Comprehensive snow statistics are finally available and shown below. Viewed overall, 1997-98 was a very average ski season. Only California was much above average and only interior western Canada much below.
In 1997-98 there were 5 successive weather patterns. 3 of these had at least some El Nino influence.
November to mid-December: There was a mild validation of El Nino with extreme drought in the Northern Rockies and Interior Western Canada and very high snowfall at Ski Apache in southern New Mexico. However, the high precipitation did not extend up to California and southern Colorado as most people expected. Alaska got heavy snow from a far northern jet stream.
Late December and January: El Nino appeared to have no influence whatsoever upon western snowfall. Snow patterns resembled December 1996, with Jackson Hole receiving a record 14 feet of snow at the center of the storm track. Snowfall was also high in the Pacific Northwest, Utah and the Kootenay region of B.C. Sierra snowfall was above average, but Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico were far below average.
February: The weather forecasters congratulated themselves after both the Sierra and Southern California had snowfall at least 300% of normal for the month. As these storms moved inland, Arizona and Utah had above average snow, but Colorado and New Mexico no better than average. February snowfall was above average in the Pacific Northwest, but below average in the Northern Rockies.
Most of March: El Nino took the first three weeks off. These were drier than normal in most of the west. The far north (interior Canada) and far south (Arizona and New Mexico) were closest to average.
Late March and later: This was the closest weather pattern of the season to El Nino expectations, with heavy snow in California, Arizona and Utah, extending into New Mexico and Colorado as well. A northern jet stream pounded Alaska, leaving a drier than normal "hole" in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies. California also had an unusual late storm cycle in mid-May.
For more detail on snow incidence by month and region, see 1997-98 Ski Season Analysis.
|1997-1998 SKI SEASON SNOWFALL SUMMARY|
|RECORD HIGH (10 Years Minimum)||RECORD HIGH (10 Years Minimum)|
|Southern California Composite 7,000 - 8,000||267|
|Central Sierra Snow Lab - Boreal, Cal. 7,200||517||Whiteface (Lake Placid), N. Y. 3,660||165||Dec.-Mar.|
|Sugarloaf, Maine 3,695||254||Telluride, Colo. 11,170||232||Dec.-Mar.|
|Mammoth Mtn, Calif. 9,600 or 8,900||539||Northstar, Calif. 7,800||340||Dec.-Mar.|
|Alpine Meadows, Calif. 7,000||532|
|Alyeska, Alaska 1,400||677|
|Snowshoe, W. V. 4,848||202|
|ABOVE AVERAGE||ABOVE AVERAGE|
|Stowe, Vt. 3,950||232||Steamboat, Colo. 9,200||243||Dec.-Mar.|
|Alta, Utah 8,650||596||Mt. Hood Meadows, Ore. 5,400||331||Dec.-Mar.|
|Brighton, Utah 8,740||428||Whitewater, B. C. 5,500||318||Dec.-Mar.|
|Taos, N. Mex. 11,200||311||Smuggler's Notch, Vt. 1,600||252||Dec.-Mar.|
|Snowbird, Utah 10,000||497||Schweitzer, Idaho 4,700||200||Dec.-Mar.|
|Kirkwood (Carson Pass), Calif. 8,526||588|
|Gothic, Colo. 9,400||364|
|Grand Targhee, Wyo. 8,200||472|
|Jay Peak, Vt. 3,000||355|
|Big Sky, Mont. 8,920||270|
|Arizona Snowbowl 1, Ariz. 9,500||231|
|Arizona Snowbowl 2, Ariz. 10,800||316|
|Mt. Baker, Wash. 4,300||648|
|Brian Head, Utah 9,770||440|
|Stevens Pass, Wash. 4,061||463|
|Snow Basin, Utah 7,700||357|
|Copper Mtn, Colo. 11,000||278|
|Aspen Highlands, Colo. 11,100||246|
|Crystal Mtn 1, Wash. 4,400||333|
|Crystal Mtn 2, Wash. 6,100||395|
|BELOW AVERAGE||BELOW AVERAGE|
|Mt. Rainier Paradise, Wash. 5,420||619||Crested Butte, Colo. 10,150||155||Dec.-Mar.|
|Killington, Vt. 4,142||242||Monarch, Colo.||170||Dec.-Mar.|
|Jackson Hole, Wyo. 8,250||344||Tod Mt. (Sun Peaks), B. C. 6,100||129||Dec.-Mar.|
|Lake Louise, Alb. 6,700||109||Aspen Mtn, Colo. 11,190||178||Dec.-Mar.|
|Mary Jane at Winter Park, Colo. 10,800||362||Wolf Creek, Colo. 10,642||233||Dec.-Mar.|
|Mt. Bachelor, Ore. 6,350||302||Mt. Snow, Vt. 3,600||121||Dec.-Mar.|
|Loveland, Colo. 11,200||354||Purgatory, Colo. 10,000||182||Dec.-Mar.|
|Blackcomb, B. C. 5,002||295||Fernie Snow Valley, B. C. 5,400||269||Dec.-Mar.|
|Big White, B. C. 6,200||228||Loon, N. H. 2,000||99||Dec.-Mar.|
|Arapahoe Basin, Colo. 10,820||283||Keystone, Colo. 11,641||151||Dec.-Mar.|
|Whistler Roundhouse, B. C. 6,000||393||Waterville Valley, N. H. 3,000||106||Dec.-Mar.|
|Sugarbush, Vt. 3,000||245|
|Red Mt. Pass, Colo. 11,090||288|
|Okemo, Vt. 3,300||142|
|Vail, Colo. 11,250||339|
|Sun Valley, Idaho 8,800||168|
|Breckenridge, Colo. 11,100||250|
|Beaver Creek, Colo. 11,200||330|
|Bridger Bowl, Mont. 7,100||285|
|Mt. Washington, N. H. 6,262||245||Stratton, Vt. 3,875||131||Dec.-Mar.|
|Mt. Fidelity (Selkirks), B. C. 6,150||358||Cannon Mt., N. H. 1,800||63||Dec.-Mar.|
|Whistler Base, B. C. 2,200||127|
|Sunshine Village, Alb. 7,028||172|
|Silver Star, B. C. 5,200||177|
|RECORD LOW (10 Years Minimum)||RECORD LOW (10 Years Minimum)|