 2.  The top ski area total went to Canaan Valley, WV with a total of 62.4", which fell short of the annual average of roughly 150". 

The Real Apres-Ski

With that, it's "apres-ski time" for me and SnoCast. I hope you have loved reading my weekly forecast updates and took advantage of new snow and amazing conditions on the slopes. 'Til next season, enjoy what's left out there, and have an amazing off season. Hope to see you again next fall when the flakes start flying again. 

-Meteorologist Kerrin Jeromin

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A fresh 8 inches of snow at Red River in New Mexico (RedRiver/Twitter)

It's a new year, but the same story continues across the West as atmospheric rivers yield feet of more snow and create blizzard-like conditions!

Western U.S. & Canada

Bomb cyclone. Atmospheric river. You’ve heard the terms before and these significant weather events kick off our first SnoCast of 2023. A storm (that has already “bombed” out over the Pacific Ocean) will be ongoing in California’s Sierra Nevada Thursday. Strong winds up to 100 miles per hour, along with snow rates of 3"/hr, will continue through Friday morning. In total, 1-2 feet of snow will be likely above 5,000 feet elevation and 2-3 feet above 6,500’. Road closures and the halting of lift operations will be likely, so be patient when going to ski and ride this snow! 

The aforementioned California storm will scoot across Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming Friday dropping 3-6” of snow. Then this weekend, another coastal California storm will arrive and bring another 1-3 feet to the central and northern Sierra Nevada. Many of these weather systems will impact Cali-Nevada, with lighter snow falling in surrounding areas.

The incoming West snow will fall atop amounts up to 40-50" in the past week in California, and on 40-70" across the Rockies. Always check the avalanche forecast and exercise extreme caution!

Eastern U.S. & Canada

Recent snow will end Thursday in the Upper Midwest, with totals from this event ranging between 4-8". A couple of weather systems bear watching across the East, one on Thursday-Friday and another on Saturday night. Both of these, as of this writing, will be lighter winter storms with 1-4 inches of snow possible through each event.

However, there’s a small potential for each of these to get a little stronger and gather more moisture to drop a few more inches than just “freshies.” Nonetheless, Maine will get 1-4” of snow Thursday-Friday, while the mid-Atlantic could get a swipe of that 1-3” Saturday night. Otherwise temperatures will continue to stay mild, trending colder on Tuesday.

Read our holiday SnoCast next week as we highlight the snow you can expect for the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend! Until then, happy skiing and riding!

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