Season Wrap Up for 2012-2013
Next season outlook
All Northwest ski seasons have a different flavor and this last one proved the point.
The past season also hammered home the message: ya gotta go while the gettin' is good, which is the essence of the powder alert.
December 2012 was one of the best Decembers on record in the Cascades. Abundant snowfall and consistently low snow levels produced memorable early season coverage and multiple epic powder days. Many said Dec 18 was one of the finest powder days they'd ever skied in the Cascades with deep, light snow. Hey, I'll take partial credit as I called out that specific day, as a powder alert day -
several days in advance. It turned out to be a December to remember.
Once again, a recent trend; January and February were funky with inconsistent new snow, occasional high snow levels - basically a lack of any storms with much soul. There were some good days to be sure, but it was slow. However, we were blessed with excellent coverage and the groomers were tasty, especially considering most Western US ski areas suffered with no new snow and a painful
lack of base coverage.
I liked the inversion in January. An inversion is when warm air is above over cold air - opposite the normal atmospheric profile. The mountain air was warm with stunning, clear skies and brilliant sunshine in the mid 40's at 6500ft, while Seattle shivered in the claustrophobic fog icebox: the upper 20's - low 30's. When I was skiing at the top of Crystal we were in short sleeves and could see Mt Hood in Oregon and Mt Baker to the north - all in one sweeping view. Winter inversions are common, but this one was a very rare considering its magnitude and consistency (several days). The warmth, even continued through the long winter nights which induced a slight snowmelt, with a very minor rise in mountain stream flows. I have never seen that in January with a dry weather
There was improving epic worthy powder in March (I liked 21-24) and April had some very respectable powder (13th/14). Overall the season ended with an above normal snowpack, displaying an especially robust snowpack in the medium and lower
I skied last Sunday at the Cinco de Mayo spring ski day at Alpental - what a blast.
The skiing was great, the vibe was total fun in the sun. (see pictures)
Crystal remains open, with limited days and lift operations into June - call ahead/check website for details . Expect pretty good coverage
and classic spring skiing. If you've never done it, you'll be surprised how fun it is - but get there early. This Saturday should be pretty nice.
Right now the climate signal is for a "neutral" season which is characterized by typical conditions - punctuated by possible big events like: flooding rains, damaging wind, severe arctic cold and memorable lowland snow storms. However, this past season was a neutral
season and showed none of those traits. The seasonal climate signal trend only tilts of the odds to favor those occasional extremes - but there are no guarantees. The atmosphere doesn't really tend to set up for the winter until late summer/ early fall. We'll wait until then to commit to a winter outlook for 2013-14.
Have a great summer and spring skiing
See ya next season.. .
your Grand Poobah of Powder