Outside Scoop: Where’s the snow? | VailDaily.com

Outside Scoop: Where’s the snow?

Julie Bielenberg
Outside Scoop
Fresh corduroy and snow-covered trees greeted the first guests on Vail opening day Friday in Vail. Guests ride Gondola One up to Mountain Top Express Lift and then download on the gondola to get back to Vail Village. (Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily)

As the beginning of December is here, some might ask: Where is the snow? Some ski resorts in Colorado have had to push back opening dates, delay ski teams and lessons, and start pumping the snow machines. But really, how much snow usually falls in the Vail Valley in November and December?

On average from 2010 to 2019, there were six days of snow in November that leave around 20 inches of snow from storms. In December, the snow picks up to nearly 27 inches in a typical year with 9 snowy days. However, data from 1981 to 2010 indicates that November would have nearly 10 days of snow and rack up to 29 inches of snow from storms.

Each year proves to be different from when the snow begins to fall; there’s no reason to fret yet over a delayed start to the snow season. Many other regions of the world also wait for the white blanket each year, especially those areas where the economy is focused on snow sport, much like the Vail Valley.

Snowsports fans are familiar with a French alpine town called Chamonix that was host to the world’s first winter Olympics in 1924. The average annual snowfall for the mountain is up to 22 feet of snow.

In Nagano, Japan, the average annual snowfall can measure up to 36 feet. These mountains are located 10 miles from central Japan’s northern Pacific coastline that helps form the massive storms that dump snow. And, the area is also known for its hot springs. Does that remind you of Colorado at all? Steamboat Springs, Pagosa Springs, Colorado Springs, Hot Sulphur Springs, Glenwood Springs—our State is loaded with hot springs in the mountains as well.

Support Local Journalism

Mt. Washington in New Hampshire is best known for insanely powerful winds and lots of snow. There is a non-profit science center, the Mt. Washington Observatory, that measures the weather phenomena. In the nearby Tuckerman Ravine, where there is a ski area, a season can result in up to 80 feet of snow.

Did you know Denver is currently on track for a historical record of no snow? This is our State capital’s latest first measurable snowfall record. Measurable snow hasn’t fallen in Denver since April 21, a 220-plus-day stretch, which is a record.

According to Janice Stillman, editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “This coming winter could well be one of the longest and coldest that we’ve seen in years.” The Vail Valley is certainly anxious to see if this prediction comes to fruition.

Bluebird Powder Day: Fresh snow, mostly sunny

Powder Day: Fresh snow, limited sun

Bluebird Day: Average snow, mostly sunny


Support Local Journalism