Snowpack news

A picture named nrcssnowpack01052010

From the Aspen Daily News (Brent Gardner-Smith):

The Natural Resources Conservation Service reported this week that as of Jan. 1, the snowpack in the Roaring Fork River basin was 87 percent of the 30-year average. The measurement pertains to “snow water equivalent,” which is the term the federal agency uses to describe the amount of snow on the ground. The last time the snowpack in the Roaring Fork basin was that low on Jan. 1 was during the drought eight years ago, when the snowpack on Jan. 1, 2002, was at 81 percent. This year’s local snowpack is 63 percent of the snowpack last year at this time. The Roaring Fork River basin is part of the larger Colorado River basin, which is now at 78 percent of average. It also hasn’t been that low in January since 2002. The statewide snowpack on Jan. 1 was 86 percent of average and has not been that low in January since 2003…

The Ivanhoe site near the top of the Fryingpan River basin is at 102 percent and is the only site in the Fryingpan basin that is above average. However, the Nast Lake site, which is well below the Ivanhoe site, is only at 46 percent of average. The McClure Pass site, located near the Pitkin County line with Gunnison County at the peak of Highway 133, is at 86 percent of average. And the North Lost Trail site, located just above Marble, is at 85 percent of average…

Another way to judge the snowpack this season is to compare the top depth of the Snowmass Ski Area. The 10-year average for Jan. 7 at the top of Snowmass is 51 inches. Yesterday, the base depth was at 47 inches. On Jan. 7, 2009, Snowmass had 53 inches on top. But on Jan. 7, 2008, there were 70 inches at Snowmass. That measurement was taken, you might fondly remember, after nine inches of snow fell on the morning of Jan. 7 and 18 inches had fallen on Jan. 6.