By Mountain Mama \ April 7 2010
I've lived in Utah long enough to know we rarely if ever finish a ski season with low snow. Now this year, it has been slow to come and some have complained. Come on...even a below snow year in Utah is high in most other areas. Such is the story of the last week. I'm going to use the stats at Alta. As of March 30th, we were at 396" for the season. That is slightly below the 500" per year, but still...that's a lot of snow. Then...Ma Nature changes it up....the jet stream shifts north from it's El Nino position of being south all season. Just like that, 2 huge storms blow in in the classic winter pattern...north flow, big low overhead, lake effect happens and just like that... we're at 493" at Alta for the season! Let's do the math....almost 100" with 2 storms, 7 days!! Yep, welcome to Utah. That is why it is known for the Greatest Snow on Earth. We get all the right ingredients together in a classic storm, which does happen quite a bit each winter, and we throw in the fairly warm waters of the Great Salt Lake...the snow is big. Oftentimes, March into April bring big storms (like this winter) and the skiing is some of the best all winter.
Lesson learned here...in Utah, the big snow always comes, maybe just not always on our time frame.
I can attest to the big storms this past week. I've said before, I am not a strong skier; but, if there's powder I'll be a little braver. So..Emily and I headed to Snowbird with a classmate of hers and his Mom. It is snowing sideways and the road is tricky, but hey..we live for this. Emily is a little unsure, but I tell her "it'll be fun, there will be deep powder and if you fall, it won't hurt". OK, let's remember if you're 3' tall and so is the snow, maybe not quite as exciting. Our friends decide to head up the tram at Snowbird. Now, at the top you're at 11,000' and it is a long way down. I've only skiied this a couple times myself and I'm taking Emily. The good thing is, the 4 year olds are fine...me, a bit worried. There are a few falls and the snow is heavy, but it was a great experience and I am so proud of Emily for making it down. It was a one run day for us, but another great memory. I think Em prefers a little less snow... Me, I take in storm #2 at Brighton with waist deep snow. Em decides her legs are too pooped from the first storm. (It's been 5 days, but I think she made her point). I can honestly say, the best day of the season and possibly 2 seasons.
It pays to be patient, as I've said before "if you build it, it will come".
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