By Jim Stanford on January 5, 2009
Updated 1/6 with avalanche crown photos after jump
Quickly we’ve caught up to last season’s pace. As of this morning, total snowfall at 9,600 feet measured 210 inches, exactly the figure from the same date a year ago.
Maybe these big winters come in pairs. Many skiers will recall that the fabled winter of 1996-97 — the snowiest on record until last season — followed a wet year. That’s a key reason why the runoff on the Snake River in June 1997 was the highest in modern history, as reservoirs had filled the previous season.
Weather in the Tetons is notoriously unpredictable, and of course the snow could shut off at any time.
But it’s worth noting that the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center has changed its forecast to a La Niña winter, which tend to be cold and snowy. The last time we had La Niña was, um, last winter.
From the NWS:
“WE APPEAR TO BE WITNESSING A VERY LATE AND VERY RAPID TRANSITION TO MORE DEFINITIVE LA NINA CONDITIONS.”
Earlier the Climate Prediction Center had called for a drier winter, leading to some dire predictions for our corner of Wyoming.
2000-Great went out the way it came in, with a fury. Ten feet of snow fell in December (122 inches, to be precise). The all-time record at Jackson Hole was set in December 1996, when a whopping 215 inches fell in Rendezvous Bowl.
With the snow this week temperatures are forecast to rise into the 30s, raising the threat of valley rain. But I’ll take a steady stream of snow over the -20s we had this weekend!
Here are a couple of photos of the enormous avalanche crowns seen over the weekend with the clear weather. Click to enlarge.
These first two show the East Face of Buck Mountain and the north side of Rendezvous Mountain at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center reported the Buck crown to be nearly 10 feet high.
Photos © Stephen Koch.
Here’s another look at the Buck crown, shot from the north by Derek Collins.