What's Up With That?

Two big headlines are bringing a lot of attention to our Snowcams and our Snow Report page today and raising a few questions along the way.

You may be here on the SnowBlog because you heard we are opening Friday or because you saw that we’ve been blessed with seven inches of fresh snow since 5 pm last night. Both of those are absolutely true!

Some of you are also wondering about a couple of things you’re seeing on our website, which are a little bit puzzling. Those are our snow totals and our brand new summit snowstake.

We’re glad you asked and that we have this SnowBlog as a great tool to help explain.

Let’s talk about the snow totals first.

Some people are wondering how we can possibly have a 68 inch summit depth when we are reporting only 61 inches of cumulative snowfall.

Speculation has included  “you suck at math” and “you’re lying”. Neither of those is true, which will come as a relief to my high school calculus teacher, Mr. Tarasawa, and to my mom, who taught me that truth is often stranger than fiction, but always the better choice. But I digress.

The discrepancy you’re seeing is because we measure pre-season snowfall at the base (6,000 feet). We have had 60 inches fall at the base since October 1, as those who watch the snowcam daily can certainly attest to. Unfortunately, warmer temperatures have reduced all that snow down to approximately 16 inches (melting and compacting).

At the summit (7,640 feet), we have had MUCH more snow fall and very little rain, so we have a 65 inch base up there. We don’t have regular access to the upper mountain pre-season so we’ve always reported base area snow until we open. (After opening, our daily and cumulative snow totals come  from mid-mountain.) Our summit depth measurement is literally taken by putting a stick in the ground and measuring the depth.

Here’s a photo from Monday from the summit:Keep in mind, we’ve had at least seven more inches fall up there. I’m confident that if you visit us this weekend you won’t question whether we have 65″ at the summit. If anything, that is a conservative figure.
I hope that helps explain our snow totals. No conspiracy, just limited ability to access the summit pre-season.

Now to the next quandary: This new snowstake that mysteriously appeared overnight and, oddly enough, only shows one inch of snow during the same period when we got seven inches in the base.This is our new summit snowstake/webcam combo. It is a work in progress right now.

We may need to adjust the design and location in order to bring you an accurate representation of the snowfall up there. Wind is a big challenge. We didn’t put sides on this platform because we were afraid extra snow would drift in and ‘over-represent’ what actually fell.

As you can see, we’ve got the opposite problem. The wind pushed the snow right onto…and off of…our measuring platform.

As I said, we’ll be working on this in the coming weeks to find a way to get a fair representation of our summit snowfall.

Our goal, as always, is to be as transparent as possible with our snow conditions. We’re thankful to have this SnowBlog as a means to offer even more photos and observations that what can fit onto a snow report or be viewed in a webcam image, and as always, we invite your questions and comments.

THIS JUST IN: Our lift crew has just arrived at the base of Lakeview to prep the ramps for opening day.We’ll be bringing you more photos from around the mountain tomorrow so you get your own impressions of the conditions.

And if you get a chance, hug a lifty this weekend. They work awfully hard to get everything prepped for us to enjoy easy access to the slopes.

– April


    • says

      Hi Mike –
      I just got confirmation that we WILL be running the Bear Chair and we will be able to open 100% of our terrain, thanks to this latest blast of powder. All of the primary runs have been groomed at least once, some twice. We may leave 7″ of powder on North for our powderhounds. It was groomed underneath yesterday, so we think that will be a nice opening day option : ).

  1. The Dixons says

    April, thank you so much for your updates!! We have been hanging on *every single* word. We are overjoyed that all lifts are open! Our family of 8 children love Brundage SO MUCH that they traded all their Christmas gifts for a week of skiing Brundage. We have a glorious time building priceless family memories and enjoying the great terrain and fantastic views that we love so much at Brundage. Thank you so much for your fun, helpful updates. See you next week!

  2. Todd says

    As always, another fantastic job detailing what’s going on at the mountain. Thanks April!

    Platform – I am by no means an engineer but would a platform with 2 sides work a little better? I am guessing most wind comes outta the NW/W so you could point the nose of the platform in that direction???

  3. Drew Weber says

    I used to work at Brundage. Back in 2000 I was “The King of Easy Street”! THAT was the best lift to run! NEVER a dull moment, That’s fer sure! Hello to anyone left from way back then!

  4. Galen Stetson says

    This will be my first season pass at Brundage, and I’ve got to say, I love your website and PR. I’ve been snowboarding since 89 and you guys are easy to read, interactive with your customer base, and are quick to respond to the general consensus. For those of you who may not know any better, it is not like this at most mountains. Be thankful and voice your gratitude as often as you can. Most hills place funding for web sight and PR dead last, or do whatever they can to be as veg as possible.

    I’m stoked to ride at Brundage this year.

  5. David from MN says

    I’ve been watching the snow cam every morning with exceeding excitement over the last few days awaiting my coming ski season. I cannot wait much longer!
    Please keep the detailed reports coming, they go great with my morning coffee.

  6. KH says

    Thanks for the updates April, Friday can’t get here soon enough!! If you’re interested, here’s an idea for the Summit Snowstake(not that your asking), you might consider using a 3-sided box with multiple (1/2″) vapor/wind holes on all 3 sides. It was a science project in H.S. that seemed to work well – but I’m no engineer.

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