Tag Archives: Rain

It’s Hard to Be Patient When You’re Waiting for the Ski Season to Start

Standard

A Prelude to Winter

Waiting for snow is hard. It’s especially difficult at the beginning of the season. November can be a bit like Christmas–either full of good tidings and warm family moments or wrought with awkward gyrations brought on by that one crazy family member that chooses to literally rain on your snowy parade.

Better make up the hide-a-bed, because it looks like that rainy relative is swooping into town tonight. But I digress. Let’s first take a look at the bright side.

Smiles from Reid Pitman

Smiles from Reid Pitman on Sunday

 

Conditions Update

Yesterday morning A Lot at Crystal was nearly half full with eager skiers and riders who skinned to the top to take part in the snow. It was a little heavy–those with fat skis and snowboards had the biggest smiles on their faces–and a little wind-effected. The ridge at the top of Green Valley was scoured down to the rocks. The valley itself was filled with two to three feet of cream cheese topped by a few inches of confectioner’s sugar. In other words, the conditions were classic PNW snow and perfect base-building material.

It’s times like these when I wish we didn’t have such a thing as a weather forecast. Because if you’ve taken a close look at it lately, you’ll understand why Crystal isn’t open yet. It’s because of the forecast.

Because Rain

The Forecast looks like a rain sandwich

The Forecast looks like a rain sandwich

Here’s a snippet from the text forecast:

LOTS OF PRECIPITATION LATER TODAY THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT OR WEDNESDAY WITH THE SNOW LEVEL MAINLY 6500 TO 7500 FT….WE CAN SAY WITH CONFIDENCE THAT 3 TO 6 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION WILL FALL ALONG THE WEST SLOPES OF THE CASCADES DURING THE 48 HOUR PERIOD FROM MIDDAY TODAY THROUGH MIDDAY WEDNESDAY.

You know what, NOAA forecasters? No one wants your bad news. Why do you have to go and rain on our parade? Here we were having visions of snowy sugar plums dancing in our heads and you go and give us this?? Why couldn’t you have just kept this one to yourselves for a change?

Crystal’s Modus Operandi

Crystal Mountain is usually pretty aggressive getting the slopes open. We understand the pent-up demand and bursting enthusiasm this time of year, and we are willing to roll the dice on a forecast. Most ski areas wait until their snowpack is a sure thing before opening. We are one of the few areas willing to skate on thin ice, so to speak.

So why isn’t Crystal opening today? We have to wait and see about this rain. While it’s difficult to wait on snow this time of year, I’m hear to tell you. It’s even harder waiting on the rain.

Tiana, Stacy and Brianna getting deep in Green Valley

Tiana, Stacy and Brianna getting deep in Green Valley Sunday

John wrote up an update on the website about his thought process. It’s a little window into his mindset, and a good dose of his mountain voice. It’s worth a read. In short, we are bashing down the snow with our cats, hoping to retain as much as we can through this big melt. If we don’t lose it all, and if Mt. Rainier blocks some of that rain (which it very often does), we could still open by the weekend. To quote John, “it’s day to day.”

While we wait to see what this next round of storms will bring, here’s a really cool video of snowflakes forming.

Mt. Rainier’s Rain Shadow

Standard

Mt. Rainier is taking it for the team.  For the Crystal Mountain team, that is.

In the past 24 hours, Paradise has seen twice the amount of moisture we have, and most of that has been rain. Yesterday, it snowed gloriously at the ski area, staying cold until happy hour. We picked up 7 inches of snow before the temperatures spiked.  That’s when the wind shifted around and Mt. Rainier blocked us from the worst of the storm. Notice the first graph from Paradise. Between 1400 and 1900, it rained (see temperature fourth from left) nearly 1.5 inches. Then check the second graph from Crystal. It didn’t switch to rain until 1700 hours, after which we only picked up .4 inches of rain.

     Date    Time    Temp Wind Speeds/Dir Hrly/24 Hr H2o
Paradise, Mt. Rainier:
     12 12   400    40    22    36   275   .05  2.41
     12 12   300    40    23    36   276   .07  2.36
     12 12   200    41    23    38   271   .06  2.29
     12 12   100    41    24    37   272   .06  2.23
     12 12     0    41    24    37   269   .06  2.17
     12 11  2300    40    20    43   271   .06  2.11
     12 11  2200    39    14    23   260   .09  2.05
     12 11  2100    39    18    30   268    .1  1.96
     12 11  2000    37    18    26   268   .12  1.86
     12 11  1900    36    19    30   265   .24  1.74
     12 11  1800    35    17    26   264   .11   1.5
     12 11  1700    33    13    26   266   .24  1.39
     12 11  1600    33     5    11   247   .25  1.15
     12 11  1500    32     2     7   121   .22    .9
     12 11  1400    32     4     9   358   .26   .68    

 Crystal Mountain Ski Area:

 12 12   400    37    41    68   241   .01  1.41
 12 12   300    36    47    79   264     0   1.4
 12 12   200    37    40    68   257     0   1.4
 12 12   100    36    39    67   243   .03   1.4
 12 12     0    36    41    72   234   .01  1.37
 12 11  2300    37    45    73   254     0  1.36
 12 11  2200    36    41    58   213   .01  1.36
 12 11  2100    37    34    51   224   .05  1.35
 12 11  2000    35    27    63   229   .08   1.3
 12 11  1900    35    24    60   256   .05  1.22
 12 11  1800    33    27    66   283   .11  1.17
 12 11  1700    31    25    43   259   .14  1.06
 12 11  1600    29    30    50   213   .13   .92
 12 11  1500    25    25    42   168   .17   .79
 12 11  1400    24    22    44   153   .19   .62

The news was even worse for the other ski areas that saw upwards of 4 inches of rain in the past 24 hours.  It’s nice to know that Mt. Rainier is watching over us.