What's Up With That?

Brundage Snow Blog
December 12, 2012 by

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