*UPDATE at 12:30PM ET with statement from Snowbird below*
I never thought I’d be typing these words, but Snowbird has closed for the season in the middle of May with a 89 inch base… What in the world is going on these days?!
Snowbird is known for keeping lifts spinning until every last drop of snow melts, but that’s not the case this year.
The resort made a surprise announcement on Saturday May 14th that Sunday May 15th would be the final day of the winter season.
Snowbird had less-than-average snow this season, but still picked up 435″, and reported a maximum base depth of 89″ as of yesterday.
It seems odd right? This is completely out of character for Snowbird, and their explanation that deteriorating snow conditions are forcing them to close just doesn’t add up.
It seems like there’s plenty of snow in Snowbird’s webcam images, and those posted by skiers and riders to social media for the resort to operate for at least a couple more weeks. But hey, what do I know.
I’ve reached out to Snowbird for an additional statement, but they have not responded. I will provide that statement here once received.
5/16, 12:30 PM ET UPDATE:
I’ve received a statement from Snowbird regarding the decision to close. It seems that the snowpack is significantly smaller at lower elevations. The Snowbird spokesperson all made note that the resort had a similar snowfall total last season, and closed around the same time of the year.
Here’s the full statement that was sent to me:
“Snowbird prides itself in staying open as late as we can—it’s a huge benefit for new season passholders to buy a season pass for the upcoming season and ski free in the spring, and it’s a favorite time of year for our loyal passholders. Unfortunately, this is the second year in a row that we’re seeing a below average snowpack and high spring temperatures which are effecting our spring snowpack.
Almost all of the webcams show what conditions are like at the upper portions of the mountain, which are at or around 11,000 feet. With 3,240 feet in elevation difference from base to summit, conditions at the bottom of the mountain are significantly different and trails are melting out. Yesterday the high on the mountain was almost 70 degrees and we’re seeing the snow we do have melt quickly. These high temps, in addition to rain, are forecasted throughout the week (Salt Lake is forecasted to be above 80 degrees today, the high at Snowbird, 68 which is really brutal on a snowpack. With about a foot of snow left at the base of Peruvian, I think you can see the problem.”
Sure, Snowbird could probably move some snow around to keep liftings spinning longer, but only a 12″ base at the bottom of Peruvian won’t last long even with efforts.
I guess it’s just sad that we’re seeing the effect of climate change in real time. Snowbird used to be consistently open in June, and has even made it to July 4th in the past.
Here’s to hoping those days return.
Images from Snowbird Webcams, 5/16/22