Too Cold To Snow; Park City Shivers Through January


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By PCSKIGal Damn, it's cold. Perhaps it's the coldest stretch Utah has seen in decades? I'm no weather dude so I can't speak to records but for the first time EVER I've run out of my stash of handwarmers.

It was officially two degrees colder today than yesterday but once you're below the teens does it really make a difference? The snow was so cold…how cold was it? So cold that I had to grab onto Alta's rope tow from the start rather than glide alongside it most of the way. (Cold snow = sticky skis.) It was so cold my snot froze. So cold my boyfriend had to drive with his ski boots on because he couldn't pry the plastic open until the heater thawed them.

We headed up to Alta at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning thinking that we were dressed as warmly as possible. The problem is that no matter how toasty your body is, the chairs are cold and boots are cold. 'Snowbird's the best on cold days because you can ride the tram," Ryan said as we passed the Bird going up LCC. But yesterday friends reported waits of more than an hour for the tram. So the tram is warm but your wait isn't. Kind of makes the ride moot.

I was prepared for the freeze after my few hours at Solitude yesterday. It was 9 degrees in LCC and Park City and that was cold enough. I made four runs in the 8 inches of windblown powder then raced down to the Moonbeam Lodge to rescue my feet. Three more runs and I was done. I probably would have stayed home today if it wasn't so much fun to finally get freshies at Solitude. It had been nearly two weeks since the last big storm.

Alas, the most recent storm system has migrated east, clearing out the inversion (i.e. smog) in the Salt Lake Valley and leaving more snow in the city than in the mountains. Huh? A foot versus more than two feet on the Valley floor. The Utah Avalanche Center says it got "too cold to snow at the upper elevations. The best temperature range for dendridic crystal growth occurred in the lower elevations where it was a bit warmer." Some areas north of Salt Lake rang in with 40 inches! The Cottonwoods got about 11". The UAFC says the sub-zero temperatures above 9000 feet are the coldest of the season so far.

I hear it's supposed to be even worse tomorrow. Make sure at the least you've got toe warmers, hand warmers, down coats and thick fleece baselayers. Do not leave home without them or that will be one expensive 'lodge' ticket. I really that it gets warm enough to snow. We're about 50" shy of a great base depth.