History of Southern California Snow Conditions

The table History of Southern California Snow Conditions assigns a letter grade to each weekend's ski conditions in southern California over the past 39 years. The grades are defined as follows:

A:
All areas are in full operation with predominantly packed powder conditions.
B:
All areas are fully operating with spring conditions, or at least one area is fully operating with packed powder.
C:
At least one area is close to full operation.
D:
Any area open is in restricted operation.
R:
Rain

Each A weekend is counted as 3 points, each B weekend 2 points and each C weekend 1 point, and month point totals are shown. At the far right, the season point total is shown along with the total number of A, B and C weekends for that season. The weekly grades are not a measure of fresh powder, which cannot be predicted in advance for a specific week. In 2008 I derived a method to estimate percent of powder days from monthly snowfall. I now apply that percentage to all weeks rated A or B and show that percentage and an adjusted total grade at far right.

HISTORY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SNOW CONDITIONS
Pwdr Adj
Season/Month November December January February March April Later Total A B C Pwdr Total
15-16 D D D D 0 D D B C 3 C B B C C 7 C C C C 4 C C C C 4 D D 0 18 0 3 15 3% 18
14-15 D 0 D D D D 0 C C C C 4 C C C C 4 B C C D D 4 0 12 0 1 11 1% 12
13-14 D D 0 D C C C 3 C C C C 4 C C C D 3 R D D D D 0 0 10 0 0 10 0% 10
12-13 D D 0 R D D D B 2 B C R C 4 C B C C 5 C B C C C 6 D 0 17 0 4 13 3% 17
11-12 D D D 0 D B B B 6 C C C C C 5 C C C B 5 C C B C C 6 D B 2 23 0 6 17 4% 23
10-11 D D D 0 C C R B 4 B B C C C 7 C C B A 7 B C C B 6 C B D D 3 27 1 8 18 8% 28
09-10 D D D D D 0 D C B B 5 B C C A A 10 C B B A 8 A B B B 9 C C C C 4 D D 36 4 12 20 8% 39
08-09 0 D D A B 5 B C C C C 6 A A B B 10 B B C C 6 C C D 2 29 3 9 17 8% 31
07-08 D 0 D D C C B 4 C B C B 6 A B B C 8 B B C C C 7 C D 1 0 26 1 8 17 6% 27
06-07 0 D D D D C 1 C B B B 7 C C B C 5 C C C D D 3 D 0 0 15 0 4 12 1% 15
05-06 0 D D D D 0 D D D C C 2 C C B C 5 C B B C 6 C C C C D 4 0 17 0 3 14 3% 17
04-05 C D D D B 3 B C C C 5 A R C C B 7 B B A A 10 B B B B 8 B C C D D 4 D D D 0 37 3 13 21 10% 40
03-04 D D D D D 0 D D D D 0 C C C B 5 C B C B A 9 B C C C 5 D D 0 0 19 1 5 13 4% 20
02-03 D 0 D D B B 4 C C C C 4 C C D C 3 B C C C C 6 D D C D 1 0 18 0 3 15 2% 18
01-02 0 D D B B C 5 C C C C 4 C C C C 4 C C C C D 4 D D 0 0 17 0 2 15 1% 17
00-01 D D D 0 D D D D D 0 D A B A 8 B B A A 10 A A B B C 11 B C C D 4 D 0 33 6 12 15 11% 37
99-00 D 0 D D D C 1 C B R D D 3 C B B B 7 A B B C 8 C D D D 1 0 20 1 7 12 5% 21
98-99 D D D 0 D C C C 3 C C C B 5 C C C C 4 C C C D 3 C B D D 3 0 18 0 2 16 3% 18
97-98 D D 0 D B B B 6 C B C C C 6 A B B B 9 A A B A 11 A B B C 8 D C C 2 42 5 15 22 11% 47
96-97 D D D R D 0 D D D D 0 D D B C 3 C C C C 4 B C C C D 5 D 0 0 12 0 2 10 3% 12
95-96 0 D C C 2 C D C C 3 C C R B 4 C C C C D 4 D D 0 0 13 0 1 12 4% 13
94-95 D D D C 1 B B C C 6 C R B B A 8 B B B B 8 R B C B 5 C D D C D 2 0 30 1 11 18 8% 32
93-94 D D D 0 D C B B 5 C C C C B 6 B B A B 9 C C R B 4 C D 1 0 25 1 8 16 5% 26
92-93 D D D 0 C B A B 8 A R C B A 9 B A A A 11 B B B A 9 B C C D D 4 D 0 41 7 15 19 13% 47
91-92 D D D D 0 C C C C 4 A A B B 10 B A A B B 12 B B A B 9 B B C D 5 0 40 5 15 20 13% 46
90-91 0 D D C B B 5 R C C C 3 C C C C 4 B A A B B 12 B B C D 5 0 29 2 9 18 9% 31
89-90 0 D D C C 2 C C B C 5 B C A B 8 B C C D D 4 0 0 19 1 5 13 6% 20
88-89 D D 0 D D C B 3 A A A B B 13 A B B B 9 B C C D 4 D 0 0 29 4 11 14 5% 31
87-88 D 0 D D B B 4 B C C B C 7 C C C R 3 C C C D 3 D C 1 0 18 0 4 14 3% 18
86-87 D 0 D D D D 0 D B C C C 5 C C C B 5 C C B C 5 C D D 1 0 16 0 3 13 4% 16
85-86 C D D 1 D C D D 1 D D D D 0 D C R C 2 D B B D 4 0 0 8 0 2 6 4% 8
84-85 D 0 D D C A A 7 B B B B 8 A A B B 10 B B C C C 7 D 0 0 32 4 12 16 7% 35
83-84 D 0 D D D R 0 D D D C C 2 D D C C 2 C C D D 2 0 0 6 0 0 6 0% 6
82-83 C D D 1 C C C C 4 C C C B A 8 A B B B 9 A B A B 10 B B C C 6 D D D 0 38 4 12 22 12% 42
81-82 0 D 0 D C C B B 6 B C C D 4 D D A B 5 B R C D 3 0 18 1 6 11 7% 19
80-81 0 D 0 D D D D A 3 B C D D 3 B B B C 7 D 0 0 13 1 5 7 3% 13
79-80 0 D 0 D D C C 2 C C R A 5 B B A B B 11 D D 0 0 18 2 6 10 6% 19
78-79 D C C 2 C C C A B 8 A B A B 10 A B B A 10 B B A B B 11 C C D D 2 0 43 6 15 22 12% 49
77-78 0 R C 1 B A A B B 12 A A A B 11 A B B C 8 C B C C D 5 0 37 6 13 18 10% 41
76-77 0 0 C A A B B 11 C D 1 0 0 C 1 13 2 4 7 2% 13
75-76 0 0 0 D A B B 7 A B D 5 0 0 12 2 5 5 3% 13
Averages: 0.2 2.9 5.8 6.4 6.1 1.8 23.2 1.9 7.0 14.4 5.8% 24.3

There are substantial differences among the Southern California ski areas in snowfall, snowmaking capability, and other factors. This information is based upon my 3.2 million vertical feet of experience at these areas over the past 39 years. If this scoring had been applied to individual areas, average scores would have ranged from 16.5 and 18.6 (before/after powder adjustment) for Mt. Baldy to 33.8 and 35.5 for Snow Summit, the difference due to comprehensive snowmaking at the latter area.

Return to the Powder Magazine Guide to Snowfall and ski conditions at 106 locations across North America.

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