Snowstar Ski Resort Blog

Saturday, February 02, 2013

G-Hog Day

When desperate to find forecasts that give winter a chance of finishing strong, we will look everywhere...............even at the groundhog.
So what did Phil say today?  Phil said winter will end early.  Not a good answer, Phil.  The ever so optimistic Accuweather folks disagree............thank you very much.
So, what do we know about this Phil character?  According to the Groundhog Day organizers, the rodent's forecasts are 80-90% accurate.  Is that true?  One independent study disputed that, saying the accuracy was closer to 37%.  According to the StormFax Weather Almanac, since 1887 Phil's weather predictions have been correct 39% of the time.  The National Climatic Data Center has described the  forecasts as "on average, inaccurate" and stated that the groundhog has shown no talent in the prediction arena whatsoever.  
Rumor has it that during Prohibition, Punxsutawney Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter on his community if he was not allowed to indulge.  Hmmmmmmmmm!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Need to Expect the Unexpected......Really

You just never know what a new day is going to bring.  Monday morning January 21st, 2013.  It is MLK day.  A holiday that traditionally is great day for the ski industry.  This one we know is not going to be that great with the media screaming that nobody should go outside due to the bitter windchill.  That message alone does huge damage to traffic.  It was not that bad.  All you had to do was dress appropriately.  The media chastises us for being inactive, but scares the public into doing just that.  
At 10am, temps are in the single digits with a breeze blowing.  Cold, but not that bad if dressed in layers.  We  have about 70 brave souls ready to go tubing, many of which traveled a great distance.  Tubing Lanes are freshly groomed and Magic Carpet is warming up.  All is well until the electronic drive unit of the carpet fails and is not appearing to be an easy fix...........Patiently the tubers wait .  The damage to the drive unit is beyond a fix and the nearest replacement unit is in Minneapolis. 
We are now looking at about 70 very confused and disappointed customers.  Customer service is always a challenge, but this is one is way out there!  How are they going to respond to this news?  We brought many in to the lodge for hot chocolate, told them the bad news and assured them we would make the best of this bad situation.  Bad situation was an understatement............. disappointing for them embarrassing for us to say the least.  We gave them all the opportunity to try skiing at no cost and many of them took us up on the offer.  The others???????  Gave them their money back, told them the tube hill would still be open for those that would still like to go tubing, even if they had to walk up the magic carpet.  And that is just what they did!    
Fun was had and they all refused to hibernate for the day!   What a great bunch of people. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is Media Bias Real? Look No Further Than Global Warming!
Do not get me wrong, I am not even close to being a scientist.  Over the past 3 decades, journalists at top media outlets have been surveyed on their political views and voting habits. The findings? Overwhelmingly liberal. Not exactly shocking. 
It is no wonder that so much attention has been given to Al Gore and his climate change antics, ignoring the fact that he personally has no desire to curtail his fossil fuel burning habits.  Let's not even get into the  

Media coverage of the Al Gore-Al Jazeera story.

Let me get back on focus here.........I ask you to consider a few tidbits on the subject of climate change.  Isn't that an interesting phrase!  It does not take much background to understand that the climate has been changing since Earth first came into existence.  
In Dec of 2012, two different reports surfaced and sent up huge red flags for the ski industry. One came out of Ontario claiming that a majority of the ski areas in the Northeast will not be economically viable  within 30 years if we do not reverse global warming.  Ignore the fact how huge an ego one must have to assume that humans really are that powerful to create or reverse global warming.  
Another report came out of the U of New Hampshire claiming that global warming in the past 10 years has cost the ski industry approximately $1.9 billion.  Interesting that they could put a number on it in view of the fact that 2 years ago the industry experienced record numbers which has been a trend for 7 of the past 10 years.  
Our liberal biased media jumped all over these reports.  New York Times headline read, "Rising Temps Threaten Fundamental Change for Ski Slopes."
Other headlines read, "Connecticut's Few Remaining Ski Areas Adapt to Global Warming, But Face Gloomy Future: Climate Change Will End Ski Industry Within 30 Years."
The "shrinking winter" story was reported across the country.  The climate change debate is interesting with dozens of viewpoints, each with very compelling arguments.
As Jen Rowan of Ski Area Management put it...."Something needs to be done about the media."  They continue to present a dismal future for the ski industry and listen to only one side: the trendy, liberal side.  The side that loves to dig up the gloom and doom.  Will we ever see open-minded reporting again?????????????  There is another story to be told, but will we ever hear it?   FYI.........on Jan 14, 1928...........the temp in the Quad Cities was 61 degrees.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oct 2012

Mid October update........

We creep closer to Winter with lots of things to get done yet..........Ski Swap on November 3rd is just around the corner.  We just did complete one of our more fun projects for the upcoming season.  The south patio has been completely re-done with an awesome deck built into the hillside.  The patio has Geo-thermal piping incorporated into the pour which will keep it ice-free all winter long.  A big thanks goes to Greg Dahl and his crew for putting the finishing touch to a great looking project

Now, let's take a look at winter weather forecast updates.  I  have been accused and rightfully so of focusing my blog way too much on weather and the details behind  the forecasts.  Way too boring I am told.  I still have to share my weather focus with you, but I will keep it on the more abbreviated side.  So here are thumbnail sketches of latest info.
Farmers' Almanac-Puts us on the edge of colder and snowier than normal!

Old Farmer's Almanac-Winter will be quite different than last year. I am liking that. Their map puts us in the Mild, Dry category. Interesting, sounds a lot like last year???

Accuweather-Predicts less snowfall than normal and slightly warmer than normal, but nothing like last year.

Update form Craig at SnowDay- Yes he has made some changes already.  One thing that has had an effect on the weather before is the solar cycle, typically with increased solar activity there would be a tendency for the NAO/AO to go more positive(like last year), and right now we are supposedly in a peak stage in the solar cycle, but what is very unique about this cycle is that it is probably the quietest solar max in quite some time, so its effect on temps should be minimal.  El Nino is slowly losing it’s grasp on the world and  Global climate models have it slipping to a neutral state for this winter. That will have an effect on this winter with the southern jet stream not being as active as once thought.  It appears the cold air will resemble 2009 winter, but it will not be as harsh .  As earlier mentioned the Alberta Clipper will play a big role in the winter with several of these quick hitting snow systems to lay a path of snow across our area this winter. The low pressure system that will be cut off from the main flow in California will merge with the jet stream and colder air a few times this winter equating to a couple good winter storm systems for our region.  Oops, getting bogged down in boring details again.  Bottom line is above average snow and below averages temps expected.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Return of Winter

It is that exciting time of year when we start thinking about winter weather and what we can expect.  I have just received the first of numerous forecasts that give a hint of what to expect.  
The first details come from Craig McPeck with Snow ya go and I gotta say it looks very encouraging for all of us that love Old Man Winter.

Winter Forecast 2012-2013 – A Return to Winter! 

 Before getting into this years winter forecast, a comment about last winter and what went wrong. Almost everyone predicted another blockbuster winter and we all know that didn’t happen. The NAO along with the AO turned sharply positive through the winter and that in turn created warmer conditions over the winter with blocking patterns keeping the cold air bottled up in parts of Canada and ESPECIALLY Alaska, they had a record breaking winter with excessive snowfall while nearly the entire United States experienced record warm temperatures, very little snow and unhappy school children that received no snow days.Now let’s get into the winter forecast  as we are experiencing and heading into…EL NINO(weak at this point)!

 One thing to focus on as fall progresses is the LRC weather cycle theory, a new unique pattern that sets up every October 1st through early November and keeps cycling over and over through the next fall. It was developed by Gary Lezac of Kansas City, so will be paying attention over the next several weeks as a brand new pattern starts to set up and cycles on through the winter.

With a weak El Nino  and expecting a negative NAO, we seem to be following the pattern that led us into the winter of 2009-2010. Now predicting whether the NAO/AO will be negative or positive is extremely tough but most are leaning heavily towards a negative NAO/AO winter but time will tell of course. Given these assumptions, this will be a much different winter then last and puts the Quad Cities in the heart of below normal temps and slightly above normal snowfall!  OH YEA!!!!!!  There should be persistent blocking over Greenland with a ridge over western Canada promoting extended periods of cold for our area. Expect slightly above normal snowfall, and expect a few big storm systems to land on shore of southern California and attach themselves to the cold air over the central Plains creating the potential for some significant snowfall.  Will the NAO/AO stay negative through the winter?  That is critical!  At the present time there is enough evidence that the current pattern is going to take us into a much more snowier and colder winter!  Updates to follow as well as predictions from other sources..............

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Lost Winter

Early almost as sources..........winter to be cold and snowy!
WRONG, on all accounts.!!!!!
Is there hope...........?.............not much.
Source #1:
With regard to this particular winter - or non winter - the problems remain immense and model depictions of how the pattern is going to evolve over the next 10 days has been really bad. The various models keep forecasting a winter pattern to evolve down the road. Yet, when that time arrives and we compare the actual to the forecast we see huge discrepancies.
If you are hoping for a significant pattern change is not going to happen!
There will still be some winter weather off and on. But winter as we know it is not going to happen.
Source #2:
The AO and NAO have been mostly positive all winter long. Thus, we have seen a seemingly unblocked zonal flow. When the AO and NAO go negative, surface pressures rise in the Polar regions and cold air is more likely to shift south. When they are positive, surface pressures are lower at the higher latitudes and the cold arctic air is more likely to stay put, which has been the predominant pattern this winter. The AO and NAO have ventured into the negative but indications are that this is only temporary and will drift back to neutral.
BOTTOM LINE...........We have made snow at every possible opportunity and are in great shape to provide good skiing/boarding/tubing well into early March despite Mother Nature's stubbornness.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Cold Air... When?

It is now Dec 5th and the God's of Winter continue to ignore us. Weekend brought heavy rain and 50 degree temps.............
It was foretasted to turn to snow on Sunday and get down to 20 by Monday morning. No snow and the low Monday morning was 29 not 20.........
We need 70 hours of temps in the low 20's or colder to get coverage. Looking at the forecasts, it is not going to happen this week and we are going to have to push back our opening date from Dec 10th to a later date.
Why have all those snowy cold forecasts disappeared? Mainly, the reason a lot of meteorologists have turned sour on winter is because of their trust in the European Weekly Models. The last 2 winters, the European models have been very good in latching onto patterns.
These Weekly forecasts show no cold air of any kind coming our way. Do we have any hope of getting some snow made soon?????????
There is a one out there that we desperately need to materialize. NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory(ESRL) and what they call the "reforecast" model. This model shows cold air coming, unlike the Euro's. The Euro breaks down the ridge over the west by Dec 10th and shuts off the cold air to the central U.S. The ESRL model shows a different and a much preferred solution. It predicts a much stronger ridge along the west coast with a strong flow of cold air flowing our way. Please let it be so!