Should We Save This Year’s Snow for Next Season?

024 Mountain Scenic_Deer Valley ResortBecause I love skiing and winter so much, I always have mixed feelings when it’s time to put my ski gear away. In spite of what you might have heard, this past season ended up being another excellent outdoor experience filled with some unforgettable and unique moments for me. This is partly why I reluctantly transition from winter into spring.

Only a few days ago, I drove to Snow Park to observe the retreating Deer Valley “glacier” that still seemed to be thumbing its nose at the upcoming concert season. The World Cup mogul run (Champion) was still holding so well that I almost could have enjoyed a full, top-to-bottom, run. This, of course, is an incredibly strong testimony to Deer Valley Resort’s formidable and generous snow making enterprise. This is when I literally had to pinch myself that we were already smack into the middle of spring and that all that reminiscing wasn’t doing me any good.

snow parkIt’s true that I see things differently from most people. This, I assume, is because I was born and bred in the mountains and had learned, early on, to be a keen observer of nature, including snow behavior. From the moment it falls off the sky to the time it finally melts. As a kid I often surprised myself living in an imaginary world of “endless winter.” This is in part why, more than forty years ago, I sacrificed two of my summers to go ski during the length of a full snow season, down under, in Australia. More recently, almost three decades ago, I finally settled in Utah and returned to a genuine mountain environment, following a 10 year hiatus. I began making precise observations and taking notes about our fast vanishing spring and early summer snow.

Over time, I observed that our snow melted much faster in the late spring, and early summer. Today, I think I can explain it. It’s not so much because of rising global temperatures as most folks would think, but because we, humans, are soiling our snowfields from the Alps to the Himalayas and all the way to the Rocky Mountains. All the particulates and other pollutants that are emitted from Paris’ tiny Diesel cars to Beijing’s coal-fired power plants or our western forest fires, end up gathering high into the atmosphere and eventually drop upon our mountains in such quantities that just a few days after a fresh late-season snowfall, the tiny, dirty deposits take over, soiling the remaining snow that hangs on top of our peaks and glaciers.

On snow, these dirty particulates amount to a huge loss in reflectivity from a normally bright surface. In turn, it increases the penetration of solar heat and hastens the melting process. This new reality of snow melting faster in late season is perhaps what prompted the Winter Olympics organizers in Sochi, Russia, to conserve this year’s snow until these coming February’s events. I can understand why they don’t want to take any chances as the 2014 Winter Games are now closing-in.

As you may have heard, their mountain staff plans to stockpile 500,000 cubic feet of snow into some shady gullies and deep creek beds located above the venues. A Finnish company has been asked to oversee this herculean task. This season’s snow will be covered under insulated blankets. During summer it will melt some and the density or the remaining snow – just like on permanent snowfields before they turn into glaciers – will increase from 25 to 34 lbs/cubic feet. When it’s ready to be used for the 2013-2014 Winter, the snow will be spread over the hills by snow cats or piped down to the slopes that need it.

When I heard about this extreme idea, I wondered if we too, shouldn’t try to “save” our snow season after season? I thought about it long and deep and came to the conclusion that instead, we should be more confident and wait for Mother Nature’s ‘clean’ refills scheduled for November.

So, while I am reminiscing the face shots and other stimulating sensations collected over this past winter, I must also admit that it’s almost early summer and time to move on. Today, I’m getting ready to mentally bid a friendly farewell to the last snow patches, put my skis away for good and get my mountain bike ready so I can ride very soon into another fantastic summer!

*Today, Deer Valley Resort joins with 107 other ski areas as a part of the National Ski Areas Association to sign the Climate Declaration, which calls upon federal policymakers to seize the American economic opportunity of addressing climate change. Ski industry leaders are concerned not just with the threat climate change has to their own operations but also its impacts on rising sea levels, wildlife habitat, the health of our forests, and truly our way of life.  We recognize both the risks of inaction as well as the opportunity for U.S. leadership in combating climate change. 

The economic influence of our trade is enormous. Ski areas in the U.S. employ about 160,000 people and generate about $12.2 billion in annual revenue. The National Ski Areas Association calculates that visitors to U.S. ski areas spent $5.8 billion at those resorts over the course of the 2011/2012 season. Preliminary figures from the 2012/2013 season show an 11 percent increase in visits year-over-year, to an estimated 56.6 million visits this season.

To read more about Deer Valley Resort’s environmental initiatives please visit: http://www.deervalley.com/About/Information/Environment

To sign the Climate Declaration as an individual or company, visit: http://www.ceres.org/bicep/climate-declaration

 

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Sunday, September 24, 2017 at Deer Valley Resort. | Video Credit: Instagram User @scottusa ... See MoreSee Less

Vincent Paguirigan, Helen Hayes and 23 others like this

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Leon AllbrightWhere is that

7 hours ago

2 Replies

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Kim Wohleking-FernandezThat snow is for real!?

7 hours ago   ·  5

1 Reply

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Sarah BulverThat is beauty!!!!'nnnn

6 hours ago   ·  1
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Melissa BaileyMichael Bailey this is why they have moose on everything there 😂 still never saw my moose

7 hours ago   ·  2
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Jacob VincentRuth Arbagey apparently we needed to be at deer valley today!

7 hours ago   ·  2
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Meg McKownSuzanne Mckown Seeeee...Park City has all the cool animals too! Haha

7 hours ago   ·  1
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Dan PhelpsCourtney, could be a good season...

7 hours ago   ·  1

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Lisa Borgfeld WhiteGwenn Beaver, what a difference a week makes!

7 hours ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Ged CarringtonHeather Sherry see they have moose in Utah lol

6 hours ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Michela SeehusenShirley Hartlauer are you guys missing Utah yet???

7 hours ago   ·  2
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Alicia MoranAmanda Sanford, this is what we got today.

6 hours ago   ·  1
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Jessie JohnsonBeautiful ❤️❤️💜💜❤️

6 hours ago   ·  1
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Brenda Perry-KerrI wish I was there!!

7 hours ago   ·  1
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Patricia Davis LahnMy neighbor... just checking in(lol)

7 hours ago   ·  2
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Marie Benson PitilloAwesome!!! Can't wait!

7 hours ago   ·  1
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Sarah Kaul PettigrewI am so in love!

7 hours ago   ·  2
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Angie MattinsonBeautiful!!!

6 hours ago   ·  1
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Jill Catalano TrosoSnow already!!!!

7 hours ago   ·  1
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Eric PikeWow so early

7 hours ago   ·  1
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Janet Bissell MooneySooo beautiful

7 hours ago   ·  1
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Jeff NesslerThat's the smaller one, when we were up there on Saturday my wife had the bigger one walk right in front of her yeah that scared her

7 hours ago   ·  1
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Meredith Amelia BerlyColin Alexander Berly hey you who keeps up with deer valley's weather on a regular basis is it snowing this much there???? Already????

7 hours ago   ·  2

1 Reply

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Martha BurlesonAwww,,,How pretty! My daughter n family lives there in Park City,,,I just visted them few weeks ago,,,,Love Park City,,,We even lived there in Utah awhile...Snow was Always beautiful....

1 hour ago
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Suzie GordonOh yes mam! Snowed all night and all day!!!

4 hours ago
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Carey O'Malia GrossWe are so lucky to call this home with these neighbors!

4 hours ago   ·  1
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Today’s #DeerValleyMoment. | Photo Credit: @scottusa ... See MoreSee Less

Today’s #DeerValleyMoment. | Photo Credit: @scottusa

Mitchell Rowen, Pilar 'n Billy Cayton and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Amy DavidsonJudi Zarrella is it really snowing there??? I was seriously looking into moving that way..... but snow in September?!?!?!?

7 hours ago

11 Replies

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Eric AlexanderI swear only a week ago I was standing there drinking a cold beer and it was 70 degrees

10 hours ago   ·  2

3 Replies

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Jeff HallAnd to think, last week it was brown pow and perfect cycling conditions.

11 hours ago   ·  1
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Ed MccallOh Mother keep it coming, no more hot weather!

9 hours ago   ·  1
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Regan EdwardsMy 3 month countdown to Deer Valley is ON! ❤️👏Christopher Flint, I'm all about that base!

13 hours ago   ·  1
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Suzie Gordon...and it's still snowing now!

Attachment8 hours ago
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Jennifer StebenGoing to be another great season!

9 hours ago
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Tasha Spencer AgnewSimon Agnew, the countdown is on!! White stuff....yay!!!! 🎿⛷

12 hours ago
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Ed KliczewskiOMG Scott Scott Kliczewski, check out Park City!

8 hours ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Melissa BremauerSue Wood yes yes yes!!! I have booked dinner for NYE at Cena, all confirmed 💃💃

9 hours ago

1 Reply

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Steve DawsonAnde Dawson need to sort out our plans

13 hours ago
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Angee Palmer DeanI'm so not ready for snow. We need to have fall first.

4 hours ago
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Wendy ChiojiI love this.

10 hours ago   ·  1
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Melissa Jane Ruberts GusemanNot yet, please

8 hours ago   ·  1
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Jeffrey HainesWinter is coming...

13 hours ago   ·  1

1 Reply

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Todd WallaceIt will be melted by next week.

8 hours ago
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Judi Zarrella

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James RazerLove to see this in the snow!

9 hours ago
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Tina WeyersWow look at all that snow!

9 hours ago
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Staci HugginsSooooo, not right!

6 hours ago
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Rick KolminHere’s to nice powder all ski season.

6 hours ago
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Karen GrossmanAwesome!

10 hours ago
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Cindy CreteauToo early😬

6 hours ago
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Raquel Aliceayayyyyyyy!!!! 💙💙💙💙

5 hours ago
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John ThompsonSee you 2/25/2018!

13 hours ago
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