#Snowpack news: Nice bump for the statewide total through yesterday morning, sorry S.W. #Colorado

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map December 25, 2017 via the NRCS.

From The Crested Butte News (Aimee Eaton):

According to Open Snow’s Joel Gratz, five of the past 36 seasons had a snowpack within 25 percent of this season as of November 30. The snowpack during three of those five seasons ultimately went well above average, and December was a big month during two of those three seasons. Gratz added, “This year is low, but eight other years were as low or lower with snowfall from October 1 through December 17.”

Gratz’s summary? There’s still time for a big season. “Two of those eight years had near-average snow for the rest of the season, three years had a lot of missing data, and the other three years had 50 to 70 percent of average snowfall for the rest of the season.”

The lowest snow year on record for Crested Butte was 1976-1977, when town records reported a total of 61 inches falling, and December totals topped out at 2.8 inches. No snow was recorded in either January or February. For this year, Open Snow is reporting two inches so far in December, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort is stating 28 inches for the season.

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

How dry has this December been so far? The snow measuring stake managed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service on the west summit of Rabbit Ears Pass reported 13 inches of standing snow on the ground Nov. 23, which settled to 12 inches as of Dec. 1. And although Rabbit Ears saw snowfalls of 1 to 2 inches Dec. 5, 6, 8 and 10, and a nice 4 inches Dec. 19, the snow on the ground had settled to a 16-inch snowpack again by Dec. 21.

Steamboat Resort archives reflect that the month of December has been very kind to skiers over the past five ski seasons; December 2016 produced 89.25 inches at mid-mountain, and December 2015 was a banner month with 101 inches. December snowfall in 2014 and 2013 was 56.3 and 60.25 respectively. But December 2012 was another triple digit month with 105.25 inches.

The last time Steamboat endured scarce December snowfall like this month was in 2011, when just 24.5 inches accumulated during the first full month of the ski season.

The 20-year average December snowfall at mid-mountain is 71.64 inches, according to Ski Corp. records.

If you’re curious, the all-time record for full-season snowfall is the 489 inches recorded in the winter of 2007/2008. And the single-month record is the 216.5 that fell in January 1996.

From Steamboat Today:

At mid-afternoon [December 23, 2017], Steamboat Ski Area was reporting 10.5 inches of fresh snow in the previous 24 hours, but most of that had accumulated since dawn. And at 4:30 p.m., very thick snow had been falling for two-and-a-half hours, with no sign of it letting up.

By late afternoon, the snowstorm was beginning to have an affect on a limited number of flights at the airport. Although United Airline’s flight 5794 from Los Angeles arrived ahead of schedule at 2:25 p.m., United’s flight 1199 from Houston, due in at 2:02 p.m., was diverted to Denver, according to tracker.flightview.com. The schedule showed the estimated arrival time for the Houston flight was re-scheduled for 6:42 p.m.

Statewide snowpack Basin High/Low graph December 24, 2017 via the NRCS.