Photo Credit: powdork.com
It’s the question that’s been gnawing at North Shore skiers and riders for decades: Who get’s the most snow-Alpine or Squaw?
It’s safe to say most opinions fall into three distinct categories, loosely defined below. Note-bear in mind Alpine almost always reports more fresh snowfall from a storm than Squaw.
Category 1: Alpine puts their snowfall stake in a questionable locale, and thus their numbers are not possible to actually measure against snowfall totals at Squaw, who measures truthfully and accurately with each storm.
Category 2: It’s true, numbers don’t lie, Alpine does in fact get more snow than Squaw, a fact backed up by quantitative statistics and snow scientists.
Category 3: Alpine and Squaw are basically connected by the same ridge, so there’s no way they can get more snow than Squaw. Alpine gets the same snow as Squaw, but since Alpine is a more sensitive bunch, and have fully blown the “Squaw Vibe” out of proportion to help shape their own “more mellow” identity, the snowfall number’s are a way to make them feel like they’re on par with Squaw. They may be true numbers, but it’s done deliberately for the above mentioned points, and if Squaw kept a snow stake where they were more likely to get a greater snowfall reading per storm (due to wind, storm direction, etc.) they would have the same numbers.
While the debate has been ongoing for years, some recent photos show that Alpine does look like there’s more snow currently on the mountain than what Squaw has.
Alpine in late July:
Squaw in late July:
Total accumulation at upper elevations for Squaw’s 2010-2011 season: 810”
Total accumulation at upper elevations for Alpine’s 2010-2011 season: 852”
A difference of 42”, or 3 ½ feet.
It would be cool to compare snowfall totals over the past ten years. The information is easily obtainable on Squaw’s website. But Alpine doesn’t even list their snowfall totals on their own website. Their total for this year is nowhere to be found on their website, and was unable to be collected after calling the resort and trying several different extensions. Hmmmm. At least Tahoe Weather Discussion had the numbers.
Perhaps the only real way to tell is to compare the last ten, or even twenty years of snowfall data? Is there a more accurate way to know if Alpine is just blowing it up, or if they are spot on? Different storms interact uniquely with different topography, so it’s fully a possibility.
But at the end of the day, does it really matter? Does Alpine getting, or reporting 3 ½ feet more than Squaw this season (tops for Tahoe area ski resorts) mean anything to the local or visitor? Will this debate cease if (or when) the two become one? Or will the back-and-forth continue uninterrupted, indefinitely?