Record Early Skiing and Snow

Squaw Valley High Camp Camera

Squaw Valley High Camp Camera

Note: This ought to be a live camera shot so it will be dark at night in California some times. Right now it looks like it’s holding a shot from mid-day, so they may have learned that a black picture all night is not very interesting…

I’d wanted to make this posting last week, but time got away from me what with being The Cook for Thanksgiving. So here it is, a bit late to be ‘new news’ to everyone; but still worth noting.

There was a lot of snow in Colorado this fall. In all of the West for that matter. But this is just the start of the snow season. We have a lot more to come.

So how much was there?

From this November 17th article:

(I’ve bolded a few interesting bits ;-)

Snow Pummels Colorado Rockies Giving Skiers and Riders Epic Early Season Conditions
Breckenridge Resort Received More than Two Feet of Snow in the Past 48 Hours
Vail Mountain Opens Friday with More than 1150 Skiable Acres and Nine Lifts
Keystone Resort Opens the Outback Terrain Friday with 604 Skiable Acres

Video and additional photos available at
Photo Attached: A skier enjoys 20 inches of powder at Breckenridge Resort. Photo Credit: Vail Resorts

Breckenridge, Colo. – Nov. 17, 2010 –Thanks to the latest winter storm, ski season in Colorado Rockies is off to a record-setting start for resort terrain openings and epic early season skiing and riding conditions at Breckenridge and Keystone Resorts. Twenty inches fell last night at Breckenridge Resort and Keystone Resort received eight inches last night.

Vail Mountain opens Friday with more than 1150 acres and nine lifts on the front side of the mountain. Keystone Resort will also open The Outback terrain Friday—the earliest opening in the resort’s history— giving Keystone a total of 604 skiable acres.

Breckenridge Resort also opened the T-Bar lift on Peak 8 today which goes down in the record books as the earliest opening of the T-Bar in Breckenridge Resort history. Breckenridge also plans to open additional runs and the Rocky Mountain SuperChair on Friday giving the resort over 500 skiable acres. The 6 Chair should also be open by Saturday along with additional terrain.

Beaver Creek Resort opens on Nov. 24 and will be hosting its annual cookie competition. Visit or to find out the latest information on terrain for Beaver Creek’s opening day.

Heavenly Resort and Northstar-at-Tahoe are both scheduled to open on November 19. For more information on terrain openings visit or

For the last two (Heavenly and Northstar) I have some personal experience. It’s always a bit of a ‘hope and wait’ about Thanksgiving skiing. An on again off again hope that maybe this year we’ll have an opening by Thanksgiving. It’s often been after Thanksgiving that there was snow to ski.

But this year? We’re open in ‘the teens’ of November.

Yeah, that’s a bit ‘special’. And last year we had a very late close. (As I’d posted at the time).

The point? Yeah, it’s a ‘weather is not climate’ moment, but it’s also a “this is not the Global Warming I was promised” moment too.

We’re supposed to be having record heat, loss of snow, later start to winters and earlier summers. What we’ve got is a record early open with snow heavy enough to ski upon, after a very late close of skiing last year. Gee, it seems like it was only last June, just 5 months ago…

Oh wait, it was… And don’t forget that we had snow in the first week of October in California, just not enough to ski. So we’re not that many months of “no snow” each year. Expect those glaciers to start growing a bit more this year…

So that makes it what, July August and September without snow? … In California? … This is “warming”?

Colorado Ski Cam:

Vail Eagles Nest / Holy Cross Cam

Vail Eagles Nest / Holy Cross Cam

St. Moritz Swiss Ski Cam:

St. Moritz Ski Cam

St. Moritz Ski Cam

Update 27 Nov 2010

In comments, Pascvaks had a pointer to this interesting chart (along with a bunch of others). Notice that the snow mostly ends at the ‘green line’ of the historic range… which is mostly the coastline of the northern area. (Not a lot of snow sticks on the ocean…)

Interesting to me is that, as I post this, the USA is ‘coloring outside the lines’ and the only place that looks significantly low on snow is near the Ukraine / Belarus. I don’t know the update frequency of this map, so it may change at unanticipated times.

NCEP / NCAR Snowcover map

NCEP / NCAR Snowcover map

Interesting to note that Minsk, Belarus is forecast as 30% chance of precipitation with a high of 24 F / -4 C and a low of 17 F / -8 C so that’s going to be snow…,%20belarus&wuSelect=WEATHER#History


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in AGW and Weather News Events and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Record Early Skiing and Snow

  1. boballab says:

    What’s amazing is when you combine all these record early openings with this past summers record late closing of ski resorts and somehow it is suppose to be the hottest year on record?

    Example of this is that Mt. Hood was still open to skiing when I was there on June 4th and they had no plans to close until another two weeks and they opened for skiing just before Halloween.

  2. Viv Evans says:

    You’re not alone in having early snow:

    ‘The UK has seen the earliest widespread snowfall for 17 years and forecasters say it could last for two weeks.

    One of the coldest place overnight on Friday was Trawscoed, in west Wales, where -10.2C (14F) was recorded. Dalwhinnie, in the Highlands, recorded -8.2C (17F), and Chesham, in Buckinghamshire, -7C (19F).’


    It looks nice, from inside a warm room, but the pretty white stuff on the ground is not fluffy. There’s ice on top, just like last year.

    Personally, I blame all those warmist junkets – Cancun this time, Copenhagen last year. If they’d all stayed at home we’d have less cold, I’m certain!


  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @boballab: well, maybe the thermometers are in a snow cave to stay warm ;-)

    Or, just think, only 3 more months of snow each year and we can start the negative albedo feedback into the next ice age…

    I wonder if that ought to get a ;-) or a 8-(

    @Viv Evans:

    Yes, and last year we had an especially cold South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia at the start of their winter too.

    When reality is divergent from your statistical results, it’s time to suspect faulty mathematical skills…

    Yeah, Russia had a hot summer. That’s not enough to make the whole world hot.

  4. Verity Jones says:

    @Viv Evans
    Yes it reminds me of December/January last year, just a month earlier this time!

    It is severely cold in the nordic countries too, also unseasonally early, but there forecasters seem to be divided about the severity of the winter.

  5. Ian W says:

    “What’s amazing is when you combine all these record early openings with this past summers record late closing of ski resorts and somehow it is suppose to be the hottest year on record?”

    Unfortunately, the use of terms like ‘hottest’ is a little confusing.

    The atmospheric _temperature_ is supposedly the highest on record. This has no bearing on the heat content of the atmosphere. Heat content of the Earth is more apparent from looking at the Oceans. For some reason NOAA is being very reticent about releasing ARGO float measurements. However, have a look at:
    (remember it is summer in the South and entering winter in the North.)

    It is moving from the something-is-not-quite-right to getting-rather-scary.

    What would the entry to a ‘Bond Event’ look like?

  6. Pingback: Tweets that mention Record Early Skiing and Snow « Musings from the Chiefio --

  7. Pascvaks says:

    Bob Hart’s web page gives a little more graphical depiction of recent events. Yep! We’re in fer’ a some good skiing this year! DON’T break a leg!

  8. Edward. says:

    Yeah, when does weather become climate?

    We hear the sirens in Cancun screeching: “warmest year evah, since the world was young!”

    With the PDO in a cool mood, many active volcanoes, spewing aerosols into the upper atmosphere, the Solar influence in quiet phase……the old AGW cr*p seems a distant far-off ‘wolf’s cry’.

    Unfortunately some politicians and certain ‘scientific’ reputations are at stake here, the BS goes on.

    What will it take?
    For them (alarmists) to throw AGW on the dung heap…. the ice to recommence it’s advance?
    Were still in the midst of a ‘warming’ betwixt, a glaciation cycle (Pleistocene)……………’s only round the corner.

  9. boballab says:

    @Ian W

    I guess the sarcasm didn’t come through clearly.

    I’m one of the people that is like Dr. Pielke Sr. that thinks the Global Temperature Anomaly is one of the most useless things thought up of by man and OHC is way more important.

    Also IMHO what happens on regional scales is more important than some statistically derived global anomaly. Example: the Global anomaly might be rising at .7°C per century but there is whole areas of the world that have been cooling during that entire time period while others have risen. So just because Area A has risen more then Area B fell when they average them together we are suppose to panic? I don’t think so.

    Also found this while perusing Bob Tisdales site: Its the NOAA’s own model output for the NINO 3.4 region.

    According to the NOAA models the SST’s in that region will bottom out sometime around Mar 2011 and at -2.75°C anomaly for the ensemble mean with some models going as low as -4°C anomaly

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ian W: Entry to a Bond Event? Well, it would be cold…

    The wiki seems to think the dominant indication would be ice rafted debris, so that implies an increase in icebergs…

    The North Atlantic ice-rafting events happen to correlate with most weak events of the Asian monsoon over the past 9,000 years,[3][4] as well as with most aridification events in the Middle East.[5] Also, there is widespread evidence that a ≈1,500 yr climate oscillation caused changes in vegetation communities across all of North America.[6]
    For reasons that are unclear, the only Holocene Bond event that has a clear temperature signal in the Greenland ice cores is the 8.2 kyr event.
    some rise to major prominence in environmental history.[7] Causes and determining factors of the cycle are under study; researchers have focused attention on variations in solar output, and “reorganizations of atmospheric circulation.”[7] Bond events may also be correlated with the 1800 year lunar tidal cycle. [8]

    Though it might be a bit ‘unclear’. Also some dryness in the Monsoons and some ‘vegetation changes’ in North America.

    Maybe, oh, because they get covered in snow?…

    Might be worth keeping an eye on the monsoon levels…

    And that “dry middle east” is just south of where the snow is a bit thin (even though it’s cold in Minsk…) Hmm…

    Wonder what the 1800 year “lunar tidal cycle” is.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @Verity: Hmmm…. Interesting to note you (and others on WUWT) reporting snow in the UK, but the NCDC map above doesn’t show it.

    Wonder why…

    @Edward: IMHO, weather becomes climate when you change your {altitude, latitude, closeness to water, geographical features} otherwise you are just discovering that weather has very long term cycles in it.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @Verity: Interesting article you’ve got there… I liked this little quote:

    “We are now in a phase where NAO is very strong and negative, just like last winter. Continuing the trend, so it may mean that there is a chance for another cold winter in the north-western Europe” says Cappelen.

    So we’ve got PDO in a cold phase (with a dramatic cold purple dagger in the middle of it h/t Ian W) and a cold phase NAO with a cold winter in Europe (h/t Verity) and snow all over North America… but it’s “the warmest ever” in UEA and Cancun…

  13. Jeff Alberts says:

    Western Washington had a record early snow as well. Snow before Thanksgiving is pretty rare here, as are temps in the teens, and we had both for a couple days. It’s been colder than average all year here.

  14. boballab says:


    Ian was the one that had the link to the Unisys SST map with the purple dagger running through it. Mine is the projections for how much cooler NOAA thinks that region is going to get.

    [ REPLY: Thanks, fixed. h/t to both of you for contributions ;-) -E.M.Smith]

  15. tckev says:

    It’s 27th Nov 2010, 20:00 GMT and across Europe it’s freezing.

    Dublin(-4C snow), London(-2C, clear), Paris(0C, Cloudy), Milan(2C, sleet), Geneva(-2C, snow), Berlin(-2C, cloudy), Copenhagen(-2C, snow), Prague(-6, clear), Budapest (-1C,cloudy), Warsaw (-1, snow), Vienna (-1C, cloudy), and Moscow (-1C, cloudy)

    It warms up further south –
    Madrid(3C, cloudy), Rome(9C, cloudy), Naples (10C, rain), Malta(16C cloudy).

    But in “hottest year on record” this is just a “weather blip” in a “long term” (30 year) climate change – so the man on the radio keeps telling me.

  16. tckev says:

    SkiClub site at
    indicates that ski resorts in USA, UK, and Europe are all opening early this year!

  17. E.M.Smith says:


    I’m pretty sure at this point that using ‘opening times’ and snow records at ski resorts would be more reliable than the official climatology cooked books. Folks either went skiing, or they didn’t. Not a lot of wiggle room… So I’m rather fond of watching teh ski clubs and lodges. That the site you cited has USA, UK and Europe all early says quite a bit…

  18. Laurence M. Sheehan, PE says:

    Paying attention to trends is absurd. Projecting a trend into the future is no more than extrapolation from 2 points on a curve.

    “Statistics” if done properly are but history. They are what happened when, and have no influence or bearing on what will happen now and in the future.

    It’s always good to consider the theory of probability and the nature of random distributions.

  19. Pingback: TWAWKI » Cancun Climate Circus

Comments are closed.