Look out for Brown Snow


Where has the snow season gone?Was last years lack of snow and snow depth a sign of things to come?Does it seem to you that it was snowier when you were a little kid?


Iíve been pondering these questions myself lately.Its just seems that the outdoor recreational season has been cut shorter and shorter.No longer can I hop on my snowmobile and head off to the nearest trail anytime during the winter.My cross-country skies are collecting dust somewhere in the garage.


Generally it takes about a four inch snow depth to provide adequate snow cover for outdoor activities such as snowmobiling or cross country otherwise it seems youíre dodging open spots.


While snow amounts have been near to above normal the past few years, last year being the expectation, the number of days with adequate snow depth has gone done.


In the 1980ís we averaged 66 days with adequate snow depth.For a good year the season ran from late November to mid March.Our best year in the 80ís was 1981-1982 season when we totaled 130 days.This included a snow depth of 38 inches on Jan. 23 of the 81-82 season.The 81-82 season ran from Nov. 19, 1981 to March 28, 1982.If you remember back this was also the year that the dome collapsed in the month of January when totaled two 17inches snowfalls just a few days apart.


Just how bad can it get?The winter of 1986-1987 we totaled just 2 days.For the season we totaled 17.5 inches of snow.


The 1990ís the number of adequate snow depth dropped to 62 days.The best season was 1996-1997 when we totaled 130 days.The season ran from Nov. 20, 1996 to March 20, 1997.For much of the season snow depth was 10 inches or more.


The new millennium started off on a good note.The 2000-2001 season we totaled 84 days.For the past 5 years weíve averaged 48 days or about 18 days less we did in the 1980ís.Thatís good news for winter driving but not good news if you like to enjoy outdoor winter activities.


Last year, as bad as the snowfall total was, 26 inches at the airport, 38 inches here, we managed 23 days of adequate snow depth.The majority of these 23 days coming in late January and late February.


It does seems to appear in looking at the records if we receive a good snowfall in late November many times that will translate into a good snow season.It also appears that just because we receive good snow amounts that doesnít necessarily mean that it will be a cold or warm winter.


Weíll have to keep a special watch the next couple of weeks on the weather for it very well could foretell what the rest of the snow season will be like.


Top 5 seasons since 1979-1980

1981-1982†† 130 days

1996-1997†† 130 days

1991-1992    118 days

1985-1986      115 days

1985-1987      110 days


Top 5 worst seasons since 1979-1980

1986-1987      2 days

1980-1981      15 days

2004-2005      23 days

1994-1995      26 days

2001-2002†† 29 days