7:50pm Mountain Time, Monday September 02, 2019 -
First, a recap of last season, a GREAT one, 2018-2019…
...some of the earliest openings in history, early cold and snow, and sustained cold and snow would characterize the Colorado winter that was, 2018-2019, with just about 400" of snow falling for the season (but more if counting the unreported snow early, and late), and a 126" March!
OCTOBER 2018, early start...
We hesitate sometimes in forecasting anomalies, but we saw the October 10, 2018 snowfall coming for Aspen (we adjusted the arrival date by a few days, from 2 weeks out, but...), several inches fell in town (I think we were calling for 1-2", 5 days in advance), and feet on the mountain (some snow level issues still, initially). Temperatures in the teens, and dry air (key for high-volume snowmaking), followed this storm. It looked like mid-winter, aside from the fall foliage still heavy on the trees! Credit to @JSwansonphoto, @TamaraSusaPhoto, Jordan Curet, and Aspen-Snowmass Resort for the following pics, all from Oct 10 to 15, 2018 in and around Aspen:
NOVEMBER 2018: 31" of snow from Nov 17 to Nov 30 - Temperatures started off, and stayed for the most part, colder than average, with consistent snowfalls once the first resort, Aspen Mountain, opened early on November 17th. Snow preservation was better than average, and with better than average snowfall for November, and 20" of the November 17-30 total of 31" falling in the 5 days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, snow conditions were seriously amazing for the early season...
DECEMBER 2018: 61" of snow all totaled - It was the same story for December 2018, except that temperatures were colder, and snowfalls even more consistent, with 5 feet of snow falling throughout the month! After 40" of snow pummeled Aspen between Dec 1 and Dec 13, there was a bit of a dry spell, with only a few days of very light snow (1" mostly), then seemingly just in time for the holidays, 16" of snow fell from Dec 22 to the 27th... The timing could not have been much better for holiday greatness (if you were there for this awesomeness, insert your smile emoticon here!).
JANUARY 2019: 70" (about 6 feet!), all totaled - January 2019 started off a bit slow, with 3" of snow falling on New Years Day, then another 8" fell on the 7th. The next snow was Dec 11-13, with about a foot from that storm. Then, from the 16th through the 27th of January, about 4 feet of snow hit Aspen-Snowmass. So, in just over 2 weeks, 5 feet of snow fell on Aspen-Snowmass. It was another great month!
FEBRUARY 2019: 78" of snow! - February WAS AMAZING! From Feb 4 to 8, 40" of snow fell on Aspen-Snowmass, with Feb 12th through the 23rd showing up with 38" of new snow. From the 24th through the 28th, no snow was recorded, but March, roaring in like a lion, would make up for that BIG TIME...
MARCH 2019: 126" (10 and 1/2 feet)!!! of snow, nothing but EPIC! - How is 89" of snow through the first 9 days!? Thats an awesome powder day, for 8 days straight! There was 1 day with now snow in that time frame. From March 7th through the 9th, 48", 4 FEET, fell! This is about as good as it gets, and if you showed up March 9th or 10th, you definitely know how amazing it was to be in Aspen! If you were there let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to hear about it.
From March 12-14, there was another big, 20" storm that rolled through. From the 15th through the 31st, things slowed way down by comparison, but another 17" of snow fell (scattered through 6 days of light to moderate snow, 1" to 4" mostly, with one 5" day in there), and temperatures were still nice and cold, for great snow preservation.
APRIL 2019: 30" of snow all totaled - After 27" of the 30" monthly total snowfall happening in the first 14 days (very nice), we saw only 3" fall from one storm in the last 16 days of the month. This was a late closing on April 30, after an amazing early, consistent, and long season!
Fall/ Winter 2019-2020? What is expected for Aspen-Snowmass?
FIRST: Some colder than usual Gulf of Alaska low pressure systems have hit the Pacific Northwest, with chilly temperatures for what were supposed to be the dog days of August. High mountain snow was recorded in southern British Columbia, and northern Montana/ Glacier NP.
The arctic regions, and Gulf of Alaska, are producing colder than usual air masses, which are moving into mainly southeast Canada and the Great Lakes/ New England states as higher pressure mostly dominates the western US. The low-pressure pattern is more active than average. We are also in an ENSO-Neutral pattern instead of the El Nino we were looking at, and this is expected to last through the fall and winter 2019-2020. I think it will even lean a bit toward La Nina, with some colder Sea Surface Temperatures in the right ENSO regions of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Sun spot activity is low as well, which usually portends a colder than average regime across large regions of the US.
An active September is expected, especially after 15 Sep, but this is pretty normal. That said, earlier than usual snowfalls are expected in Aspen, probably before mid October again. CM
To kick-off the season... In light of what is being seen weather-pattern wise across the northern Hemisphere, I am expecting, overall, colder than usual temperatures (great for snow-making), and above average snowfall as we move into October (possible La Nina influence, and Gulf of Alaska storms moving in out of the Northwest US fairly consistently). The higher snow level El Nino type “Pineapple Express” storms are not likely this season. I expect that November and December will not disappoint, with good and consistent snow days early on again, colder than usual overall also, helping to establish a natural base for the early opening. That’s it for now, but there is more to come. Chris Manly/ Meteorologist/www.SnowForecast.com