I am currently at 38,300 feet on a Virgin America flight from Boston to San Francisco, and taking advantage of the new WiFi service sponsored by Google. It’s fantastic. We just passed over what I believe to be northern Utah/southern Idaho, without a could in the sky. Naturally, my face is glued to the window witnessing a spectacular site of endless snow-topped mountains. The terrain appears to be browner/greener than I would have expected for this time of year, but I guess the west hasn’t had the big dumps yet that it needs to completely cover the mountains and valleys.
With Google at my fingertips I thought it would be interesting to compare the average snowfall of the western resorts to a few back east. It’s interesting that Colorado resorts (Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, etc) average around 350 inches of snowfall per year, where Utah resorts are considerably north of that. Alta, reaching 500 inches per year, on average!! Surprisingly, Jay Peak averages 355 inches per year, topping Aspen and practically matching Vail! In comparison, us east coast skiers are much more used to the likes of Sunday River, averaging 155 inches per year… sorry Sunday River, snow guns don’t count.
The only resort to top Alta is a lesser known place called Mt. Baker, in Washington. The mountain is actually an inactive volcano, known as the “Undisputed King of Accumulation” — reaching 644 inches / year on average… and averaging 4.5 inches per day in December and January . Wow! Let’s hope the slow start to this season picks up quickly en route to new records this season!