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October 2002, Week 2


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"John H. Jordan" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Skiing Discussion and Snow Reports <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 12 Oct 2002 13:10:36 -0400
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On 10/12/2002 10:09 AM Leigh Daboll wrote:

|> However, I'd feel better about booking a trip if it wasn't an El Nino
|> year -which usually hits the Canadian rockies about the hardest of
|> anywhere (ie: a snow drought).

On 10/12/2002 10:26 AM Scott Braaten replied:

| Now I consider myself to know quite a lot about ski areas all over
| North America, its kind of like a hobby to know every ski areas
| verticle drop and snowfall, ect....but I don't even know if I've ever
| heard of Castle; the name does not ring a bell!  And the fact that it
| got #8 in snow quality in Skiing Mag, has me wondering even more.
| This isn't a new mountain or a mountain that changed its name is it?
| Where's it located; near Fortress or interior B.C. with Sun Peaks and
| Big White?
| Yeah with a minor El Nino who knows what will happen.  Good southern
| storm track out west...'97-'98 basted Tahoe to Utah in powder, but
| that was pretty damn strong El Nino.

Fernie, BC is about 30 miles northwest of Castle Mountain (75 miles by
highway) and on the west side of the continental divide, but in '97 -
'98, a very strong El Nino year,  they had 321 inches of snowfall.

I think their worst year on record for Fernie was '00 - '01 when Fernie
recorded only  178 inches of snowfall.  The season didn't start until
very late, but once it started the cover at the resort was pretty good.
'00 - '01 was neutral in relation to El Nino/La Nina conditions.

In '01 - '02 Fernie had 440 inches of snowfall.  I thought the
conditions at Fernie were nearly as good in March, 2001 as they were in
March, 2002.  It could be in 2001 they had most of that 178 inches in
February and March.  Both years we had days when we were skiing in knee
deep powder.

Looking at weather statistics it appears that the Canadian Rockies fare
well during La Nina years with below normal temperatures and above
normal precipitation.  During El Nino years it appears that the
Canadian Rockies have near normal precipitation, whereas, Washington
and northern Oregon have below normal precipitation, but all areas of
the USA and Canada have above normal temperatures during El Nino years.

Even in years when there is a snow drought I think it is still possible
to find good skiing in the Canadian Rockies, particularly late in the
season.  If you look at the photos from '00 - '01 you will see that
there is no snow on the ground in the city of Fernie, but there is
plenty of snow on the mountain, and
this coverage in one of their worst years with only 178 inches of
snowfall.  The crowds tend to stay away too when there is a snow
drought.  We pretty much had Fernie to ourselves in March, 2001.  In
March, 2002 there were, at times, lines at the lifts despite below zero
(Fahrenheit) temperatures.

John H. Jordan

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