The 2017-2018 Utah Ski Season Gets New Life

The Park City ski season got new life on February 19th, when a good snow storm rolled through the area, followed by sufficiently cold temperatures to keep it there for a while. And while there isn’t a series of blizzards lined up, there are enough flurries and squalls combined with the cold temperatures to ensure decent ski and snowboarding conditions hopefully for at least a few weeks. (I’m already knocking on wood typing this out.)

 

Looking Back

This follows the same pattern as January, which languished in relatively dry and unseasonably warm temperatures until January 20th brought about a foot of snow—rescuing what had been fully deployed snowmaking infrastructure. It’s the temperatures in Park City that are likely to have the biggest part in the story. The mountains seemed to shed the foot of snow with frightening ease at the end of January and early February.

 

The Current Forecast

If we can borrow from the cold snap that’s blanketed much of the eastern United States this year, we might finally have a legit ski season on our poles. Much of the area is hankering to make up for lost time, as most of 2017 was a lost cause for skiing in Park City. And while the average monthly snowfall in Park City doesn’t skew as heavily toward March and April as it does in Colorado, it’s not uncommon for late winter and early spring to see a disproportional amount of the total season’s snowfall amounts.

 

As bad as the first half of the ski season has been, that doesn’t mean the second half can’t be awesome! On the other hand, just because the end of February has been great for skiing doesn’t mean March is going to be an alpine paradise.

 

Looking Further Ahead

Like any skier, I like to follow both the short-term forecast and long-term climate trends. but I’m not in the business of trying to predict the weather. Still, I have hope, worry, and speculation for the future. The Salt Lake Tribune recently reported, “Resorts at lower elevations, like Park City, Canyons and Deer Valley, could see more rain and 10 percent less snow with even another 1.8-degree rise in temperature.”

 

It’s not all bad. For one thing, as that same news story points out, people are noticing and recognizing the danger. Plus, warming temperatures should also hold more moisture, mitigating some of the effects. The resorts keep getting better and better at making their own snow. Everything feels almost like it’s in its heyday, where as long as the next snowfall is coming, you can pretend everything is going to be good forever.