With all the headlines of nonstop storms in the Western U.S., it’s been expected many resorts across the country would start breaking all-time snowfall records. That time just came at Alta Ski Area and Brighton Resort where totals surged in an early-spring dump.
Brighton’s weekend pushed the resort through the finish line of an old record, announcing it had eclipsed 765 inches. Marketing heads at the Utah stalwart immediately turned its attention to 800 inches. At Alta, the all-time record came with a flurry of new benchmarks. First March 21, the first day of spring, capped off the first season with 700-plus inches in a little over a decade. This became their snowiest March on the 24th of the month at 167 inches, with that same date dumping a thick 25 inches in 24 hours — a new record in itself. That also pushed them into uncharted territory with a record 749 inches for the season.
Other resorts in Utah set new records with the same weekend storm but Alta and Brighton have been clear outliers with their sights set on the 800-inch mark. The whole state, as a matter of fact, has stepped into new territory with the largest snowpack since its measurement system was created in 1981. Just two years later, the state set snowfall records that stood until this 2022/2023 La Niña winter started demolishing them with no predicted end in sight.
“I think we’re rooting for that 800 inches,” said Andria Huskinson, a spokesperson for Alta Ski Area, at the start of the week. “That’s a big number. We’ll see what Mother Nature delivers.”
It turns out Mother Nature’s immediate plans were for another storm to touch the Wasatch range and bring the area closer to that 800-inch mark. Just like the stir out West over this abnormal winter, the deep snowpack in Utah has implications tied to a prolonged drought in the state. The Great Salt Lake has reportedly risen an impressive two feet since December alone, but according to USGS data, lake depth is still approximately six feet below its March median over the past 30 years. This is because multiple dry winters have been paired with a growing population in the state that has increased water use over time. According to the Division of Water Resources, the state gets 95 percent of its water from melted snowpack, making the exceptional winter a productive one beyond keeping ski resorts open in Utah.
Source: Juan Hernandez, theinertia.com/mountain/utah-resorts-break-all-time-snow-total-records-approaching-800-inches/